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There was recently a very rare opportunity to access a major analyst report for free when a Forrester report called “The Forrester Wave HCM Q1 2012” was included in a Workday press release.  It is not that often that you get another perspective as to how SAP matches up with the other major vendors such as Oracle, Workday, Ceridian, Ultimate Software and ADP.


I could write blog posts from many angles as there was a wealth of information in the analyst report but I personally took issue with the ranking of SAP Payroll.  I have long been of the opinion that SAP Global Payroll is the one of the strongest solutions in the marketplace and although there has been a lot of innovation in the Human Capital Management space over the past several years I don’t see anyone that has the depth and global functionality that SAP offers. A few caveats are that I may be biased as I have been helping customers install SAP US Payroll for the past 14 years and the other is that I am by no means in expert in every competitor in the marketplace.  Let me outline what SAP offers and I will leave it to the readers to determine if the Forrester payroll ranking was accurate.


Global Solution - SAP offers Payroll solutions for 50 countries covering their specific legal requirements and common, local business practices. They have partner solutions which are delivered and maintained by partners for another 33 countries.  Each of those solutions has country specific master data, payroll and reporting and overall SAP supports 30+ languages. Here is a map of all the countries SAP currently has a Payroll solution for with the exception of Saudi Arabia which was released with ECC 6.0 EHP5.


SAP Payroll


Usage – I am a bit believer that customers do their REAL talking with their enterprise software purchases and in speaking with SAP solution management they estimate that worldwide, 7000 customers are paying 45 to 50 Million people using SAP Payroll.  Given the constantly changing tax and legal updates having a lot of customers using the offering is a real advantage especially when these changes have to be made on short notice.  I know firsthand how dynamic this can be in the United States and SAP consistently delivers these important changes shortly after they are announced by the various federal and state entities as if they didn’t many Fortune 500 companies would pay their employees incorrectly.


Functionality – It is difficult to do justice to the highly customizable, robust functionality SAP offers in a short blog post but at the core it provides organizations with comprehensive payroll functionality to support the following:


  1. Essential core payroll functions.
  2. Direct deposit and transfers.
  3. Off-cycle payrolls.
  4. Retroactive adjustments.
  5. Calculation of averages.
  6. Assessment of time data.
  7. Loans.
  8. Garnishments.
  9. Year-end processing.


Competitors – It is commonly known that Workday has a partnership with Northgate Arinso’s euHReka for their Multi-Country Payroll  but what isn’t that known is that euHReka uses the SAP Payroll global solution as their core. Workday does have other global payroll provider partners that they use so it's not their sole source situation.


The SAP Global payroll solution is very robust and I believe a large competitive advantage for SAP. Given the local rules and regulations along with the high profile nature of paying people correctly it is a complex undertaking to roll out a new country offering that will support mid and large enterprises. I saw this firsthand in the late 1990’s with the US payroll solution. I would highly encourage individuals reading this article to review the Forrester report in detail as I would love to hear your thought regarding the others scores in the other categories.



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