Payroll and IT: Best Practice Partners

Christina Fortin

Last month, one of our Solution Specialists, Kim Groome wrote an article for the Canadian Payroll Association’s DIALOGUE Magazine. This article explored how Payroll can partner with IT to improve processes, security and help with change management.

Payroll & IT: Best Practice Partners

We asked our implementation team to share some real life examples of IT partnering with Payroll that resulted in best practices for their organizations.

Change Management Allies

Q: Your IT team is crucial, not only to the implementation process, but also to organizational decision making as a whole. When have you witnessed IT act as change management allies with our clients?

A: Dayna

I’ve been involved in a few implementations where the payroll team has asked the IT team to help them develop change management and testing procedures in place to ensure their payroll is always accurate.

One client using this approach has worked with their IT team to develop a full test environment. When they want to make changes to their payroll set up, they are initially made in the test environment before deployment, which allows them to know everything is working exactly as planned. Their IT  created test scripts for end-users, to ensure that scenarios are thoroughly tested end to end so changes won’t have any unexpected outcomes once they move to a live environment.

A: Kim

During the initial set up of a new Web Services project, one client’s IT team helped with the Self-Service portal training – assisting the Payroll and HR team by creating the training manuals for both Employees and Managers. IT informed them of the correct URL, included trouble shooting ideas, and provided the appropriate contact information for the IT department if there were any access issues. IT also provided a “Hands-On” resource during the training sessions to help make the first experience to the new process positive.

Access and Security

Q: IT professionals are integral to the set-up of security and access. Can you recall a time when IT worked in tandem with Payroll, HR and Finance to make sure their access plan was solid and thoroughly tested?

A: Karman

Some clients have a devoted IT department that works to secure usernames, passwords, mobile access and access to all of their software applications. Access often varies based on role, in some cases, administrators are assigned different access codes based on daily roles and tasks they need to complete. When a change in roles occur, IT is alerted immediately. This same client employs a yearly end-user audit, which utilizes reports of each user role and the correlating level of access it holds. That access is reevaluated each year to ensure users have the right level of access.

A: Kim

Our implementation team worked on a particular project that required the IT team to know what kind of security Payroll, HR and Finance needed for certain files so they could control access to shared folders. IT’s ability to adapt to permissions and other security features promoted cohesiveness between departments and optimized security. 

Mobility Enhancers

Q: As organizations offer more access to through mobility keeping payroll information safe is an important consideration. How have you seen IT teams improve productivity or enable other teams to work from outside the office?

A: Karman

Not all employees work from the office, some act as an extension of an organization and its data, making secure mobility a critical function of company processes. Companies really do depend on their IT for mobility, functionality and efficiency. Some employees work from home, on-site or camps, which means they need the capacity to work from wherever they are; IT makes that happen!

It’s one of the reasons they are so invaluable. A few clients have adapted to the change by supporting mobile time entry and pay statements to better accommodate employees, clients and even speed the implementation process.

A: Dayna

Integration between systems is incredibly important, and it’s IT that makes it all possible. Having IT involved with implementation has increased some company’s ability to work mobile, among many other benefits. Moving from manual to mobile time cards gives companies that are expanding a huge advantage. Additionally, in cases where clients are further away, IT enables our implementation specialists to assist from a different province. That mobility not only saves on time, but is extremely effective. 

Training Technologists

Q: IT is often perceived as being experts in hardware and software, but IT often also has a wealth of knowledge that can be very beneficial in helping end users get up to speed. Have you seen a time where IT provided or improved user training?

A: Karman

IT can play a major part in manager training. Their involvement allows managers to stay informed and gives them the knowledge to teach their employees. One of our clients conduct database training, aiding the managers with orientation of the software. IT’s ability to help managers enables them to create their own training documentation to pass along to employees.

A: Kim

One client planned open houses for employees to ask questions, and get assistance with logins and new time entry methods through one-on-one training sessions. The IT team’s efforts to make sure everyone was equipped and ready to use the system was invaluable and allowed Payroll and HR to develop reference guides that were used to train employees.

Disaster Planners

Q: No matter how good of an IT department you have, disasters happen. Employers understand that employees need to get paid during times of crisis, have you ever witnessed a time that a client’s IT team responded with a good disaster recovery plan?

A: Dayna

When Calgary experienced the flood in 2013, one of our clients had already prepared a plan. Located in Eau Claire area, their offices were destroyed, but due to the forward thinking of their IT team, they were able the access Avanti remotely. Their planning ahead led to a faster recovery, which many businesses weren’t able to do during that time. In turn, the partnership between IT and Payroll has aided the development of organizational processes, and changed how work is being done today, but without IT there would be no physical technology to support.

