Integrating a payroll provider with Workday is an often-underestimated endeavor. At ClouDevOps, we’ve seen firsthand the challenges that businesses face as they connect their Workday HR system with Payroll providers.

Payroll providers landscape

Payroll providers handle a wide range of payroll operations going from full outsources to simple compliance type system maintenance. The complexity behind managing different payroll providers in each country drive many organizations to choose global payroll providers like NGA or ADP. Those global providers guarantee compliance with the local regulations while relying on preconfigured payroll software

Workday and the global payroll providers offer certified connectors to secure data flow. A proven connector is only one of the aspects of a successful integration project. Global Payroll rollout tends to be challenging on topics such as:

  • Delays in extracting data from the current payroll system/provider
  • Lack of project experience and test scripts preparation from the Payroll team.
  • Lack of time from payroll and HR to perform thoughtful tests the new payroll engine, validate data migration, and test all data flow scenarios with Workday.,
  • ASIS / TOBE GAP analysis and Change Management with Payroll Team. Global Payroll provider using country-based templates limiting the flexibility from to adapt.  

Continuing we share a few recommendations based on over 20 NGA & ADP global rollouts projects including integrations with Workday HCM.

Recommendations by project phase

Successful Global payroll rollout project phase has common focus in early stage:

  • Identify all teams involved
  • Communicate goals and expectations
  • Emphasize on testing
  • Prepare early for Data Migration
  • Prepare for GoLive and Cutover activities

Identify all teams involved

Payroll integration project involves many different teams including HR, Payroll, IT, Accounting, Third Parties, and management just to name a few. You must involve all of these teams at an early stage of the project to avoid having to make drastic changes at later stages, avoiding delays and extra costs.

Communicate goals and expectations

At the start of the project, you should have a detailed kick-off meeting with representatives from each team. Keep this selection of stakeholders informed and follow up on regular meetings making sure they have the right people assigned for each project phase.

Emphasize on testing

One of the most important aspects of a successful payroll integration project is ongoing and regular testing. There are three different types of testing to perform for your Workday-payroll integration project:

  1. On-going and incremental Functional Testing
  2. User Acceptance Testing
  3. Parallel Payroll Testing

On-going and incremental Functional Testing

Testing should occur throughout the project. Unit tests should be prepared with the Payroll provider and your test lead prepare the test plans well in advance. Defects must be reported to relevant stakeholders and addressed using appropriate test management tools. You must prepare to provide sufficient resources for testing. Some companies try to have their existing employees test the new system on top of their current responsibilities. This approach rarely works as the new system won’t be tested thoroughly enough. Consider hiring an external test team. ClouDevOps can facilitate an experienced payroll integration testing team easing the burden on your current staff.

User Acceptance Tests

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is when you have the eventual customers or users of a newly developed system use it for the very first time. Receiving feedback from users who will use the system on a day-to-day basis will be invaluable for the overall success of a project.

Through gaining the unique insights of these users and implementing their suggestions to improve the configuration, you will have a robust system integration and reduced volume of post GoLive issues.

Parallel Payroll Testing

What is Parallel Payroll Testing? This is a form of testing that is unique to these types of payroll integration projects. It involves taking an extract of data from the old system, then taking the same extract of data from the new system after reprocessing same payroll data sets, and comparing the two. 

Through cross-examining the data you can check for accuracy and mistakes with how the new system is handling the same data. However, it is important to note that before you can conduct Parallel Payroll Testing, you must ensure the data in your new system is set up correctly. To accomplish this we need to migrate our data from the old system to the new.

Prepare early for Data Migration

Loading employees, contracts, compensation and all other payroll-related information in the new payroll system require several cycles of data migration. Data extraction, transformation, and validation before loading into the new system is a tedious activity. 

Before starting you need to identify the data to be migrated. 

Once you have a plan in place, begin formatting your data to ensure it can be ingested correctly by the new system. Make sure you retain historical data in case a rollback is required or if the old payroll system won’t remain accessible. 

The challenges you can expect to face with data migration are as follows:

  • Not identifying all of the data that needs to be migrated
  • Your new system cannot handle a certain data type from your old system
  • Organizing and formatting data correctly
  • Not planning for report generation and data extraction in advance
  • Failing to keep historical data and backups for all actions

At ClouDevOps we help companies to handle the data migration side of your Payroll migration project. Having a trusted partner who has overseen the successful integration of countless payroll systems with Workday HCM will be a tremendous asset to the success of your project. 

Prepare for GoLive and Cutover activities

The final stage before the new system goes live and starts handling all of your production data. This is a crucial stage, and mistakes made here might have an impact on your workers’ payroll. A proper Cutover plan would cover activities you might group as follows:

  • Integrations: Know integration issues have been solved. Workarounds have been communicated to the users. Integration Monitoring is in place and the Integration Support Team is on Standby.
  • Authorizations: Do the relevant users have the access required to use system your system when it goes live?
  • Reporting: If your old system generated reports and data extracts that were crucial to your business, your new system must be capable of creating these reports too. 
  • Documentation: A system is only as good as its documentation. Do you have every aspect of the new system’s functionality documented ? Support staff and users will rely on this documentation for years to come, so ensure it is thorough and complete before launch.
  • Backups and historical data: You have backups prepared and historical data in place. If the worst-case scenario occurs, and you need to do a rollback, these backups and historical data will allow your old system to function correctly.
  • Soft launch: If you are a large enterprise this might mean launching the new system in one region, instead of doing a Big Bang rollout. Or a soft launch could mean having half the staff use the new system while keeping the other half on the old system. Soft launches mitigate risk.


A Global Payroll rollout project is complex and not a transition to improvise. Counting on experts to assess and anticipate risk is key to success. 

Here at ClouDevOps, we are proud of the partnerships we have forged with many Global Payroll Providers. We have helped dozens of companies to transition from Local Payroll to Global Payroll Services leveraging Workday HCM a reliable source for the HR Operations while improving the payroll team’s productivity. 

Contact us today, let’s discuss your approach to Global Payroll and Workday payroll integration.