Joe Scola is Senior Director of Technical Operations at Sage Payroll Services. During his tenure, the company has undergone massive changes, including its acquisition by Sage and the integration of several other units. Getting disparate entities, each with their own systems and processes, working together is a monumental task.
To get maximum efficiency out of the combined companies, Sage Payroll Services implemented QuickBase as a central source of truth for key business data, and a platform for quickly building business apps to put that data to use. We asked Scola how his organization has thrived during a time of rapid change, and what role QuickBase played in that change.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced was implementing consistent strategy, infrastructure, and procedures across previously independently owned and operated payroll service bureaus. Running our operation in the short and long term across disparate databases presented us with a drag on productivity and without the tools needed to manage our operation.
What are the challenges to rolling out new processes across multiple departments or teams at your organization, and what advice do you have for others with similar challenges?
Involve your users early on. Add more work to an old process and you’ll have complaints. Eliminate too many steps in a process and you’ll have a few users that want to sabotage the effort for job security. Involvement and the opportunity to shape the future direction is a major part of getting past that obstacle.
We have locations across the country. Each of them were once independently owned and operated so they each had local processes and procedures in place. Coming together to develop best practices is a challenge but QuickBase helped us work through the steps together.
How has Sage Payroll Services managed digital transformation over the past few years?
We’re a software and service business that embraced and promoted transformation from within and for customers. Sage intends to lead the market when it comes to innovative ways to serve small to medium sized business. Payroll services, in particular, exist because we can provide accurate and reliable results at a lower cost than any individual business; to compete in the marketplace requires us to.
Internally, we’ve witnessed our own business transform into one where digital information prevails over paper. Dual monitors, centralized and secured sources of data, and letting go of some old habits have modernized how we do things today and we’ll continue to evolve for the future.
How does "citizen development" support the overall business strategy at Sage Payroll Services?
Like most business we had a top down approach to our strategy. It’s natural for experienced leadership to feel they are best suited to decide how the work gets done. QuickBase gave us a platform to open discussions and build an application that we knew would support our way of doing business. We didn’t adapt our service model to adopt an application designed for our business by a third party. Instead, the citizen developers' design ideas are heard and built to suit the needs they have to meet challenges they face daily.
How do you leverage QuickBase to design and deploy apps quickly?
QuickBase quickly became our system of record and aggregator of all of our key business data. Aligning that data into something meaningful was critical to our business and QuickBase was critical in helping us meet our needs.
The template library (QuickBase Exchange) is invaluable. I’ve downloaded and used parts of dozens of applications built by Intuit and other QuickBase users. Sharing ideas with other users is a great place to start when it comes to designing your applications. The modules are also a great way to leverage existing tables and absorb them into your application. Deployment of any system or CRM is a challenge that many organizations fail despite major investments. The intuitive design of QuickBase along with early user participation has allowed us to deploy quickly.