Posted By PayNW August 17, 2011

One of the big story lines in the last five years in technology has been the rise of the importance of the consumer. For nearly two decades it was the Enterprise (business) that dictated how and where technology progressed. This was the heyday of Microsoft – consumers were allowed to participate, but it was business that drove how technology developed. That all changed with a little device called the iPhone. People clamored for them, fell in love, and then demanded that their employers figure out a way to accommodate and incorporate their use “at the the Enterprise level”. In technology, the consumer now reigns supreme.

With accounting and payroll systems, typically technology laggards even in the old Enterprise world, the question is, how deep into corporate systems will consumers and their smart phones go? Hard to imagine stodgy old personnel management systems, with their big databases, high transaction volumes, need for airtight security all administered by back office staff tasked with grinding out reports, checks and ledgers going the way of Angry Birds and Google Maps, right? Think again. It’s happening and it is happening fast.

Just as many are rightly embracing the move of corporate systems to the cloud, the smart phone ecosystem (namely Google’s Android and Apples iOS) is extending those systems into the hands of the people. Actually, by making the giant leap from on-premise corporate servers to the web and cloud-based applications, moving things to the phone turned into a tiny leap. It’s happening and anyone who has employees better be ready to provide tools and information to them via smartphone platforms. And anyone who provides tools and services to employers better be ready to help them with this.

So what are some examples of employer tools delivered via smart phone platforms? How about a manager being able to view which of their employees are clocked in or out at any given moment? How about an employee requesting time off and a manager approving or rejecting that time off, both via their smartphone? What about submitting a simple payroll to your payroll processing partner via your smart phone? What about an employee reviewing, via their smartphone, their PTO balance, the time punches for the week, or their previous pay stub? All of these things are either available today or in development. You can bet that more will come.

What seemed unlikely just a little while ago, is now happening, and happening fast. Employers, and those that serve them, had better stay alert. Because like Angry Birds, their employees want to be on a smartphone as well…

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