The term ’deployed in the cloud’ is not new. In fact, it’s been talked about since the 1960s, with cloud computing gaining popularity in the late 1990s and becoming the norm in the mid-2000s.

What did we do before the cloud? The options were limited to deploying and accessing our business systems on our own internal network or utilising the services of a bureau, which owned and operated computers and then gave companies remote access. The business options these days are far more varied. Companies need only the internet to access office, email, security, financial and CRM (customer relationship management) software, and data storage.

This trend, however, is not the norm when it comes to the most important business system: payroll. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen on a global scale how important cloud computing is. Business systems that were either not deployed in the cloud or relied on staff to be onsite to access them, or in some cases both, were not available as staff could not perform their duties while working remotely.

Most payroll companies recognised the dilemma their customers faced and started offering their on-premise customers a move to the cloud. This enabled payroll staff to continue processing payroll remotely.

The depth of systems offered in the cloud, as well as the number of payroll options that could be deployed to the cloud, seemed limitless.

What are the important factors to consider when making a decision to migrate or deploy your payroll to the cloud?

  • Is the payroll system designed using cloud technology or is it a legacy (outdated) client/server system hosted in the cloud?
  • What other options are available to you when deciding on a true cloud payroll system?

Why these factors are important for you to understand

  • Modern cloud software provides many technological benefits over legacy systems, including mobile and browser-based access, consistent security upgrades and more. Most importantly, Software as a Service (SaaS) moves all of your human capital management (HCM) processes into a digital platform. This allows you to remove paperwork completely from your tracking and recording activities, allowing you to build an entirely electronic audit trail that limits inaccuracies caused by human error
  • Mobility and real-time connectivity deliver additional advantages for users, especially for businesses using distributed workforces with remote employees or field operations. Leveraging cloud technology for your payroll solution permits you to build the channels your employees need to access the correct information and contact the right people when they need assistance. Whether by desktop, tablet or smartphone, managing your employee resources in the cloud always keeps you connected to your people
  • A legacy system that is hosted in the cloud will eventually have back end systems that will no longer be supported. We have seen this recently with systems that have used Flash and Silverlight. What does that mean? When a company faces this challenge, it has to go back to the drawing board and effectively redevelop systems from the ground up. This translates typically to lost time and functionality. The company may also experience teething issues with their initial releases that can cause delays and frustration. Selecting a company that provides a true cloud system is a way of future-proofing your investment. Software companies that have been developing its systems as a true cloud platform with browser-based access ensure their customers have minimal or no disruptions with changes to technology
  • A true cloud payroll system may be delivered as SaaS or as an outsourced service. Companies that offer a hybrid solution truly cater for the unexpected. As we have seen in recent times, payroll companies that provide a true cloud system have been able to assist their customers by lifting and shifting an in-house payroll service to a managed or outsource service without any disruption to the company or the staff. Why is a hybrid service in the cloud important? Companies can now be relieved of the payroll burden in times when they are not able to process the payroll themselves.

COVID-19 has changed, and is continuing to change, our world. The new ‘normal’, which includes compliance with new government laws and regulations, government assistance programmes, and fluid and evolving workplace environments where staff can work from anywhere, at any time and on any device, is incontrovertible proof that cloud computing provides the very best in security and flexibility.

Payroll is an essential service. Paying staff on time and the management of employee information is as critical as business agility, cost management and payroll compliance. If navigating a government’s payroll legislation changes, during a pandemic or otherwise, is causing workload and compliance pressure, then a true cloud solution is the most impactful and manageable action you can take.

Talk to the Datacom Payroll compliance and cloud team for support of your workplace's most critical function.

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