A better understanding of the unique market conditions in South Africa is just one of the reasons why organisations should consider adopting locally developed HR and payroll solutions. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, says these tailor-made offerings are far better aligned to the business requirements of local companies than their international counterparts.

“Solutions that work in other countries do not necessarily translate well to what is needed locally or even in the rest of Africa. Localisation is one of the most significant and costly challenges when implementing an international HR and payroll solution. The time and resources spent adapting these offerings to local requirements can be better spent focusing on more strategic deliverables,” he says.

“Fortunately, most decision-makers realise that a locally developed solution is a better choice as it delivers on their functionality, compliance and cost needs.”

Another issue is the lack of granular functionality that an international solution offers. “Most international HR and payroll solutions generally do not cater for local market conditions and have to undergo considerable adaptation to meet these requirements. Because the South African/African market is considerably smaller than that of larger territories, any required customisation tends to rank low on the priority list of multinational solutions providers.”

McAlister says that one of the most significant advantages provided by local products is that they tend to cater better for legislative compliance. “This is especially true when it comes to our HR legislation, which is significantly more complex than in other countries. Because HR and payroll are governed by legislation, solution providers need to remain relevant to their users by ensuring that they ‘speak the same language’ when interacting with them.”

International expansion

The level of flexibility available from local HR and payroll solutions means they can more affordably be rolled out to other countries, especially those on the continent.

“Africa tends to follow South Africa’s lead when it comes to legislative adoption and there are many similarities between the respective legislative systems. Additionally, because our requirements are generally more complex than the rest of the world, expansion into markets such as Asia, Europe, and even the Americas is relatively straightforward, even if their respective legislative systems differ from ours.”

However, international expansion is not something that can be done remotely. McAlister says that it is essential to establish a viable presence in these markets. “This can be a costly exercise and provide decision-makers with a significant obstacle to overcome.”

Initially, the focus must therefore remain on fulfilling local needs first.

“Clients expect bespoke solutions, but they also want comprehensive functionality, ease of use, and the ability to intelligently tap into the wealth of data that HR and payroll solutions provide. How these requirements are delivered on will be the make or break factor and this is where local offerings can truly excel,” McAlister concludes.