Global Core HR and Payroll Deployments:  Six crucial considerations

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” (Albert Einstein)

The conundrum for organizations considering shifting core HR and payroll to the cloud must be simplified to ensure more effective deployment decisions are taken.   This author poses six critical considerations for readers to ponder in this context:

One consolidated cloud strategy

Companies should be striving to streamline global core HR and payroll systems onto as few platforms as possible. This will reduce implementation & integration costs.  PWC Global Technology trend survey in 2017 tells us that with core HR “1/3 of companies are actively planning their migration in the next 12-18 months “.( This statistic is an insightful one as these companies must consider their payroll roadmap in parallel with core HR roadmap.

Which core HR and payroll systems to purchase?

Customers should be committed to undertaking detailed research to find the optimum platform (s) to accommodate the business needs for that organization.  There is a multitude of reporting data at a global level that indicates the market leaders as well as available content describing the innovative technology which falls within each application.  A key focus for buyers of HR and payroll software will be to ensure a level of face time and feedback from other customers who have embarked on the same journey so the experiences of those specific vendors is shared.

Order of Deployment

The research will indicate that core HR shifts to the cloud are occurring at a quicker rate than payroll cloud deployments. This is quite logical because the business case for moving a critical business process like payroll to the cloud when its not broken is much harder to make. So, the integrated core HR and talent management platforms offered by large vendors like SAP SuccessFactors, Workday and Oracle HCM are attractive for companies to consolidate HR and talent in the first step towards HR transformation.  Core HR will be the “master system of record” for external applications like payroll, benefits & IT system so it is sensible that this piece is completed first.

Accomplished implementation partners

Customers need to conduct diligence when choosing the most appropriate partner with strong applicable experience.  The cloud payroll experience is particularly important as customers should be steadfast in the ambition to set up standardized systems which can connect to core HR and time applications using pre-delivered integrations which reduce overall cost. Implementation partners must have an array of notable references and a robust track record of conducting successful, global projects. Often, a customer will be working with multiple vendors – perhaps a core HR and global payroll vendor so set the expectation in the sales cycle of the importance of a trusted partnership. These implementation partners may have worked successfully on a similar project in the past two to three years so if the same resources are involved, that will provide the customer with a level of reassurance.


Customers who have an established core HR and payroll systems will probably have on premises functionality that has infinite layers of unnecessary customization that delivered on business objectives potentially 10-15 years ago. The cloud software vendors have created technologies that are sustainable and scalable to facilitate high user adoption and potent HR data analytics.  These business processes and functionality are available out of the box for customers. So what is needed is a type of a “standardization project culture” that may need to be embedded in the project team from the outset.  Ultimately, the business lead must take responsibility in enforcing this approach with his/her project decisions to support this overall cloud philosophy. Benefits will become evident when pre-delivered integration templates can be leveraged and standard global reports function out of the box. This recommendation will reduce the total cost of the implementation project.


Consistently, customers under-estimate the integration cost and work involved with a new core HR and payroll platform. These fundamental applications most notably core HR will need to integrate to a plethora of external applications, both global applications perhaps like Active Directory or even feeding local time or benefit applications that requires master employee data like name, address and system username.


Deployments of such complexity and importance need to be meticulously planned and supported by resources that have the requisite skillset ideally with cloud experience from both a core HR and payroll standpoint. This author hopes this article will offer customers a starting off point in the pre project planning stage.