Sage HR & Payroll Guide - Understand What You Need
Stage One - Understand what you need
Stage One - Identify and understand your needs
Review, reflect, research. Get a balanced view of
what you need from your solution by including
the people who’ll work with it.
2HR & P Buying Cycle
Get the right people together
The first step is to identify if you actually need new HR or payroll software, and if so, why. It’s important to consider
different points of view, so make sure you include stakeholders from across your business at all levels, from senior
directors to the administrators who will be using the system on a day-to-day basis. You also need to think about
who to involve from other areas of the business, like your IT department, for example.
3HR & P Buying Cycle
If your current software is no longer being updated or supported, it’s a good time to see what other vendors have to offer. You will need
to bear in mind timescales, particularly if you need new software in place for new legislation, like pension auto-enrolment for example.
Think about when you want to be live and then work backwards from there. Remember to factor in time for decision-making.
If you are changing your IT platform this may have an impact on your software and could influence your options. If you’re moving to
new technology such as Windows 8, or your business has decided to outsource IT or bring it in-house, there may be different options
available for your HR and payroll software.
Change of IT
Has your business outgrown your current system? Do you need more advanced tools? If you are using spreadsheets a lot or if your
payroll takes a long time to run, then you may need to consider a system that better suits your needs.
Outgrown old system
Does your current system comply with new legislation? WIll it help you manage new legislation such as pension auto-enrolment? Also
think about the future and what new legislation may be on the horizon.
Do you need to reduce costs? HR and payroll software can help reduce the burden of administration, improve efficiency and cut costs.
It can also help you identify things like staff absences and turnover, which in turn can increase productivity and reduce costs. Even
electronic payslips can help your business drive down costs.
Is there something that your current supplier can’t provide? For example maybe you need self-service functionality, salary sacrifice or
Bad experience with your current supplier? Sometimes you may feel your curernt supplier no longer meets your needs.
Poor service from
Consider the ‘why?’
There are a number of reasons why you may need new software:
Business restructuring means lots of changes. Are your HR and payroll systems up to the challenge? Perhaps you’ve acquired a
business and you have more employees or maybe there’s a new focus on training and development. Make sure your payroll and HR
plans fit in with the wider business strategy.
4HR & P Buying Cycle
Consider the ‘what’
At this stage, you’ll be starting to gather thoughts about what
you need and what the business is prepared to pay for.
Key questions to consider are:
• What type of software or service do you need?
HR, payroll or an integrated HR and payroll solution?
Or a payroll outsourcing service?
An integrated solution can provide you with a more powerful
and efficient solution for your business. Having HR and payroll
software that works together can eliminate the duplication
of data, reduce paperwork and reduce errors. Long-term
this could save you money. But you may need to consider a
staged approach, implementing one first. Consider what you
may need now and in the future. If you are rapidly growing,
make sure you think about what you’ll need a few years down
the line and ensure the supplier can meet those needs.
• What type of software delivery do you need? Installed,
hosted or software as a service?
In-house, installed solutions will give you more control and
access to your data. But you need to consider the resources
you have to support it. For example, if your IT infrastructure is
already stretched, hosted or outsourced solutions may be a
better option for you.
• Is outsourcing an option?
Outsourcing has some obvious benefits. The service provider
takes some of the risk and it means you never have to
worry about keeping up to date with the latest technology
developments and legislation. It can also be very flexible.
So you can choose to have a provider that does everything,
or keep elements in-house and just outsource payslips for
example. Outsourcing can be particularly useful if your HR or
payroll wouldn’t function without key people in your business.
• What are your financing options?
An in-house solution will usually demand up-front costs, but
once it’s installed it may work out inexpensive in the long run.
Outsourcing, or software as a service usually have lower initial
costs, but you keep paying for them as long as you use them.
Think about the total cost of ownership and what’s best for
• What functionality do you need? What is important in
Do you want employees and managers to be able to manage
their own HR data? If, so, then self-service can help you share
information such as policies, job vacancies, and training
courses with everyone that needs it.
What would benefit your employees? If you have a lot of
remote workers, would it be easier for them to access their
HR information via a mobile device?
Do you have a high turnover of staff? Do you spend a lot of
your time on recruitment campaigns and processing new
starters? Look at how software can help you streamline the
process and whether you want to incorporate recruitment into
your company website.
Do you have a high number of temporary, seasonal or hourly
paid workers? Would it help if your software could automate
auto-enrolment for pensions? If your pension provider handles
this, then think about how that links with your payroll software.
Would it be better to be handled within your payroll software?
