Canadian retailer North West Company Inc. (NWC) has bridged the gap between payroll and HR by purchasing a suite that can handle both.

Winnipeg-based NWC, with approximately 4,700 employees, will implement Cyborg Systems Inc.’s

Human Resources Administration, Payroll Administration, Benefits Administration, and Interactive Workforce solutions.

The software, eCyborg, will replace two systems that NWC had previously utilized: Ceridian Paylink, formerly TD Paylink, and Spectrum’s DOS HR2000.

“The integrated technology between payroll and human resources will allow us to improve productivity and eliminate duplicate keying between payroll/HR and other applications like Microsoft Excel,” says Shannon Ferguson, manager, employee communications & special projects, NWC. “Systems limits on the payroll side have restricted HR’s ability to leverage the use of technology like time and labour scheduling software, with eCyborg the infrastructure is simple and user definable, giving us more flexibility.”

While Cyborg’s solutions offer NWC a competitive edge, Cyborg itself has built-in best practices processes.

“Best practices relates to what we call common sense technology. In the marketplace, large ERP (enterprise resource planning) players offer functionality, but it really needs the involvement of IT staff or programmers to really make it work, making it expensive and also costly to upgrade,” says Jeff Koven, executive vice president of Chicago-based Cyborg. “With our common sense approach we tried to elevate, into the hands of the HR department, the tools to make the solution work specifically to their business practices without the need for programming but still be able to upgrade.”

Koven explains that eCyborg’s Benefits Administration component is the link between HR Administration and Payroll Administration, which hold employee personal/performance information and pay information, respectively.

“What makes an integrated solution work is holding an employee’s information. As benefits are often based on earnings, the link to payroll makes sure that deductions are accurate; that coverage is accurate. If you have a four per cent wage increase, coverage increases four per cent and deduction rates will differ — it’s the glue that binds HR to the payroll side,” says Koven.

eCyborg’s Interactive Workforce component allows a degree of self-service, says Koven. “Employees can see their information, their pay stubs online, can enrol in different benefit options, through to changing their address after moving or putting in a vacation request which will be routed for approval.”

At NWC, the first phase of the implementation is underway in its Canadian operations. “The payroll module will be live by March 2003 and the HR module will be live by May 2003,” explains Ferguson. “The remaining modules will be implemented by September 2003.”

For Cyborg, summer 2003 will see a new release of eCyborg moving further into the Web realm and into a more collaborative side, interacting with Web services such as benefit carriers, travel sites, content providers and recruiting solutions.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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