Ok, I know Payroll is boring.
Compliance reporting is exceedingly boring.
But chances are a wide cross-section of your employees view your Payroll function as the most important 'people' function you do today. And it is likely in many shops, compliance reporting, also known as 'we better not get fined this quarter', grabs the bosses attention as much if not more than any other people process.
Today I spent an hour trying to wrestle around new NACHA rules for reporting certain international payments, and some new American Re-investment and Recovery Act reporting requirements. After that fun, it was on to trying to sort out changes to benefit plans and making sure systems were ready to handle changes in deduction schedules for 2010.
None of that stuff is even remotely interesting.
None of it helps to make the 'people' function more 'strategic' or contributes much to the execution of the organization's critical initiatives.
Unless avoiding a riot in the payroll office next Friday is considered 'strategic'.
But the day reminded me yet again that in HR organizations these new issues, new requirements, new laws and regulations, most of which will not help your organization one tiny bit in what we all talk about as being critical in HR Technology are constantly in the way, and in many cases directly in front of and hindering the pursuit of truly breakthrough projects.
Aligning corporate goals with individual work plans, linking performance with training and development plans, or building out portals or new tools to better connect the workforce and increase innovation and collaboration; we did not talk about any of these for one minute today.
And I suspect we won't talk about them tomorrow either, since the wrestling match with changing regulations and new compliance requirements never ends quickly.
Yesterday at Oracle Open World, we got the first meaningful look-see at the long awaited suite of Oracle Fusion next-generation applications. It was a pretty slick demo, and did much to showcase just how far the Oracle team has come in user interface, integrated intelligence, and dynamic organizational charting. For several years, Oracle has been developing Fusion, delivered technical components of what will support the Fusion Apps, but mostly just made promises about what might be coming with Fusion. Yesterday we got some more clues, but with so many questions remaining about General Availability (sometime next year?), the upgrade path from Oracle EBS or PeopleSoft, and no clear idea about what if any of Fusion is 'free' (i.e. part of the normal and ongoing maintenance fees that EBS and PSFT customers pay forever).
Lots of questions still.
But tomorrow, and I suspect the next day, and the next week (single payer health care anyone?), the question lots of HR folks will need to answer is not 'When are we getting Fusion?' but rather, questions like when will EBS or PSFT or whatever else we are using support the latest changes in transmission and reporting of foreign deposits.