Payroll Integrations Between Workday and Frontier
The Australian Division of a Global Financial Services Company
Our client is the Australian division of a global financial services company. Like many multinational companies, they had consolidated their HR systems with Workday but needed localized payroll services provided in-country. They had historically been using a small regional payroll provider and had elected to change vendors to Frontier, a global payroll provider that still retained the specialized expertise for payroll processing in Australia. We were tasked to create payroll integrations between Workday and Frontier to enable automated, reliable, and error-resistant payroll processes.
The file structure and processing paradigms between the legacy payroll provider and the new provider were very different. The legacy provider required the population to be structured into more than twenty pay groups. The new provider only required one pay group. While this is a welcome simplification of the data structure, the change did require significant validation and introduced a few new variables.
A new complexity was the need to transmit separate files segregating position types from employee information. This data model is different from what many payroll providers specify. It introduced a timing dependency – for each pay run, the position file needed to be received and processed by the vendor before the employee data file could be received. In Workday, position data is maintained independently from employee data, so we built orchestration and validation logic into the integration that kept the file delivery in sequence.
The two files delivered from Workday contained eleven different transaction types, which meant the files themselves were quite complex. It was critical to ensure position data was aligned with employee data and that all the transaction data types were allocated correctly. To achieve this, we designed a process to extract a single file from Workday containing position, employee, and transactional data, split the data into two separate files using two document-transform functions, and then sequenced the delivery to payroll.
Because of the nature of our client’s business, the payroll vendor did require some non-standard processes and file structures, with many iterations of the file specifications tested (17 to be exact!) before the method was fully validated. The number of versions of the file spec tested throughout this project emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive discovery process that includes vendor stakeholders to fully articulate requirements, as well as a robust validation process to ensure all use-cases are handled without error.
After a thorough validation process, the client was able to successfully go-live without incident. The change in vendors and the introduction of our integration workflow have proven to improve payroll processing significantly. Before this project, pay runs were liable to have frequent errors that required manual intervention and caused significant frustration. This new process is far more stable and “hands-free.” It just works, which is how all integrations should behave.
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