How to integrate technology to address global mobility (GM) challenges and make professionals’ lives better
Towards the end of last year, the Certino team was fortunate enough to be invited to present at the Expat Academy’s Bite Size Briefing event. We used this opportunity to discuss the benefits of technology integration and how this allows global mobility (GM) professionals to focus their energy on tasks that really benefit their organizations – and that they find rewarding. We also shared our best practices for GM teams looking to integrate technology into their processes.
Ahead of the event, we conducted some research amongst our own community and found that 87% of GM professionals felt that the complexity of their role had increased over the last few years. This sentiment was echoed by our audience at the event, 96% of whom agreed.
We identified three primary reasons for this increase in complexity: a less structured globally mobile population, demands on the GM function to become more business-focused, and heightened employee expectations regarding their experience at work – be this at home or abroad.
All of these complications are placing GM professionals under severe pressure. This stress isn’t simply a result of their workload, but also the types of tasks that they’re being asked to complete. In my previous blog, I delved into how these tasks can be separated into red and blue problems. In essence, red problems are energizing and often require specialist knowledge and expertise. Professionals enjoy solving them because they draw on their professional experience and humanity. Blue problems can require both data and in-depth knowledge to solve. They’re absolutely necessary, but they’re generally also time-consuming, repetitive and draining.
The good news is that blue problems lend themselves to automation. If global mobility teams can integrate the right technologies, they will be able to work more efficiently, and spend more time doing the strategic work that they enjoy and that adds real value to their organisations.
This is why technology integration needs to be a key consideration for global mobility teams – but how do they get this integration right?
My biggest piece of advice for any professional or team embarking down this road, is to identify what the business needs from you, and what you are struggling to deliver. This is where technology will make a real difference. With this insight front-of-mind, professionals can then go about selecting and integrating the technology that will help them address this pain point. For this, I believe there are five principles for success…
Five principles for successful technology integration
1. Don’t do everything at once
During the assessment phase, professionals often identify several areas where technology could be applied. Many then create a long wish-list and try to get investments approved all in one go. While this may seem sensible, a far better approach is to address one or two problems at a time.
This approach helps to avoid many of the concerns businesses often have around bringing new technology into their stacks as it cuts down on overcomplicated “one-stop-shop” solutions and gives teams the opportunity to use new tools without overburdening them. This allows them to experience first-hand the benefits technology can provide in improving their employee experience. It can also enable business leaders to directly measure the improvements that technology brings to the GM function and allow for future investments in the next phase.
2. Find a solution that gives you a single source of data truth
In order to be really valuable to the business, GM teams have to have access to up-to-date, accurate information on their expatriate workforce. Regularly, siloed data sitting in different systems makes this much harder than it sounds. This can mean that relatively simple questions, such as the size or cost of an expatriate workforce, can be a struggle for GM teams to answer.
To save time and erase inaccuracies, businesses should aim to use technology tools that give them a single source of truth. This allows teams to spend 100% of their time making important decisions, informed by data. From a practical perspective, this means using a platform that will enable you to migrate data into one unified hub.
3. Consider your technology landscape
If businesses want to enjoy the benefits of integration, and have one platform be able to pull data from multiple sources – they need to think about their technology landscape. For professionals, this means thinking about the systems that the new tools will need to connect with and ensuring necessary integration can be achieved. A crucial aspect of this is to look beyond GM systems and consider how the solution integrates with other departments’ systems to ensure business continuity across functions. Much of the expatriate data is crucial for other areas of the business such as corporate tax, transfer pricing and in some cases, client invoicing.
The most likely way to ensure this is the case is to use a cloud-based solution with API (Application Programming Interface) capabilities. This ensures the solution can plug into existing systems securely and is unlikely to disrupt operations in any way.
- 4. Watch out for ease of implementation
There is nothing more likely to take the glow off new technology than a long implementation process. It used to be the case that months-long implementations were the norm, which posed a significant barrier to the success of busy GM teams.
Now, implementing new tools can be done in far less time. It is important to find solutions – and vendors – that can provide a clear and well-planned implementation roadmap. This will ensure the timeliness of any technology integrations, which can be make or break for maintaining support from the wider business.
5. Select a solution that’s future-fit
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is certain. This makes it challenging to predict future needs and trends. This is important when businesses consider their technology solutions because they must aim for flexibility to avoid tying themselves into one way of operating indefinitely.
This was something that we were very conscious of when developing Certino. The solution has the capacity to scale infinitely based on client needs in terms of monthly capacity for payroll calculations and the countries involved. It also has in-built adaptability and flexibility to meet client specific tax positions and policy types. This means that however businesses expand and operate internationally, we have the capacity to support their shadow payroll needs.
Concluding thoughts: Focus on business outcomes and have strength in your convictions
Above all, when integrating new tech into your stack, you need to believe in what you are doing. No-one needs a degree in technology to purchase or successfully implement technology. You just need to be able to pinpoint what you need, the characteristics of the solution and what the end result should look like. The most important part of any technology integration is that the business and teams involved know exactly what they want to achieve from it.
This is crucial as tech integration can see huge benefits across your organisation. In the case of GM technology, expatriate employees can benefit when businesses hand complex, repetitive tasks over to technology. This allows businesses to spend more of their time creating better, more tailored experiences for expatriate employees, all while making sure assignees are paid the correct amount on time with no issues from the home or host tax authorities.
Payroll professionals managing the globally mobile workforce can also see huge benefits through tech integrations In essence, through successfully integrating the right technology, you can free yourself from repetitive manual tasks, instead spending time on tasks that you enjoy and make you feel like you’re adding value to the business. This is the real value of tech integration in the GM space.
For more information on how Certino’s shadow payroll solution integrates seamlessly with existing technologies, please get in touch: https://www.certino.com/contact-us