Posted: January 23, 2020
Category: Data Security, Gig Economy, Payroll Technology, Supply Chain Management

The Future of Payroll Management Software

As we enter a new decade, the continued evolution of the digital age is destined to further transform every facet of modern living and will no longer be considered as a new phenomenon.  Consumers and clients alike will no longer tolerate unreliable tech which does not seamlessly enhance both their personal and professional lives. Businesses which are unable to implement high-performance applications and platforms will suffer in terms of an exodus of customers and long-term reputational damage. The recruitment payroll software industry will not be exempt from these predictions.

Take for example, the instance of TSB Bank when they attempted to migrate over five million customer accounts onto a new a new IT system in April 2018 with disastrous consequences. Only a matter of hours after posting images of the implementation team celebrating with glasses of champagne on Linkedin, TSB’s online infrastructure dramatically failed with almost two million customers locked out of their account. Venting their fury on social media, the story became headline news around the world as confidence in this once highly trusted institution evaporated in an instance. The subsequent fall-out cost the bank in excess of £330 million to rectify and directly resulted in the loss of eighty thousand (primarily) long-standing customers.

Faced with the prospect of accelerating Solutio’s brand strategy in an industry still somewhat lagging behind the tech curve, I began researching the technological trends and challenges of the wider UK business sector, to see how they might relate to the future of payroll management in recruitment, and quickly discovered a raft of familiar themes and objections.

Cloud-based Systems & Data Storage

Despite being the solution of choice for many, embracing the potential of a cloud-based IT infrastructure still seems fraught with fear risk to others. Shifting from an inhouse server or data-centre strategy demands an emotional and strategic shift by business owners and directors still confined by the limitations of local or legacy systems. By their very nature, increasingly sophisticated software platforms are constantly updated which can only be accessed by businesses that receive these improvements automatically.

Imagine if you had to take your iPhone into the Apple store or have an engineer visit your home every time they released a new version of their software; in effect, this is what is required by non-cloud-based systems still prevalent in numerous organisations especially within the recruitment payroll sector. Allied to this the inherent paranoia of recruiters with regards to storing their candidate or client data anywhere out of site, and one begins to understand why the payroll technology industry has been so slow to fully embrace the power of the cloud.

The Hybrid Multi-cloud

For those still fiddling around with discs in grubby server rooms, the situation is about to become even more acute as the advent of hybrid multi-cloud systems is upon us. Quoting from an IBM ‘sponsored content’ feature published in The Times over Christmas:

Delivering the slick digital services that customers expect, increasingly requires companies to manage multiple systems and platforms, whether old or new, locally held or in the cloud. The growing challenge is integrating all these disparate layers from the bedrock stable legacy systems often maintaining records going back decades… up to the very latest on-demand digital software which is held in the cloud and uses remote computing.

A modern app-based economy so beloved by consumers is wholly dependent upon interrelating systems working seamlessly together to deliver slick and error-free user experiences. This is particularly the case among contingent workers and contractors who comprise the ever-growing ‘gig economy’.

Apps, Apps & More Apps

The evolution of the mobile app will go down in history as the mechanism that placed the digital revolution into the pocket of consumers. Apps have facilitated the shift from the desktop to the phone at electrifying speed as fast-moving, transient and impatient populations crave information and access irrespective of time or location. GPS navigation, 3, 4 and 5G networks, plus the vast power of new handheld devices, provides a triptych of technologies that combine to ignite the potential of apps. We rely on apps to tell us where we are, where we are going, when we get paid and what products we might want to buy; we gamble, date and pay via apps that intuitively understand our travel, social and buying habits let alone our health status, sleep patterns and susceptibility to illness. Apps are all knowing and all encompassing.

