Inframark, a water and infrastructure service company, has replaced its human resources and payroll systems with a "unified human capital management (HCM) cloud suite," according to Inframark CFO John Freebody.
The pivot follows through on the company's strategy to modernize their people operations with a flexible software-as-a-service solution that integrates timekeeping, HR and payroll, and ultimately supports the company's mission to scale and grow.
"Previously, we had duplicate systems, and both had some overlapping functionality, but neither had an automated timesheet. Now, everyone fills in their electronic timesheet, so the human input piece of that is eliminated, essentially. We now have three people in payroll," Freebody said to CFO Dive on Friday.
The Kronos HCM cloud suite "eliminates manual timesheet entry and reconciles time billed that we pay our staff," Freebody said. "Tracking that — being able to capture that — is critical in our business and critical in our transformation.”
The impetus for the move to cloud stems from Inframark's experience with unionized workers. "From an HR perspective, we are sensitive to labor laws, and the requirement to have full audit trails," Freebody said. "Accurately recording the time people work, and track and shift differential patterns, things like that, are also critical."
Automated systems hold promise as a way to avoid detrimental human error, he said. "If you have a manual system, you're always exposed to somebody saying, 'I worked these extra hours and my manager didn’t pay me correctly.'" Freebody said.
The jump from a premise-based tool to a cloud-based solution can be challenging — much more so for a company of Inframark's scale. "[Implementation] was difficult, insofar as we had three different business units," Freebody said.
But Inframark's executive team took pains to ensure that each employee's payroll was timely and accurate, leading the full implementation to take about a year to complete. The time paid off: When the program went live, Freebody said "only three to four people had problems with their pay slip, which is phenomenal. We never would've expected that level of accuracy."
Looking ahead, Freebody predicted the finance function would soon join HR in its march toward cloud-based infrastructure. "For us, it's all about automation," he said. "In our Texas business, we're processing 250,000 jobs a year. The fact that we don't have to manually reconcile that time is huge. It's a massive saving."
Freebody credited his team with the widespread success.
"CFOs need extremely strong IT people who understand business, and I'm very fortunate that I have that," he said. "There are a couple of people on my team that are great at integrating platforms that benefit business. That's why the project was such a success: the strong team."
Story updated to clarify previous comments from Freebody.