Reducing IT demands and operational risk were at the top of Guaranty Bank's priority list in 2006 as it sought to replace its legacy human resources information system with a software-as-a-service system.
"With a hosted solution, we could pay our employees anywhere there was an Internet connection," says Cathy Thaxton, payroll manager and assistant VP at the Milwaukee institution. "That would improve our business continuity without requiring more IT resources."
In early 2007, Guaranty, which has $1 billion in assets, quickly narrowed the prospective products to two: a new system from its existing vendor, which Guaranty declined to name, and Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corp.'s HR/Payroll. Impressed with HPW's more advance reporting capabilities, Guaranty's HR department asked IT to evaluate Ceridian from a security perspective. "Once IT performed its due diligence, we felt comfortable," Thaxton says.
However, after moving to HPW in September 2007, Guaranty began experiencing multiple problems with the time and attendance component. This included unexplainable errors in reporting employee hours and pay. "We tried to make it work for about six months," Thaxton says. "Going through the process of introducing a new system, only to tell people to go back to the old way -- that's very discouraging."
Over the next few years, Guaranty considered its options. "We investigated Ceridian's other time system as well as looking outside their suite," she says. "Given our experience, we were gun shy."
[IT Spending to Grow Through 2013]
Late in 2010, Ceridian notified Guaranty of its impending Dayforce acquisition and suggested the bank could serve as a pilot project. "Dayforce gave its presentation in early December, and we liked what we saw," says Thaxton. "So we jumped at the opportunity."
With contracts signed by year's end, the time and attendance implementation began in January 2011. "We couldn't have asked for a better implementation," recounts Thaxton. "Dayforce even provided the training documents in [Microsoft] Word format, which allowed our training department to create self-service employee training materials for our intranet -- no enterprise-wide training was required."
Best of all, the new system has been rock solid since going live in April of last year. "Nothing happens that's unexplainable anymore," Thaxton says. "The few times we've called tech support, the issue was resolved quickly."
If there's a downside, it's that a vital administrative function doesn't completely meet Guaranty's needs, so Thaxton and her two-person team use manual workarounds. Fortunately, the vendor has promised a fix for an upcoming release.
Regardless, the benefits abound, Thaxton says. "We're saving about three hours every holiday. Plus, for every two-week pay period, it takes only 10 minutes for payroll information to transfer into HPW, which is down from about an hour and a half."
Additionally, eliminating multiple manual processes has dramatically reduced Guaranty's error rate. "Our rate is 1.2 percent lower than the latest American Payroll Association error rate for high-performing companies," notes Thaxton. "That metric is 2%."
The system has even changed the way Guaranty does business, she says. "I now live six hours from the headquarters, so my office space has been repurposed," Thaxton says. "My two employees telecommute several days a week, and we hold regular departmental meetings via desktop videoconference."
Moving forward, Guaranty intends to adopt Dayforce's scheduling module next year. "Transitioning from manual to automated scheduling will not only align our staffing levels with our customer service expectations but also deliver about a six-figure savings, annually," she says.
Best of all, employees have regained confidence in their bi-weekly paychecks. "The Dayforce module," Thaxton says, "has definitely gone a long way to restoring employee faith."
CASE STUDY SNAPSHOT
Institution: Guaranty Bank (Milwaukee)
Assets: $1 billion
Business Challenge: Adopt hosted system to streamline manual payroll processes without requiring additional IT resources.
Solution: Ceridian Corp. (Minneapolis); HR/Payroll Web and Dayforce Time and Attendance
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio