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        Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

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        The Buyers Guide for Payroll Management Classifies and Rates Vendors

        I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Buyers Guide, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The 2023 Payroll Management Buyers Guide is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect the real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to Human Capital Management vendors supporting the spectrum of Payroll Management. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability and two related to the customer experience TCO/ROI and vendor Validation. 

        This research-based index evaluates the full business and information technology value of payroll management software offerings. I encourage you to learn more about our Buyers VR_VI_Payroll_Management_LogoGuide and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and RFI/RFP tool. 

        This Buyers Guide research evaluates the following vendors that offer products for payroll management as we define it: ADP, Ceridian, Infor, Oracle, Paylocity, SAP, UKG and Workday. Four of these eight suppliers responded positively to our requests for information and provided completed questionnaires and demonstrations to aid our analysis of their payroll management products. Along with briefings and information where provided, all online material that was generally available was used for the analysis. This report includes products generally available as of September 15, 2023. 

        The following vendors declined to participate or did not respond to our invitation: Ceridian, Infor and Paylocity. To organizations considering products from these vendors, we recommend extra scrutiny as part of the software assessment because they did not make their technology available for the Value Index evaluation process. 

        Unlike many IT analyst firms that rank vendors from an IT-only perspective or focus on a specific type of payroll management, Ventana Research has designed the Buyers Guide to provide a balanced perspective, rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business. 

        Using the Buyers Guide will enable your organization to achieve levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize payroll management. 

        We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating payroll management offerings in this Buyers Guide as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. The Value Index can be used to evaluate existing suppliers, plus provides evaluation criteria for new projects. Using it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP. 

        The Buyers Guide for Payroll Management in 2023 finds ADP first on the list, followed by Oracle and UKG.  

        Companies that rated in the top three of any category including the product and customer experience dimensions earn the designation of Leader.  

        The Leaders in Product Experience are:  

        • ADP.
        • Oracle.
        • UKG. 

        The Leaders in Customer Experience are: 

        • ADP. 
        • Oracle. 
        • UKG. 

        The Leaders across any of the seven categories are: 

        • Oracle, which has achieved this rating in seven of the seven categories. 
        • ADP in six categories. 
        • SAP and UKG in four categories. 

        The overall performance chart provides a visual representation of how vendors rate across product and customer experience. Vendors with products scoring higher in a weighted rating of the five product experience categories place farther to the right. The combination of ratings for the two customer experience categories determines their placement on the vertical axis. As a result, vendors that place closer to the upper-right are “exemplary” and rated higher than those closer to the lower-left and identified as vendors of “merit.” Vendors that excelled at customer experience over product experience have an “assurance” rating, and those excelling instead in product experience have an “innovative” rating. 


        Note that close vendor scores should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well-suited for use by every organization or process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in how organizations handle payroll management, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences that can make one vendor’s offering a better fit than another. 

        After more than a decade of technological advances, all the products we evaluated are feature-rich, but not all the capabilities they offer are equally valuable to users. Moreover, the existence of too many capabilities may be a negative factor for an organization if it introduces unnecessary complexity. Nonetheless, an organization may decide that a larger number of options is a plus, especially if some of them match its established practices or better support a new initiative that is driving the purchase of new software. 

        Features, functions and vendor assessments are not the only deciding factors. For example, an organization may face budget constraints such that the TCO evaluation can tip the scale to one vendor or another. This is where the Value Index methodology and appropriate weighting can be applied to determine the best fit of vendors and products to an organization’s specific needs. 

        Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Buyers Guide the overall product and customer experience from our payroll management blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which vendor and products best fit an organization’s particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects. 

        You can find more details on our site as well as in the Buyers Guide Report. 


        Mark Smith


        Mark Smith
        Partner, Head of Software Research

        Mark Smith is the Partner, Head of Software Research at ISG and Ventana Research leading the global market agenda as a subject matter expert in digital business and enterprise software. Mark is a digital technology enthusiast using market research and insights to educate and inspire enterprises, software and service providers.


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