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The Leaders in Asia Pacific Enterprise Payroll: How SAP, Workday & Oracle Stack Up
Published on Oct 12, 2023
As organisations continue expanding their operations in Asia Pacific, HR departments face the challenge of managing payroll across multiple countries with ever-changing regulations.
Implementing an enterprise payroll solution enables automation, scalability, and compliance across locations.
But with many options now available, how should HR professionals evaluate potential platforms?
Understanding Enterprise vs. Local Payroll Solutions
Before evaluating vendors, it’s essential to understand the critical differences between enterprise and local payroll solutions.
Local payroll software is designed to handle one country or a small region with limited ability to scale.
These systems provide basic payroll calculations and reporting for simplified needs.
In contrast, enterprise solutions are built to handle payroll across multiple countries in a single integrated system. They provide:
- Localisation for languages, calculations, reporting, and bank file formats across many countries
- Centralised payroll processing and auditing across different locations
- Tools to configure complex pay rules and collective bargaining agreements
- Integration with other HR systems like talent management and core HR
- Scalability to grow from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of employees
An enterprise solution brings automation, compliance, and economies of scale through a unified platform for organisations managing payroll in more than one Asia Pacific country.
SAP SuccessFactors Payroll for APAC
SAP SuccessFactors provides one of the most robust enterprise payroll solutions tailored for APAC. With support from over 27 countries in the region covering major languages like Chinese, Korean, Thai, Bahasa, and Japanese, SAP SuccessFactors handles localised payroll calculations and reporting requirements.
The system is highly configurable with an open API, allowing custom integrations and rules unique to each business. Companies can define particular calculation logic, assign individual pay components, and configure different attendance and time management workflows. This flexibility enables SAP SuccessFactors to support complex payrolls with high volumes of employees and compensation types. Ok
Major multinational organisations using SAP SuccessFactors for payroll in APAC include:
- Pacific International Lines
- IHH Healthcare
The large installed base and account management provide HR teams access to experienced implementation consultants such as Rolling Arrays and local payroll experts. While no system handles every scenario out of the box, SAP SuccessFactors has successfully localised regional complexity.
Workday Payroll and Global Partners
Unlike SAP, Workday relies on third-party partners to provide localised payroll capabilities in Asia Pacific. Workday’s global payroll partner program covers over 100 countries, with slightly more than a dozen partners focusing on the Asia Pacific regions. Some of them include Ramco, Excelity and Ascender.
The main advantage of Workday is the user-friendly interface and cloud-based delivery. HR teams can access payroll anywhere through the simple Workday dashboard. Calculations, workflows, and integrations between HCM modules happen behind the scenes, reducing payroll management efforts.
However, the partnerships add a layer of complexity for implementation and support. HR teams should evaluate the partner’s ability to handle regional payroll needs when considering Workday, including:
- Localisation coverage for specific countries
- Configurability for unique payroll rules
- Platform skills and services for implementation
- Ongoing support model and SLAs
While Workday is appealing, the partners ultimately determine success in delivering payroll for Asia Pacific.
Oracle Payroll Solutions
Oracle has an established on-premise payroll product covering APAC countries. The solution’s maturity suits organisations with highly complex payrolls and collective bargaining agreements well-suited. Deep configuration options account for unique union rules and calculations.
However, transitioning to Oracle’s cloud payroll platform introduces challenges in migrating and reconfiguring existing payroll setups. Significant effort is required to move data, integrations, and customised rules from legacy on-premise versions to the new system.
The perceived higher total cost of ownership should also be considered when comparing Oracle to SAP and Workday. Despite the move to the cloud, Oracle payroll requires significant consulting resources for implementation and ongoing management. The investment may be justified for large, complex payrolls, but the cost is more challenging to rationalise for more straightforward needs than other solutions.
Key Evaluation Criteria for HR Teams
When selecting an enterprise payroll platform, critical factors for HR teams to consider include:
- Languages, currencies, reporting formats
- Payroll calculations for different regulations
- Bank file creation and delivery
- Ability to build unique payroll rules and logic
- Support for variable pay and collective agreements
- Workflow flexibility for approvals and integration
- Performance and size limits for the number of employees
- Ability to scale up as the organisation enters new countries
Implementation Time and Cost
- Speed and effort to deploy the initial solution
- The complexity of customisations and required consulting
Ongoing Support Model
- In-house payroll team vs. outsourced managed services
- Vendor or partner resources for assistance
- Training resources to build internal expertise
While SAP SuccessFactors leads in configurability for regional complexity, no system meets every requirement.
When evaluating platforms, HR departments should outline their localisation needs, growth plans, and budgets.
Partnering with qualified implementation providers like Rolling Arrays can further enable adapting the system to specific business priorities and processes.
HR can effectively scale payroll operations across Asia by selecting a payroll solution that aligns with organisational needs.