Transcript Document

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
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
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:
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?
The word “measure” is exactly
what it means: a number that
we want to analyze, what we
want to measure in our
In this example:
410 is the number of
packages delivered
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?
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
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?
Specifically, the 410 packages are
related to:
Non-Ground / Air
Eastern Hemisphere / Australia
2nd Half / 4th Quarter on
November 27, 1999
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?
Literally, from the highest
level “grain” to the most
detailed grain. Think:
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
What does a Multi-Dimensional Database look like?
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!
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)
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
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
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
• 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
Download report from ADP’s website:
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”
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
Target: Payroll Service Bureaus
Target: Payroll Customers
Business Intelligence is a power technology invented to solve overwhelming data
BI takes effort, but the results are worth it
BI can help payroll professionals give real management decision support within their
We believe business intelligence plays a very strong role in the future of our industry!
Scott E. Townsend, President
[email protected]
(408) 730-6821 or Toll Free (866) 241-0428
Twitter: @bluegeckosoft