What reports do you need to produce? Do they cover HR
and payroll? If so, think about the benefits of an integrated
solution. Think about what information you need to be able
to report on such as absence and turnover.
5HR P Buying Cycle
At this point you should create a ‘wish list’ of features.
• Assess your current position
What current workarounds do you use? What is coming up
that you need to consider? Do you need a new system or just
some time invested in your current one?
Buying a new HR and payroll solution will cost money, but
what’s the risk to your business if you do nothing? This is a
great time to review your current processes and see where
you can make improvements.
• What support and services do you require?
Do you need a support desk that can offer longer opening
hours? Do you want a UK based support team? Consider
what expertise you have in-house and how much support you
will need before, during and after installing new HR or payroll
If you have key person dependencies can your service
provider help you out in an emergency, by running a payroll,
Think about your resources
What resources and expertise do you have available and what
do you need? Be realistic. Managing a project to introduce
new HR or payroll software is time intensive and it can be
difficult to do alongside a day job. Think about your current
workload and what time you can dedicate to the project.
Outside of the usual payroll and HR team, you may also
• An IT professional to help you consider the platforms
• Somebody from procurement that has contract
• A dedicated project manager - this could be someone
in your business or a specialist who understands
implementing HR and payroll solutions
Think about when you need to be live and work backwards,
allowing enough time to select, negotiate and purchase your
At this point you should start researching the marketplace and
seeing which suppliers offer you advice and support.
Researching the market place
There are numerous resources to help you research the
market before you begin your selection process. To research
the market, understand the solutions, shortlist potential
suppliers and organise the first round of meetings can take
about three months.
Supplier websites are a good place to start. These will give
you a good overview of what they offer and you can request
brochures and product information. They will often contain
other resources such as white papers and guides that you
may find useful.
You will probably already know of a few suppliers you want to
consider, but it is always a good idea to use a search engine
such as Google to search for HR and payroll software.
6HR P Buying Cycle
Publications, websites and magazines
Third party publications and websites may contain supplier
directories which will help with your research. You can also
sign up to their newsletter and read their blogs for useful
Click on the links below to direct you to the sites:
Pay and Benefits
The HR Director
Ask your colleagues
Don’t forget to ask your colleagues! What software have
they used in the past? What was good or bad about it? Also
consult with colleagues in other departments. What software
do your finance or accounts department use? Does that
supplier also do HR and payroll software?
Social media is really useful for communicating with other
people in your industry and sharing advice and experiences.
Join relevant LinkedIn groups and follow relevant
organisations or influential individuals on Twitter.
Read blogs and participate on online forums.
Click on the links below to direct you to the sites:
Sage HR Payroll
There are two main professional bodies within the industry,
The Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD)
and the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).
The CIPP has more than 5,000 members and is the UK’s
leading provider of qualifications, training and consultancy for
payroll. It has a Pensions Faculty responsible for delivering
qualifications and membership services to those responsible
for public sector pensions.
The CIPD is the world’s largest Chartered HR and
development professional body. As an internationally
recognised brand, it has over 135,000 members and supports
and develops those responsible for the management and
development of people within organisations.
7HR P Buying Cycle
This is a great way to compare HR and payroll suppliers.
Click on the links below to direct you to the sites:
HRcomparison helps you identify and connect with the
closest matches to your HR and payroll software needs.
The HRIS Selector Tool will take you through a series of
questions, enabling you to select Applications
(e.g. HR software, Payroll software and Time Attendance),
Modules (e.g. Absence, Employee Self-Service) and then
Features (e.g. Multi-currency, Audit Trail) within the Modules.
Quick Product Search will give you a fast overview, and
draw up a shortlist based on the features you select.
Exhibitions and events
Historically exhibitions were a great way to compare suppliers
together under one roof. Nowadays, it’s a bit easier to do the
same research without taking time out of the office, but here
are some key exhibitions and conferences:
HR Software Show
This is the main software show where you can meet
HR and Payroll software and technology suppliers.
CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition
The CIPP Annual Payroll and Pensions Conference
Online and virtual events such as webinars and webcasts can
be useful in your research too.
When you have established the basic principles for what you
need and have a good idea of what’s available, you can start
to put your business case together. Move on to Stage 2 for
guidance, tools and support on building your business case.
If you’d like this information in an alternative format, call Customer Care
on 0845 111 66 66 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can consideryour request
Sage (UK) Limited, 4 Witan Way, Witney, Oxon, OX28 6FF
t: 0800 694 0568 | f: 01993 709 300 | e: email@example.com | www.snowdropkcs.co.uk
Registered in England No. 1045967 and with its registered office at North Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE13 9AA 04/13 5451HD