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Cloud payroll software installed at Washington credit union

A credit union in Washington state migrated from a legacy on-premises payroll system to a cloud payroll platform from Oracle and integrated it with the vendor's other HCM modules.

When a community credit union in the Pacific Northwest learned that Sage would no longer be enhancing its venerable Abra payroll system, the credit union looked to cloud payroll software.

After vetting a handful of big name cloud HR tech vendors, HAPO Community Credit Union, in Richland in southeastern Washington, picked Oracle's relatively new Oracle HCM Cloud Payroll system.

"Oracle was the only in-house solution in which we didn't have to send our files elsewhere and have somebody else process them and send them back to us for approval," said Gorica Gavric, HAPO's payroll administrator.

Gorica Gavric, HAPO Community Credit UnionGorica Gavric

HAPO (an acronym for Hanford Atomic Products Operations, where credit union founders in the 1950s worked at a now mostly decommissioned nuclear reactor) found in its demos of four or five vendors' systems that Oracle provided the credit union with the most control over its cloud payroll software, Gavric said.

The credit union wanted a system that allowed it to make payroll corrections, after restoring the original payroll, and have the changes show up instantaneously, and not having to wait until the next pay date, Gavric said.

She said Oracle gave them that ability, while the other cloud payroll software purveyors did not – not even cloud payroll giant ADP, which would have processed HAPO's files itself.

That's a big selling point for Oracle in marketing the cloud payroll software.

Oracle was the only in-house solution in which we didn't have to send our files elsewhere and have somebody else process them and send them back to us for approval.
Gorica Gavricpayroll administrator, HAPO Community Credit Union

"Because our system is truly an effective dated payroll processing engine versus a batch processing engine, it can be continually updated with date effective changes versus waiting until the payroll batch is created," said Liz Bucko, director of payroll and localization strategy for HCM Cloud at Oracle. "This also gives users the advantage of not having to 'lock down' the system from changes when a batch is being created."

Meanwhile, Gavric said other Oracle differentiators included the ability to create the credit union's own deduction and earnings codes, and robust business intelligence reports, Gavric said.

Also attractive to HAPO was the ability to integrate Oracle's cloud payroll software with its core Oracle HCM system, including benefits, talent acquisition, and compensation and learning management.

HAPO went live with core HCM, payroll and benefits on Jan. 1, 2016. Next came learning and compensation. The credit union is now installing Oracle's Taleo talent acquisition program.

Yet another feature of Oracle's cloud payroll software that was attractive to HAPO was the batch uploader capability. It allows the credit union to program large groups of monthly incentive payments for eligible employees -- in this case more than 200, instead of doing them one by one as in the past.

And, like other full-featured cloud payroll systems, the Oracle software allows HAPO, which also maintains locations in eastern Oregon, to automatically calculate taxes and withholding for employees from both states.

While HAPO clearly is thrilled with its cloud payroll software, the new system, though easy to update, also requires a degree of technical sophistication to make all that functionality work on the user side, Gavric said.

With its third-party implementer, eVerge Group, HAPO has already upgraded from version 10 to version 11 to version 12, in automated cloud-based updates that took from 24 to 48 hours.

"You schedule them with Oracle," Gavric said. "And they email you when it's done and you just start working."

Working with the software required a period of adjustment, Gavric said. Instead of codes, Oracle uses "elements," for example.

"The system can do a lot more than our old system could do," she said. "But there's a lot more SQL data you have to edit. I'm the payroll administrator, but sometimes I feel like a programmer."

Oracle appears to acknowledge that installing and getting the most out of its cloud payroll software entails a kind paradigm shift on the part of clients.

Users can get the most out of Oracle payroll by fully utilizing the offering and updating-re-modeling processes as part of an implementation," Bucko said. "We see so many clients that initially want everything the same, but then as a part of implementation, realize that a system change is the ideal time to review processes and procedures to update and modernize their payroll strategy. 

"Clients find that the HCM Cloud solution has been architected and designed for a modern user -- eliminating the need for custom processes and manual steps that were necessary in their old system," she said.

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