How Do You Monitor Your HR/Payroll Data Quality?

By Posted April 4th, 2013

Every day, I speak with SpinifexIT customers to better understand how they use our solutions. One use case that many customers find particularly powerful is data quality and data governance. I wanted to share some thoughts about how Easy Reporter can be used to monitor and improve the quality of SAP HR and Payroll data.

The Concept of HR Data Governance

For the purpose of this discussion, HR data governance is broken down into the following three areas:  Completeness, quality and compliance of all related HR Data. In layman’s terms, good data governance practices ensure that the HR data is in the SAP system correctly and it adheres to governmental or organizational requirements. Regardless of which application is used for HR and Payroll, these three aspects must be continuously achieved in order to have a successful level of data governance.

The State of HR Data Today

In my experience, most organizations are currently evaluating various ways to improve the synergy between HR and IT. Looking back at the evolution of HR and Payroll systems, many started out by focusing on functions that are very transactional in nature (e.g., HR administration, payroll and benefits-related tasks, etc.) and were often seen as necessary, but of limited value-add to the organization.  As a result, the management and maintenance of data was driven by the application and not necessarily by the processes it supported. Data quality was important, but data inconsistencies often went undiscovered until it was too late. Over the years, HR systems have evolved to include more employee-facing, dynamic functionality such as compensation, performance management, career and succession planning, recruiting, and learning. These specialized applications are highly visible to employees via self-service applications (ESS and MSS) and, as a result, data quality issues that used to go unseen are now critical to not only the systems, but also to the employees themselves.

Today, the quality and completeness of data is equally important to employees, managers and HR themselves. Employees care about data quality for peace of mind. They need to know that they are correctly reflected in the company and will receive appropriate entitlements (e.g., salary, benefits, vacation, etc.). Managers rely on HR and payroll data to make appropriate decisions and recommendations for their direct reports on a daily basis. Executives rely on the accuracy of their data to support strategic decision making so they can look at information holistically and operation and determine future needs for the organization. Finally, HR needs accurate and complete data to support policy and procedural decision making, including the ability to look at opportunities for improvement in all aspects of HR and even operational business processes and evaluate trends (e.g., turnover rates, absenteeism, benefit claims, etc.).

Easy Reporter as a Data Governance Solution

Easy Reporter enables HR users to create comprehensive reports using data from all of these areas without the ABAP development or the extensive data manipulation that has historically been necessary. Some examples of data audit and governance reports that can be created with Easy Reporter include:

Payroll Audits

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.03.08 PMEasy Reporter comes pre-delivered with a series of standard reports that can be used to perform payroll audits, identify specific thresholds, and execute key checks and balances to monitor payroll for fraud or misuse. Threshold reporting may be set up to automatically track key audit metrics such as pay increases over a predetermined limit, executive compensation limits, and more. Easy Reporter’s payroll compliance reports can also compare data between current and prior periods and may be run during payroll simulation activities to identify and correct data issues prior to the actual payroll run.

Data Integrity and Risk Analysis

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.01.25 PMThere are many common data entry errors that can complicate payroll runs, benefits eligibility, OM structures, or many other HR and payroll processes. Easy Reporter will identify data abnormalities such as duplicate data values, incompatible or ‘mismatched’ data combinations or even null data values. For example, reports may be set up to identify payroll data issues such as duplicate bank detail records or missing field values that can impact payroll results or slow payroll processing. Mismatch reports can identify records with invalid combinations of employment status or enterprise structure values and can also identify potential configuration errors and loopholes that need to be addressed.

Organization and Position Management Analysis

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.01.37 PMOrganizational Management (OM) data is critical to not only HR master data, but also to talent management, security/portal access, management reporting, and more. Easy Reporter enables users to perform comparisons or to search for specific instances of objects and relationships that might otherwise take hours or days to manually detect. For example, a report could be run on OM data to detect which organizational units are missing a ‘chief’ position. Users may also run reports looking for the absence of a particular object or relationship to help identify incomplete or inconsistent objects and structures.

Trend and Point in Time Reporting

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.02.02 PMEasy Reporter reports can be run for current period, historical periods, or specific point-in-time analysis. As a result, Easy Reporter is capable of providing trend analysis reporting to monitor changes in key payroll, compensation, master data or benefits activity over any given period of time. For example, payroll departments may monitor results, taxation figures, or breakdowns by cost center/department in order to spot troublesome trends before they progress further.

Infotype Audits

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 5.02.13 PMThe auditing of infotype entries, deletions, and changes is extremely important to managing the integrity of SAP HR data. Infotype audits provide a time-stamped audit trail of key master data changes in your system. Easy Reporter goes beyond standard infotype audit reports to report on multiple infotypes over different time periods as well as to perform specific field-to-field value comparisons.

These are just some examples of how Easy Reporter can be used to proactively monitor and improve the quality of your SAP HR and Payroll data. If your organization isn’t using Easy Reporter, we’d be happy to set up a custom demo for your team to show you new ways to protect your SAP investment.