As the business world becomes more comfortable with the cloud and automation technology, payroll and HR teams are gaining a greater understanding of, and desire for, the benefits of adopting a unified global payroll solution. A request for proposal, or RFP, is generally considered the first step in selecting a future system. However, for that process to be successful, the real work must begin before you even open a file. Here are three essential questions to answer before you begin building your RFP to help ensure you find the right solution for your needs.
1. What are our current global payroll issues?
If you’re looking for a new payroll solution, chances are you can identify at least a few persistent problems with your existing one. Your current problems or issues tell you what you need to look for in a new provider or system, and also what you need to avoid. Perhaps data collection or transfer is an issue for your organization, whether because of divergent processes upstream of the payroll function or increased compliance goals. In that case, you’ll want to look for a payroll system that integrates with your existing HR or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
A provider with automated data validation protocols could be helpful if accuracy is a problem. If you’ve had issues with poor visibility in the past, look for a solution that provides clean, easy-to-read dashboards that you can configure to show the information you need quickly and easily. If your existing solution doesn’t cover all the countries you operate in, consider a unified solution that does. A single global solution can help improve the management and performance of your entire payroll function by standardizing processes and results, and delivering a comprehensive view of payroll across regions.
2. What is our goal going forward?
A common mistake when starting the RFP process is recycling an old RFP—such as the one you used to find the current solution you’re now looking to replace. Starting fresh may seem like more work initially, but it will save you incredible time and energy in the long run because you’ll have an RFP designed to find exactly what you’re looking for and to eliminate solutions that won’t work for your organization.
Be specific about your goal today, whether it’s a narrow scope or a shared enterprise objective. Are you looking for one solution to cover all your locations? Do you want to integrate payroll with a specific existing system or function? Do you want a shorter cycle time? Identifying a single, primary goal for your current or imminent circumstances will dictate what questions to ask, how many vendors to involve, and what functionality is a minimum requirement of contenders. A clear goal will also guide implementation decisions and change management activities, and set the marker for success of your transformation project.
3. What is our timeframe for transformation?
Understanding your timeframe is key to engaging in a successful RFP process. Is this something you’re looking to enact in the next year? Are you future-planning for improving global payroll after a pending Human Resources Information System (HRIS) implementation? Besides influencing implementation decisions and requirements, your timeframe will determine several key steps in your RFP and selection process.
It is helpful to set a timeframe, even if it’s not dictated by other organizational priorities or needs. Having a deadline in mind, changeable or not, will provide motivation and help keep the project on track. Your timeframe will dictate how many RFPs you are able to review and can help you prequalify vendors with basic research into their average implementation times. If you’re looking to implement a solution in the near future, you would benefit from narrowing the field to as few as two vendors before soliciting RFPs. Your timeframe will also help set deadlines for review and expectations for the process, as well as determine the resources needed in terms of involvement from other departments.
Ready to RFP
The answers to these three questions and their implications will guide you as you begin designing your RFP. Now you know what you’re looking for, what you expect from the transformation, and how to plan the process. These decisions will guide not only your RFP process but also the content of your RFP. Every question should be in support of your goal and seek to address the issues causing you to search for a new solution in the first place. If a provider can’t meet your timeframe, it doesn’t qualify for the RFP process. Keeping these answers as your guide will put you in a good position to find the global payroll solution that works for your team and your organization.
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Paul Bartlett is the CEO of CloudPay, a managed global payroll and payments solution for multinational organizations. A global business expert, Bartlett has deep experience helping companies improve the efficiency and scalability of their operations using technology and services. As CloudPay’s CEO, Bartlett spearheads corporate innovation and product development initiatives focused on automating client workflows and minimizing manual practices. Throughout his career, Bartlett has helped organizations address strategic and operational challenges as they navigated different growth phases and scaled their operations. In addition to CloudPay, Bartlett has served as a partner of Rho Ventures since 2007, focusing on investments in SaaS, software-related services, and new media.