Payroll – Cloudsourcing, Integration and Vendor Selection

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We are proud to once again welcome on board NGA as an Emerald Sponsor. NGA is a leading provider of Global Payroll Solutions. Whether you need an integrated, on-premise ERP-based payroll engine, a flexible local proprietary payroll system, outsourced payroll for your small business, an efficient international managed payroll service to support your business growth, or a transparent multi-country payroll solution, NGA can help. Make sure to stop by their stand at the HR Tech World Congress, 27-28 October, Paris.

AnitaPayroll is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated yet one of the most crucial functions within an organisation. It is also one of the most complex operations as its processes involve extensive knowledge and understanding of automation, integration, legal and compliance, as well as a dozen other areas, and mistakes prove to be very costly to businesses. We spoke to Anita Lettink, who leads NGA’s strategic portfolio for the enterprise segment. In this global role, she is responsible for identifying industry, technology and business trends that impact the company’s portfolio. Anita also engages with customers, analysts, partners and other 3rd parties to understand market & customer requirements and feed them back into the portfolio.

Anita shared with us her knowledge and expertise of the payroll industry, its trends, challenges and offered a few tips that will make your life as a payroll specialist a little easier.

Evolution of Payroll Tech over the past 5 years

“There’s been a lot actually!” explains Anita. “Over the past 5 years, payroll tech has evolved according to, at least, six key topics:

  • With Globalisation comes the need for global payroll.
  • Fast-Evolving HCM landscape, influenced by changing balance of power between cloud and OnPremise.
  • BPO moving to BPAAS for payroll.
  • Employee Experience, supported by mobile and social.
  • Importance of compliance.
  • Analytics & reporting.”

Yet, with all these changes, payroll remains strictly a reactive function within most organisations, despite experts arguing for a more proactive approach. Fortunately, the rise of data analytics tools allows businesses to transform. “Analytics has become a reality and has to be an integral part of the payroll function. Indeed, traditionally payroll is very reporting focused. This approach could be compared to looking in rear view mirror. Analytics enable you to predict workforce trends, based on historic data combined with real-time information. As example, where do you expect employee cost to rise the most and is it wise to expand your workforce in that area? Leaving the transactional payroll work to specialist providers can also help to bring payroll to a more proactive mode. In-house payroll activities can then focus on more strategic and more proactive payroll insights. Finally, it is key to link payroll data to other data sources (HCM, finance) and correlate it to get to more meaningful business insights (integration & analytics strategy required).”


Payroll tech has undoubtedly made payroll operations more time- and cost-efficient. However, as with any technology, extracting its full value requires acquiring new knowledge and developing close inter-departmental cooperation. Anita Lettink explains that these are the top three challenges that payroll specialists are facing:

  • Choosing the right delivery model: provisioned vs managed vs fully outsourced payroll.
  • Guaranteeing smooth integration with HCM (either OnPremise or in the cloud).
  • Ensuring that data is secure and compliance is guaranteed.

It is important to have strong communication channels in place between the HR and IT departments as the two rely heavily on each other to properly execute HR tech projects. “The cloud allows HR to exercise more control over IT decisions and operate more independent from the internal IT department,” says Anita. “However, HR is less involved in integration; there is a strong need for evangelisation to the HR function on the importance of integration. For instance, integrating payroll data into HCM, so HR can understand complete cost of employee (typically not present in HCM solution), etc.” Having worked with large global organisations Anita has acquired a great amount of international experience while leading multinational teams in a variety of roles. “HR needs to fully understand how different HR processes relate and integrate in order to be able to judge and architect the technology landscape – today this is insufficiently the case for much wider range of technical integration options, using open standards (API, HR XML, etc.).”


Regional differences in integration challenges

NGA’s global reach allows is to gather information on and compare various regions. International companies know that streamlining and automating payroll processes on a global scale is a multi-layered highly complex task. “When looking at payroll, the annual NGA payroll complexity index shows what is happening in countries around the world. Not surprisingly, payroll is most complex in European countries but as new economies mature we see that they start introducing laws that affect payroll. So it’s an evolving landscape, and very important for NGA to continuously watch developments and adjust services accordingly.”

“Another area that influences integration is data privacy – it’s a wellknown fact that the EEA has strict data privacy laws. Other countries, like Russia and India, are starting to introduce similar regulations. This has consequences for what data can flow where and how data can be stored. It is therefore critical to design a solid integration strategy, which takes these issues into account. A data breach can have serious (and costly) consequences, both internally and externally,” explains Anita.


‘Cloudsourcing’ is a growing trend in the HR industry. However, many organisations struggle to determine whether it is the right fit for them. Anita Lettink suggests the following step-by-step evaluation process:

  1. Understand what it means.
  2. Understand for which HR processes it is most relevant: mainly payroll & HCM.
  3. Based on your current IT landscape determine where you can combine cloud technology with BPaaS services (between AMS, BPO,etc.).
  4. Run these as joint HR/IT projects – the outcomes will fundamentally change the way HR operates and it’s important to fully understand the consequences.

Selecting the right vendor

NGA started as an SAP integrator, but is increasingly working with such solutions as Workday, SuccessFactors and Oracle. Therefore, it has a unique understanding of how to find solutions that match an organisation’s specific needs. It may often times feel overwhelming to select the criteria for vendor evaluation, so we asked Anita for a small cheat sheet that HR and IT professionals could use

Cloud vs OnPremise: very different deployment options and very different worlds

  • Key areas of difference
    • speed of change
    • continuous innovation
    • change management
    • continuous application management
    • different approach to compliance
    • data privacy

Criteria for decision:

  • business context & market dynamics
  • financial model to pursue: OPEX focused vs CAPEX focused
  • current IT landscape & view for future
  • importance & type of employee experience
  • global presence
  • integration with other HR solutions/tools
  • standardisation vs customization approach

Have questions or need a consultation? Stop by NGA’s exhibition stand at #HRTechWorld. #SeeYouInParis

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