The NewPay software-as-a-service solution offers a strong path to modernization for the Federal payroll process, but a successful effort will require agencies to stop using unique systems and requirements, said Michelle Singer, director of the Department of the Interior’s Interior Business Center.

Speaking at SAP’s Attracting | Engaging | Empowering Tomorrow’s Federal Workforce event today, Singer said the move to NewPay has the potential to bring better service to customer agencies of the Interior Business Center, one of five Federal payroll providers.

“Customer experience … is a focus that we need to widen our discussion about as we turn to NewPay,” Singer said. “I think I have faith in the [technology] – it’s there, it’s real, it’s adaptable,” she added.

But the transition will require agencies to drop some of their unique systems and requirements in order to reduce complexity and make the process more efficient and interoperable.

“If we’re going to standardize more as we move towards NewPay implementation, it’s going to require folks to give up some of their unique systems they have, and talking about standardizing in any place where there’s not a statutory or regulatory requirement for the unique offering. It’s easy to say, but very hard to do,” said Singer.

The move to NewPay doesn’t just affect payroll systems – agencies will need to integrate a suite of systems with the new solution, and increased complexity could stand in the way.

“A piece of it is the interoperability and connectivity to multiple systems – multiple finance systems, multiple time and attendance systems, multiple personnel security systems, other departmental systems – and that’s going to be a huge hurdle,” she noted.

The Interior Business Center is facing a similar hurdle, as it has a fully integrated system of acquisition, financial management, and human resources services which may need to be “broken apart” to upgrade to NewPay.

However, Singer took an optimistic tone on NewPay, saying that the migration would not be a rushed transition, and that an improved payroll system would address some of the issues that delayed backpay after the government shutdown.

“We can do better, and we want to look towards the next level of service. I think we’re all eager to have some more modern tools … I think there is an eagerness,” she said.

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MeriTalk Staff