Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quick notes on Workday's Payroll capabilities

Here are some quick notes from a webcast on Workday Payroll that I attended:

1. Workday Payroll provides country extensions for USA and Canada, at present.
2. For non-US and Canada countries, Workday provides a configurable cloud connector that can be used to integrate with country specific payroll providers.
3. Workday also has local payroll partners like Northgate Arinso, Cloudpay etc. who provide native integration with Workday HCM.
4. The Workday Payroll, HCM and Time Tracking work as an integrated unit rather than being individual silos/modules which are integrated (a plus in comparison to PeopleSoft architecture).
5. The presenter gave a quick demo of Workday Time Tracking (similar to PeopleSoft's Time and Labor) which was released in Workday 17. Except for the advanced mobile time tracking features, I was not floored by what was demonstrated. In terms of the depth of time tracking functionalities, I believe PeopleSoft would be very much up there.
6. The product seemed to be designed around the business process of executing and administering a payroll, rather than around running a payroll engine, which is a real positive. There are a number of audits, alerts, reports and drill down charts that are provided as part of the product and most of these are executed automatically as each phase of the payroll cycle completes.
7. A lot of calculations, especially around time rules and absence balances seemed to be real time, rather than depending on a process to be run. It was pretty interesting to see the calculated payable time being displayed immediately on saving the timesheet! I should mention here that generation of payable time on submitting the timesheet is a feature that has been announced in PeopleSoft v9.2.
8. The presenter mentioned that the largest Workday Payroll customer has a headcount of 40,000 employees and that half of Workday's 400+ customers use Workday Payroll.

I do not want to delve into comparing the Workday solution with that of PeopleSoft - a one hour session is too short to make any meaningful conclusion. But, it seemed to me that usability, analytics, ease of payroll processing and a business process oriented approach are obvious plus points of Workday payroll (this is to be expected given the generational difference in technology used in the two products!). Given the tools provided and the process oriented design of the module, payroll processing should be faster and less error prone in Workday payroll in comparison to PeopleSoft. But, for Time and Attendance and Payroll processes, depth of functionality and configurability matter more than great usability. It is also obvious that payroll is not the focus area for Workday as they offer country extensions for just USA and Canada (already Oracle Fusion provides payroll extensions for more countries, including China, UK and Saudi Arabia) and have a partnership model as their global payroll strategy.
Considering the relative lack of focus of Workday Payroll outside USA/Canada, risks and effort involved in a typical payroll migration project and the proven capabilities of PeopleSoft Global Payroll, makes Workday payroll less of a direct threat to the installed base of PeopleSoft Global Payroll in the short term. Here is where I think that the co-existence model offered by Oracle Fusion is better suited to help PeopleSoft Global Payroll customers transition to a SaaS based solution (Fusion) for core HCM and Talent Management while utilising the HR2HR integration to retain PeopleSoft Global Payroll. This option gives customers the time to phase out their HR and Payroll system transformation roadmap with lesser disruptions.

Update on 17/01/2013: There is an interesting discussion in the Workday HCM group in LinkedIn on Workday payroll and comments from customers who are already live on the product.
You can follow it here.

And here are some screenshots depicting Workday's Global Payroll model and partners:

Payroll partners of Workday with integration to Workday HCM/Time Tracking:

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