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Beyond Payroll Reporting – Why BI is a Game

Changing Technology
Scott E. Townsend, President
Scott E. Townsend’s Payroll Journey
1988 – 1994 Reported to Najeeb Khan, CEO and founder of Interlogic Systems, Inc.

1997 – 2003 Director of Systems Development at ISI/CNA UniSource (PEO)

2003 – 2006 Co-Founder, VP Technology at TruPay Corporation

• 2 x IPPA Growth Award, 3x Inc 5000 (2013 #2797)

2006 – Co-Founder, BGSI to “get back to product development roots”

2008 – 2009 Director, Payroll Services with Westaff (acquired by Staff Leasing)

2009 – Present began serious Business Intelligence focus

We are currently in beta with PenPay located in Pleasanton, CA


Agenda
Part 1 – Introduction to Business Intelligence Concepts, Terminology

Part 2 – Demos showing key benefits of a new reporting and analysis framework

Part 3 – Making BI approachable using Excel, PowerPivot, PowerView, and GeoFlow

Questions and Answers

Conclusion
What is Business Intelligence?
A management decision support framework that empowers business users to
understand data => resulting in actionable insights that improve the business.

• A collection of database and software technologies


• Business intelligence uses a special multi-dimensional database
• In the process, it can unify data across multiple independent data silos
• This is true for ERP systems like SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, etc.
• And for smaller payroll platforms like Paylocity, SaaSHR, Evolution, MPay, etc.

Adapted from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/business-intelligence-BI.html


What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?

MEASURE

The word “measure” is exactly


what it means: a number that
we want to analyze, what we
want to measure in our
analysis

In this example:

410 is the number of


packages delivered

Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174587(v=sql.90).aspx
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?

DIMENSION

The business attribute that


“describes” the measure.

In this example:

We find that the 410 measure


has important context, it
represents the intersection of:
- Route
- Source
- Time

Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174587(v=sql.90).aspx
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?

MEASURE CONTEXT

Specifically, the 410 packages are


related to:

Non-Ground / Air

Eastern Hemisphere / Australia

2nd Half / 4th Quarter on


November 27, 1999

Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174587(v=sql.90).aspx
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?

HIERARCHY

Literally, from the highest


level “grain” to the most
detailed grain. Think:
Year/Qtr/Month/Week/Day
1 2
In this example:

The Source dimension can be


drilled-down into increasing
levels of detail. Each time we
do this, the cube recalculates
all measures at the
intersections.
Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174587(v=sql.90).aspx
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?

TIME INTELLIGENCE

One of the very special


attributes of cubes is their
ability to understand time
concepts, like:

This year vs. Last year (Q/M/W)

This month/This year


vs Same month/Previous year

This is inter-period analytical


span…a huge win for
management decision support!
Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174587(v=sql.90).aspx
Why is all this applicable to Payroll?
Payroll reporting is notoriously indifferent to the needs of managers

• We have artificial boundaries called “company numbers” that fragment data


making consolidation difficult (we force copy/paste using Excel)

• (Current) Calendar year bound; lack of fiscal year support

• Often, payroll services are from disparate systems making integration difficult

• Report writers are inflexible and do not support exploring data dynamically

• Report writers do not easily support inter-year comparisons

• Users have to deal with “payroll codes” (i.e. cryptic, there is no metadata)
What most Payroll Vendor offerings look like today:
With BI – Payroll Vendors can look like this:
Reporting starts from this: (we still need these transactional reports)
And adds this: (a new analytical view of data leading to insight)
Demo
Use BI now! Or, why wait?
What we’ve just seen is a formal data warehouse and cube solution

But, it’s possible to achieve impressive results with common tools like Excel

In our next demo, we’re going to show:

• Step-by-step how to perform a similar analysis


• Including, how we get data out of a payroll database directly
• We’re going to use PowerPivot to model the data
• Then, we’re going to use Excel to add a pivot table and data visualizations
• We’ll explore this data using PowerView
• And if we have time, we’ll look at GeoFlow
Demo
Let’s review what we just did in Excel
We just used PowerPivot to import data directly from our payroll transaction system

We created a model, set relationships, created some custom columns

Once this was done, we could analyze our data and start using slicers

We created a data visualization showing relative hours and dollar values

EXCEL IS SURPRISINGLY POWERFUL!!

IT’S A GREAT PLACE TO START!!


What are differences between Full Blown BI and Excel?
Although Excel is very powerful, you have to “work a little harder”

• You must have read-only access to the payroll database AND you must have a
basic understanding of the tables and fields
• Excel doesn’t scale like full blown BI does
• Advanced calculations require fairly high levels of skill, whereas in most BI
systems these calculations are baked-in
• Metadata is missing, things like aliasing DET codes or enjoying a categorical
hierarchy to enable drill-down/up
• Full blown BI uses nightly updates which are automated. With Excel you must
generally manually “refresh” the data when the payroll system updates
• Integrating from multiple sources (databases) and arriving at one consistent
analytical view is more difficult
Who will benefit the most from BI?
Companies that suffer from data problems, especially from separate silos

Companies that want to “explore and analyze their data” easily

Companies that have multiple FEIN or company numbers

Companies that have a Fiscal Calendar requirement

Companies that use Labor Distribution or Job Cost Accounting

Companies that want Inter-Period Analytical Span

Companies that have large data volumes and want data visualizations to help them:

“See their data”, spot outliers, and identify trends


Advice on How to Implement BI in your company
Informal – grass roots effort to prove business value

• Assumption: you have database access with read-only permissions

• Begin with Excel, PowerPivot and other tools readily available

• Share analysis and make better decisions through KPI’s and Scorecards

Formalization

• IT projects begin with business sponsorship

• Decide scope (payroll first, then HR integration, etc.)

• Comments on Budget | Development | Testing | “One Version” | Adoption


Business Intelligence is Emerging
BI is coming to ADP according to analyst commentary at Gartner Research

…and will likely continue to grow with other providers

2013 – Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Payroll BPO Services"

“Investment in business intelligence and data analytics services. ADP is in the


process of launching a common platform for employer reporting and data
analytics applicable to all data (payroll and other HR data) managed on an ADP
system.”

Download report from ADP’s website:


http://www.adp.com/adp_solutions/analyst-reports/gartner/index.aspx
Business Intelligence is Emerging
ADP is beginning to hint at capabilities that it will provide customers

What product(s) it will be based on?

See this article on ADP’s website:

“Measuring HCM Effectiveness: The Advent of Universal Standards”

http://www.adp.com/tools-and-resources/adp-research-institute/research-and-
trends/research-item-detail.aspx?id=68AEE2A8-5E55-4E66-B21F-
1E0D20830113&cid=soc_twt_ADPRI_HCM_Info
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging
Business Intelligence is Emerging

http://www.bgsi.com http://www.insight4m3.com

Target: Payroll Service Bureaus Target: Payroll Customers


Summary
Business Intelligence is a power technology invented to solve overwhelming data
problems

BI takes effort, but the results are worth it

BI can help payroll professionals give real management decision support within their
organizations

We believe business intelligence plays a very strong role in the future of our industry!
Scott E. Townsend, President
scott@bgsi.com
(408) 730-6821 or Toll Free (866) 241-0428
Twitter: @bluegeckosoft