Our client is a multinational asset management company that operates several different business units across the United States and worldwide.
Our client uses Workday as the core HR system for many of its business units around the world. While having a common HRIS provides invaluable data and a common employee experience across the organization, there are some functions that may be best delivered with localized services. Payroll is one of these functions.
Different countries can significantly differ in employment law, wage tax withholding and submission rules, and other jurisdictional requirements. These issues often drive companies to use local or regional payroll providers, who are often best positioned to deliver payroll services that meet the unique needs of the country.
This was the case for our client’s UK division, which was transitioning to a leading European payroll provider. It was expected that other European divisions would quickly follow in the transition to this provider. As Workday is the core HRIS for all of these European divisions, Dispatch was tasked to build a scalable integration between Workday and the payroll provider that would meet the needs of the UK employees and be easily scaled to include other countries as well.
Workday recognizes the need to connect with a large variety of payroll providers that have both standardized and custom requirements. To that end, they have a payroll interface called PECI (Payroll Effective Change Interface) that simplifies the work of building payroll integrations. PECI is a no-code solution that is also easily configurable to meet the needs of multiple jurisdictions, which is ideal for European payroll.
We built a core connector with PECI and used Workday’s calc field functionality to build an XML file containing employee data, recurring payments and deductions, one-time payments, leaves of absence, and time-tracking data. We set up a scheduler to generate and deliver this file to an SFTP site on a monthly basis, which could be automatically picked up and processed by the payroll provider.
A common challenge with payroll integrations is managing employee lifecycle events with defined effective dates that can be prior to or subsequent to the current pay period. We structured the integration so that effective dated transactions are sent during the next integration run for the pay period in which they become effective. Retroactive effective dated transactions and non-effective dated transactions are sent upon the next integration run.
Payroll files are incredibly sensitive because they contain both Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and financial data and payment instructions. Due to this, it is mandatory that payroll integrations be encrypted end-to-end, both in transit and at rest. It is also vital that the integration tracks and logs events for audit purposes.
Payroll integrations need to be rock-solid…a failure can result in missed or late payments, which has significant consequences for employees. To that end, we evaluated all potential failures through a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and built exception-handling logic to detect and respond to potential failures. For example, issues loading files to the SFTP server would trigger automatic retries as well as alerts to the payroll team to ensure the file was delivered successfully.
The outcome of this project was a lightweight integration solution that is error-resistant and easily maintainable. Upon successful deployment for the UK division, we were able to clone and roll the integration out to five additional European jurisdictions.
Ben Lemire is an experienced Business Analyst and Data Integration Specialist. He specializes in data migration, developing test plans, executing and leading UAT and writing operation manuals, and integration architecture documents.