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The simpler the better when it comes to workforce management & payroll technology stacks
Latest News / HR Technology

Why less is more when it comes to workforce management & payroll software

There are a baffling number of choices when it comes to software for workforce management; and with technology advancing at breakneck speed, more innovative options hit the market each month. This makes choosing the right technology stack for your business incredibly difficult – particularly when each option looks fantastic. But before you ‘hit the shops’ (figuratively speaking) and buy the best option for each HR and workforce management task your team undertakes, you might want to consider the adage ‘less is more’. Here’s why.

Less systems means greater efficiency

When you look at a company’s HR technology stack, it generally falls into three categories:

  • Best in breed. They’ve chosen the best piece of software for each task. These applications may be incredible individually but may not work so well together with poor APIs (or at all!).
  • Panic buys. The company has had rapid periods of growth and they’ve needed software quickly to handle that growth. These products are purchased one at a time, usually affordable and not necessarily the best in the market, but they worked. There is often some integration – but it can be loose.
  • Clean slates or all-in-ones. Most common for growing businesses or when new management take over a business and completely re-structure their workforce management and payroll technology stack. You’ll find more fully integrated systems in these businesses as getting the business moving as quickly as possible in an affordable way is the priority.

The problem with the first two categories is that despite the company’s best intentions to make workforce management and payroll more efficient, they have been left with multiple legacy systems that are really hindering the business from getting the job done.

For example, time spent entering data into multiple systems, manually exporting and then importing data into another system, and combining data to get clear reports could be better spent on strategic activities and human interactions.

All-in-one workforce management and payroll systems which offer many applications on the one platform and operate from one database remove these dreaded time-wasters. Having one single source of truth that everyone can update – including staff via an employee self-service app – allows all workforce management tasks to operate more efficiently.

[It’s also far easier to ensure you are correctly interpreting Modern Awards for payroll and employee entitlements when an interpretation engine can run on a single database of employees, uninterrupted from rostering through to payroll.]

It’s true that they may not offer all the bells and whistles that their individual counterparts can, but most companies don’t use all the features an application offers to their full extent. We certainly believe that the ROI all-in-one HR technology offers in terms of efficiency wins out over flashy features that are ‘nice to have’.

Fewer systems means lower costs

The less subscriptions you have, the less your monthly software licence costs will be.

This also means lower costs in providing training for staff – both in financial terms and time away from the business spent on training courses. It’s certainly cheaper to have people away for one day to train on a comprehensive system, than several days broken up with training on several systems.

Furthermore, you’ll reduce costly man-hours dedicated to manual administrative tasks re-keying and transferring data that can be reinvested in revenue generating activities.

A simpler technology stack means simpler supplier management

One of your systems does something unexpectedly wrong and you’ve now got to try to remember who your contact is at the company to get it fixed. Is it your Customer Success Manager or that tech guy you emailed last time…what was his name? Then you need to remember when each subscription is due to expire and decide whether to upgrade to the next package. Moreover, some of these systems have APIs and integrations so you are forever acting as the middle-man between two development teams to ensure they work correctly. Now you’re tired and frustrated and must find time, somehow, to get to your main job.

A simpler workforce management and payroll software bundle means that you’ll be dealing with only one or two suppliers, freeing up your time and alleviating a great deal of stress.

A consolidated technology stack means centralised technical support

Similarly, you and your colleagues will spend less time digging up tech support details for several systems when help is needed. You’ll call one person who knows all the features and applications inside out and how they work together, so it’s much easier and quicker for them to solve your problem.

Furthermore, with fewer systems in your HR technology stack, each employee will have far fewer logins to remember, reducing the likelihood of downtime because of forgotten logins. It also increases security – people often use the same login for multiple software applications making it easier for people to ‘hack’ into your whole system.

Less systems simplifies internal stakeholder management

It stands to reason that selling management, IT and staff on one system (or at the most, two) that will make their lives easier is far simpler than explaining multiple systems and answering questions about each of them. Yes, it is virtually impossible to find a solution that pleases every single stakeholder, but the fewer complex systems you have in place, the easier managing stakeholder queries and expectations will be.

Accuracy & data integrity

You and your team work hard to ensure that the data you put into any database is as accurate as possible. You reduce the number of people who can handle data to protect its integrity. But if you are re-keying the same data into multiple systems or exporting and re-importing data, your efforts may be wasted. Human error and differences in import/export fields can easily cause errors, not to mention that frustrating scenario of updating one database and forgetting to update the others.

A simpler HR technology stack means less data handling, and therefore greater data accuracy and integrity. The benefits of this are twofold: 1) you are protected from unintended breaches of data privacy laws when maintaining employee records; 2) the data you rely on for analytics and decision making is always up to date and accurate.

Less HR software = fewer sources of truth = better people analytics

The use of people analytics has been one of the biggest HR trends over the last two years, with use escalating from data experts to businesses of all sizes. Combining statistics and matching up data from a range of HR and workforce management software packages is time-consuming and often results in fuzzy data and ‘close enough’ reporting. Having a complicated HR technology stack often means pulling reports that are based on different metrics and timescales – essentially comparing oranges and apples.

Working with a consolidated all-in-one system, like Roubler, allows you to pull reports from one database – your single source of truth. This gives you far more accurate statistics across the entire employee lifecycle and therefore more powerful information on which to base your strategic HR decisions.

There is so much to consider when it comes to creating the right HR technology stack for your business, and it’s easy to be won over but the plethora of innovative solutions out there. In long run, however, it’s simplicity that is going to ensure your business runs as efficiently and profitably as possible.

“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” Isaac Newton

You may also be interested in reading:

5 ways to help your employees adopt new HR technology

Andrew Northcott
Andrew Northcott created Roubler as a true all-in-one workforce management solution, and as the CEO he has steadily grown the business around the globe. No stranger to the workforce management field, Andrew previously founded and built one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing workforce businesses, which was recognised five times as one of Australia’s Fastest Growing Companies by Business Review Magazine, before being sold in 2013. Andrew is a Harvard Business School and QUT Alumni.
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