Project management thoughts
In order to remain competitive, many small companies have had to upgrade their payroll systems to a localized self service model that is much less expensive than the now soon-to-be antiquated centralized payroll system that many enterprise level companies still use.
The innovation has yet to fully hit the business mainstream; however, it is more than accepted as legitimate by the companies that have the leverage to change on a dime.
In order to implement such a system without causing an operations bottleneck that will affect employees who are expecting a paycheck, a variety of project management skills must be implemented. Although the process is to decentralize payroll, the process itself must usually be centralized around a project manager with a certain skill set.
Of the companies on record that have successfully been able to make the switch, there are many technologies that are also in place before any big moves are made. Here are just a few of the ways in which a company can use its tech and human project management resources in tandem to decentralize its payroll system.
Finding a Good BPO Provider
The secret to success in a widespread endeavor such as payroll manipulation relies on the proper outsourcing of certain aspects of the procedure. A good business partner outsourcing choice is essential to minimizing the internal human resources that are used in the change.
When AstraZeneca chose to change its entire global payroll system, it chose Northgate Arinso because of the ability of the latter company to navigate the various cultural, political and technological challenges of the many countries through which AstraZeneca would be moving its HR functions.
This is not a direct endorsement for the services of Northgate; you may not need an internationally connected company to accomplish your payroll decentralization. However, the reasoning behind the partnership is worth noting for any situation.
AstraZeneca chose Northgate because of the potential for collaboration. The data migration resources that AstraZeneca brought to the table were leveraged by the Northgate IT team as an asset to leverage the branches of AstraZeneca that had not communicated with each other for years because of automation resources making up for time lag.
The collaboration between the two companies was able to re-energize the personal efforts fo the entire AstraZeneca team without overworking any of the employees at any branch. Daily operations happened without a hitch while a minimal internal staff worked on the payroll changes backed up by Northgate specialists.
One of the most important aspects of changing payroll on this level was the fact that it was driven from both the human resources and the finance department. One might think that this would cause an overload of opinion and potential conflicts of interest because of the sometimes opposing nature of these two branches of business.
Because of the personal “glue” that the Northgate specialists provided, however, the AstraZeneca team was not overwhelmed or pressured at any time. The delegation between the two departments became an asset rather than a power grab.
This had to do with the project management skills of a single individual with a penchant for delegation – Ana Calado. Ana spearheaded the effort from within AstraZeneca by attaching herself to the Northgate team en masse through specially appointed delegates.
She made sure that all of them were on the same page politically and operationally before deploying them with orders to lead the Northgate specialists in a consolidated data migration effort that would deploy a centralized system into branches across the world with the consistency of a McDonalds (not the consistency of the burger, the consistency of operations).
One of the technologies that Ana relied upon frequently was an automated payroll software solution that managed the tiered access structure of the AstraZeneca payroll logs. She stated that the process would have gone even more smoothly if she had access to a newer technology (such as the Xero integrated Deputy time tracker, which I actually used on several occasions) that far outpace the software that she was using. The more updated the access system, the less time that is lost trying to verify the role that everyone is playing in the process.
This is especially important when you have two companies involved, one of whom needs access to certain files and logs without being able to access other records. More time was spent making sure that Northgate employees stayed out of certain areas of the AstraZeneca paylogs than it was spent giving them access to the proper channels.
Even with this setback, Ana put the wheels of collaborative project management in motion in a way that is not often seen in a single company, much less between two companies. She states in interviews that the reason that she was able to overcome technological shortcomings was because of the unity of purpose that she gave to all teams before sending them out to accomplish their mission in the best way they saw fit.
She gave them enough room to solve their own problems while the final goal was set by a centralized source, which is one of the finest examples of the use of human resources in the modern business world. Think of how easy it would be for you with the proper project management software taking her example as a lead. Get the right technology and give the right message to your team – success will follow soon after.