Manager of Payroll, Benefits and HRIS, Johanne Jansons:

“During a disaster, our IT team concentrates on the physical aspects of running pay. When we had to move to another location within Calgary due to a city wide disaster a few years ago, we were able access our servers through a laptop that IT set up for us. They had ensured we had access to the bank by modem, could run our payroll application at an appropriate time and ensure emails were working to get time files that could not be loaded or captured by our time system.

HRIS supported IT, resulting in the company’s ability to run pay without employees even knowing it was experiencing any challenges.  Today, our IT team maintains our servers, operating system and ensures connectivity, while HRIS supports the tools, maintains the system and manages user access.”

System Thinkers

Q: IT is continuously looking for ways to improve productivity through automation and technology. When have you seen IT provide guidance on changes to existing payroll processes and systems that have improved productivity and efficiency?

A: Dayna

IT can provide recommendations on processes regarding on-boarding, security and auditing that can save Payroll and HR an effective amount of time on daily protocols. Although IT generally concentrates on security and auditing processes, their expertise can be very useful to the company’s payroll procedures.

A: Karman

As they are technically inclined, IT can offer guidance on software functions, workflows and even maintenance. IT teams are always analyzing for ways to improve efficiency, whether it’s looking for better ways to configure the system, enhance organizational procedures or automate workflows.

Vendor Managers

Q: IT is becoming an integral part of the HCM implementation success. What does IT contribute to the implementation process and how does their input help vendors make sure the solution fits the organization’s needs?

A: Debbie

The IT team of one of our clients in Winnipeg was working on a project first-hand, which gave them the capability to implement the solution themselves after they were trained. Quick to understand our security, set up permissions and access, they were able to manage their own data conversion. IT was involved in the data mapping process to determine what current and historical data needed to be converted to meeting overall organizational reporting requirements. IT’s involvement in the implementation process allowed for a smooth transition, shorter implementation time and savings on vendor services fees.

A: Karman

It’s in the company’s best interest to involve IT in decision making, especially when it comes to the implementation process. They have the knowledge and skills to fully understand the functions of the software in its entirety and how it will help achieve organizational goals. IT’s involvement in the beginning, equips the project with a knowledgeable technical team to help answer any technical questions that arise during the process. 

Cloud Champions

Q: Moving to the cloud is a major decision, one that should always be made with the support of your IT team. When has a client made the decision to move to the cloud with the support of IT?

A: Debbie

I helped one of our clients move to the cloud, and saw their IT team take the initiative to provide an analysis of the cost to improve their infrastructure. They also examined current priorities and provided insight on ways to achieve them more effectively. IT was integral in determining if the move to a hosted solution was that the right decision for the company.

Another client I worked with involved their IT team in their new HRIS system selection as they knew they needed to find a solution in the cloud. This was when the oil and gas industry was hiring a lot of the talent in Fort McMurray and I witnessed a lot of lean IT teams forming in other businesses up there. This client recognized that less infrastructure and maintenance allowed their IT team to focus on more key deliverables, so moving their HRIS to the cloud allowed them to work smarter and accomplish that objective.  

Meet Our Team

Dayna Barr
Dayna, Implementation Specialist

Dayna has been implementing Canadian Payroll solutions for over 10 years. For the past 7 years, she has worked as an Implementation Specialist, mainly focusing on the Payroll, Benefits Administration and Time & Attendance products. Her specialties include designing reports and writing formulas.


Debbie Tarlyov
Debbie, Manager, Client Implementations

Debbie has been implementing HCM solutions all across Canada for the past 7 years. Her area of expertise is in HR processes and she has assisted many clients in developing business process improvement plans. Debbie manages all Client Service projects and oversees the implementation team at Avanti.


Karman Gill
Karman, Implementation Specialist

Karman joined Avanti Software in the spring of 2015 as an Implementation Specialist. He comes from a Human Resources background and is currently working towards his CHRP designation. Within Avanti, Karman mainly focuses on Payroll, HR, and Web Self-Service.


Kim Groome
Kim, Solution Specialist

Having started with Avanti’s Support team, Kim has been an HCM Implementation Specialist for over two years. Just recently she has joined the Sales & Marketing team as a Solution Specialist. She enjoys working with all aspects of the Avanti solution, especially assisting clients in setting up Web Self-Service.

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About the Author

Christina Fortin

Christina is Avanti's Public Relations Advisor. She's currently in her final year at Mount Royal University's Public Relations program where she will earn her Bachelor's Degree in Communications.

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