The big data revolution is transforming the business landscape – not least in the form of the benefits, it can deliver for payroll departments.
The modern business landscape thrives on information – not least in payroll departments, where employees must handle a variety of specialised information to carry out the pay process each month. But data is only as useful as your business’ ability to exploit and handle it – which is why the big data revolution is such an interesting proposition for payroll.
The application of big data in business is growing. Recent research revealed that, in 2017, the adoption of big data reached 53% – a dramatic rise from 17% in 2015. Big data applications promise to transform payroll, adding efficiency and insight to the process, and helping employers achieve a greater degree of compliance – but, if you’re considering ways to integrate big data into your payroll deployment and want to avoid common payroll mistakes, it’s worth understanding the benefits before you make the leap.
Payroll is a process which succeeds on the talent and abilities of its employees – but finding those recruits represents a formidable challenge for employers. One of the most interesting applications of big data is to help employers build a multi-skilled payroll workforce by scrutinising factors such as employee feedback, customer surveys, sales data and industry trends – and using that information to formulate hiring strategies. Similarly, big data could help recruiters identify the kinds of employee they need to be hiring – and where to find them.
Payroll involves the management and storage of varying amounts of data on a daily basis. One of the more practical applications of big data tools, including cloud computing platforms, is to provide a space for the storage and access of that data – which includes work hours, overtime, sickness and pension benefits, tax codes and so on. The ability to navigate that data efficiently during the pay process represents a valuable benefit for payroll administrators.
Big data offers employers a new perspective on the finer details of their payroll process – and the various small errors and problems which might be holding it back. From compliance challenges to missed deadlines, the analytic capability of big data can reveal where those errors are occurring, and how often – helping to establish trends over time, and revealing ways employers can enhance payroll infrastructure. Similarly, analytics tools can be used to tweak payroll performance with increased precision – delivering productivity boosts over the long and short-term, during a weekly or monthly pay process.
Career Development Options
Payroll employees are amongst the most specialised members of your workforce, so it’s vital they have the opportunity to develop and direct their careers – rather than risking stagnation and brain-drain. Big data analytics can help employers examine the details of the employee experience at both a local and industry-level. That insight can be used to help direct career development – from which training opportunities would work best for members of your workforce, to the salaries which might be offered to help retain talent.
Businesses with a global footprint have vastly increased payroll data concerns – but must contend with uneven and unpredictable compliance environments. Big data tools help businesses with international interests manage and harmonise the data they generate across their international territories – and use it to develop and implement a global payroll solution. Big data offers a way to contend with fluctuations in exchange rates, complicated compliance regulations, and even the administrative challenges of distance and time zones.
While big data tools have plenty of practical, immediate applications, they can also contribute significantly to a business’ decision making strategy. Going beyond the imitations of the human perspective, Big data analysis can reveal trends and patterns which might have been otherwise impossible to predict. With this in mind, big data might be used to challenge conventional approaches to payroll administration, preparing a business for upcoming challenges or changes in legislation, and for making important decisions about its future – like whether to transition to monthly or weekly pay, or whether to outsource aspects of the payroll process to a service provider.
Thinking Outside the Box
The true power of big data lies in its potential to change the way businesses think about payroll and how it should be delivered by their organisation. The innovation inherent in big data technology continues to gather pace, meaning that employers can explore for themselves the ways in which they can use it to make positive changes in their organisations. As payroll software and digital tax tools are integrated further into the business landscape, the data generated by payroll departments will continue to expand and evolve – to continue to enjoy the benefits of big data, employers must learn to evolve with it.