Paychex provides more than payroll processing services, and its new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering grants small business owners access to the company's expansive human resources (HR) solutions portfolio on their own terms.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based company recently launched Paychex Flex, a cloud-based workforce management platform. As its name suggests, Flex enables small businesses owners or human resource professionals, "to do what they want, where they want, and how they want," Mike Gioja, senior vice president of IT, product management and development at Paychex, told Small Business Computing.
Paychex Flex allows companies to manage practically their entire human resources operations, "from payroll to retirement," via the Web or on a mobile device, according to Gioja. The company currently helps manage payroll and taxes, employee attendance, retirement and/or health benefits for more than half a million small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S.
Mobilized Payroll and HR
As always, customers can pick-and-choose the services they wish to outsource to Paychex. What Flex brings to the table is a mobile-enabled platform that frees small business owners and human resource workers—often the same person—from locking themselves in a backroom for hours come payroll time.
Reflecting the adoption of cloud services and mobile devices among SMBs, Paychex customers clamored for more integrated, self-managed solutions from the company. "Demand was high," said Gioja. "They wanted flexibility in different service models and wanted to do some things themselves."
John Gibson, Paychex senior vice president of service, concurs. "As the personal and business use of mobile devices continues to grow rapidly, information is never more than an arm’s length away, changing the way people want and expect to be served," he said in prepared remarks.
"Service is not one size fits all," he continued. With Paychex Flex and its mobile-enabled technology foundation, Gibson added that the company is "now expanding and enhancing to allow clients even greater choice for how they interact with our service organization and get the support and answers they need."
In fact, Paychex's small business clients (50 employees or less) are already putting Flex through its paces. "All of those businesses are now on this platform," revealed Gioja.
A Serve Yourself HR Model
Accessible via the Paychex mobile app, Flex provides employers and HR professionals with mobile-optimized views and single sign-on workflows that sync across devices. Laptop diehards needn't worry, however. A user-centric website replicates the experience for the keyboard-and-mouse crowd.
Self-service capabilities let employees view their profile and benefits data, including 401(k) balances and plan performance indicators. Workers that want to take a hands-on approach to their retirement can edit their investment allocations and contributions, provided that their employers enable those options.
Flex also helps both employers and employees take better track of their time.
Paychex Time, a new mobile "time punch" app that arrives in December, provides quick punch-in functionality, letting employees get right to work the moment they show up. Small businesses that use the company's Time and Labor Online service "can realize improved efficiencies through the streamlined integration of job costing and labor distribution that allows employees to allocate their hours to particular jobs right from the online timesheets, time clocks, the new web punch widget," and of course, the new Paychex Time app, according to a company statement.
Human Resources data, among the most sensitive handled by any type of business, is secure on Paychex Flex and its mobile apps, assured Gioja. "We don't store anything on the device," a tactic that keeps data safe in the event a smartphone or tablet is lost, stolen, or accessed without permission, he said.
On the customer service front, Paychex plans to roll out a new multi-tiered approach in January that lets customers tailor their support plans to their size and level of complexity. They can choose options range from email support and a 24/7 service center to a dedicated service specialist or a team of product specialists, according to the company.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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