Within the contract labour supply chain, apps provide the perfect mechanism to connect a worker with all those entities active in any given assignment and yet the sector has been slow to embrace the commercial potential of a genuine ‘end-to-end’ application. Apps exist which manage various aspects of the contractor journey, but the real ‘gold’ lies in a facility which enables real-time communication between the worker, hirers, recruiters and payroll provider. Skill shortages and a paucity of proven candidates have empowered the position of the worker, so staying in touch significantly encourages loyalty and performance.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Despite its prevalence in all walks of our lives, think automated customer support, chatbots, online shopping, travel sites and a myriad of smart home devices, recruitment as a sector has been slow to embrace AI beyond the somewhat clunky cv screening or candidate matching tasks. Simply scanning a cv and selecting potential candidates because of the presence of a certain word or phrase is an over-simplified use of the technology which has the potential to contribute more widely to the performance of an agency or umbrella company.

Taking Solutio’s payroll management software as an example, the platform has the ability to monitor and score the speed at which an umbrella company pays its workers or to analyse deductions charged by any given provider. In an era where transparency and ubiquitous notions of compliance increasingly prevail, workers will soon demand this information in the same way that they check reviews on TripAdvisor before booking a hotel. Hitherto, payroll providers have relied purely on glib statements of trust or a largely tacit adherence to any given compliance standard to try and differentiate themselves from competitors. Whereas, with the latest trends in payroll management embracing these technologies, any providers not offering such visibility will lose their competitive edge. 

The advent of Key Information Documents (KID) legislation in April 2020 is another area where Solutio’s intuitive data management can help. The system can automatically create KID documents comprising the requisite information required by recruitment agencies prior to sending to the worker. With less than four months until the new legislation becomes statute, it is widely acknowledged that only a tiny percentage of recruitment businesses have the processes and procedures in place to comply. Despite claims by some that the new rules will prove unenforceable, a strengthened and active enforcement team within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy suggests otherwise.

Cybersecurity

At the time of writing, Travelex foreign exchange websites are still offline in over thirty countries due to a cyberattack on New Year’s Eve with the company being held to ransom by hackers. The business is losing millions of pounds per day and its commercial partnerships with the likes of HSBC and Sainsbury’s are also suspended. Such a high-profile breach puts the very real threat of cybersecurity into sharp focus and leads to the inevitable conclusion that virtually any platform can be hacked if stringent measures are not deployed at every level.

With data widely referenced as the “new oil” or responsible for the “fourth industrial revolution”, all businesses are rightly concerned about the vulnerability of their systems. At its most fundamental, recruitment is a glorified data matching service reliant upon the successful pairing of a candidate’s information with the requirements of a vacancy; protecting said data is therefore paramount and one wonders how secure many legacy systems actually are.

Thankfully, Solutio’s payroll software has been developed with the highest levels of security at its heart. Fully compliant with SSAE-18 SOC 2 guidelines, all data within Solutio’s payroll technology is securely managed and further protected by total SSL (128 Bit) encryption and enhanced authentication layers. Needless to say, the platform’s management of all data is also fully compliant with GDPR legislation.

Conclusion

The growth of the contingent workforce in the UK continues apace as skill shortages, an ageing population and an economy in transition intensifies the search for talented candidates capable of contributing to what Crawford Temple from Professional Passport describes as the “new world”. Slowly but surely, Government bodies, the public sector and private employers are acknowledging that these changes in work patterns are an indisputable reality and a permanent facet of the very nature of work. Once considered an evolution, the accelerated shift towards an agile, transient and fluid workforce can now be described as a genuine revolution on a par with the migration of agricultural workers to manufacturing-based conurbations which began some two centuries ago. 

Those businesses harnessing the potential of the technology platforms developing in parallel with this revolution will elevate themselves way beyond their competitors and achieve rapid and spectacular commercial success. Workers are increasingly aware of their value and will gravitate towards switched-on supply chains particularly within the software, teaching, health and engineering sectors. Hirers, recruiters and payroll intermediaries who continue to treat candidates as merely anonymous fee-generating non-entities are doomed to long-term failure.

To find out more about how Solutio synchronises supply chain data and facilitates communication between all assignment entities, please contact Adam Jordan (Partnership Director) on 07789 488 909 or via adam.jordan@solutio.com to arrange an interactive demo. Alternatively, you can request a call back here.