Even though solutions designed for small to medium businesses (SMBs) are cost-effective and relatively easy to implement, they do not meet the scalability and capacity requirements needed for the enterprise. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, argues that large organisations should steer clear of going the SMB route and instead opt for solutions that best fit their needs.
“An advanced business environment necessitates a more strategic approach. This requires enterprise-class solutions that empower decision-makers to harness the growth potential that exists for the business. The limited scope and functionality of an SMB offering can cause more challenges that could end up costing the business considerably more in the long run,” he says.
Take payroll, for example.
The payroll and human resources requirements of an enterprise are considerably more advanced than that of an SMB with fewer than ten staff members. The latter can be easily managed by the owner or an accountant with a cursory knowledge of how payroll works. Additionally, the cloud environment might only extend to having online access to data, backups of important files, and basic analysis of work performance.
On the other end of the spectrum, an enterprise with hundreds and even thousands of employees requires solutions capable of time management, leave policies, salaries and wage analysis on departmental performance and so on. Even at a glance, this level of sophistication means a true enterprise cloud-based payroll environment would be worlds apart from what an SMB requires for its success.
“Decision-makers at an enterprise level must ask themselves how advanced their business environment is when compared to that of an SMB. The latter requires only a basic technology experience while the former relies on sophisticated technologies that include artificial intelligence, machine-learning, and real-time data analytics. Also, from a support perspective, an enterprise must have access to round-the-clock assistance in the event of a crisis, whereas an SMB can get away with a service provider who only delivers assistance during office hours,” McAlister continues.
Additionally, enterprises must deal with complex issues around corporate governance especially when it comes to data management. Most SMB offerings take a very simplistic approach to backup and storage and are not robust enough to deliver compliance for the enterprise. This also applies to data protection policies. Smaller organisations rely on the public cloud for their needs, but an enterprise requires either a private or hybrid cloud environment with the integrated security needed to safeguard its data.
“When it comes to scalability and integration with existing solutions, the enterprise must be able to leverage local and international expansion support that extends to multiple currencies and tax tables, things SMB offerings simply cannot do. Furthermore, an enterprise offering is bespoke and features the employee self-service capabilities required that are not possible with an off-the-shelf SMB solution.”
McAlister says organisations must focus on putting enterprise solutions in place that suit their specific internal needs, irrespective of industry sector.
“Building a successful organisation revolves around more than business acumen and strategic drivers. A fundamental technology platform built on enterprise-class scalability and support is a crucial component if a large company is to be competitive in this rapidly evolving digital market,” he concludes.
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Managing payroll is a complex undertaking, driven by a country’s regulatory environment. When it comes to doing this on a global scale, however, the business must address the myriad of tax regulations in all the jurisdictions in which it operates, says Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies.
“While expanding operations into new territories brings compelling advantages to the company, it is important to be cognisant of local nuances such as language, culture and legislative requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to payroll management around the world. What works (and is expected) in one country might not even be relevant in another.”
While using the cloud as a vehicle to help manage this from a central location has addressed some of these challenges, it is not the silver bullet that many make it out to be. Rather, it is just one component of a much more complicated environment that is continually evolving.
“Payroll is a vital business function. The advantage of migrating this to the cloud is the efficiency that comes with having sight of an organisation’s global payroll in a centralised location. This ensures that there are fewer administrative tasks to be concerned about and allows more time to focus on delivering strategic value across the organisation’s footprint.”
Yet for all the attention placed on outsourcing payroll solutions, offering self-service employee platforms, and even recruiting more digitally savvy payroll managers, McAlister says it is vitally important to have the fundamentals in place.
“In fact, many payroll managers cite keeping on top of legislation in multiple tax jurisdictions as their biggest challenge. A global survey found that 41% of respondents consider this the most important obstacle to overcome, followed by managing multiple deadlines, processes, contracts and reporting.”
Despite this, managing a global payroll delivers significant business value. This includes having access to more relevant information on the state of operations in every territory, resulting in a cohesive view of the health of the organisation. It also enables decision-makers to identify problem areas much quicker than in the past and allocate resources accordingly.
“As this results in an improved, collaborative environment, a global payroll approach must keep three critical components in mind – technology, compliance and change management. Technology revolves around assessing what is currently being used and how best to adopt other solutions. Secondly, it goes without saying that compliance must be adhered to, irrespective of the location, so the solution must be able to offer the flexibility required to do this. Finally, getting employees to use the solution and all the relevant features will be integral to its success,” says McAlister.
This is where using technology in conjunction with a people-centric approach becomes important.
“Too often, businesses simply throw technology at the problem, but using cloud-based solutions are merely one piece of the puzzle. There is still a need to have people on the ground with the necessary skills to unlock the potential created by the technology. The one cannot happen without the other,” McAlister concludes.
For more information, go to www.crs.co.za.
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