Small, tech-savvy firm finds payroll bliss – in the cloud

Ariad Communications, and its 1-person HR department, wanted tech-savvy option for its tech-savvy employees

When Ariad Communications decided it needed to implement a new payroll system, the Toronto-based marketing agency left the final choice with its human resources manager, Kristen Agro.

"I said, ‘Well, what’s the budget?’ And they said, ‘I don’t know. Just do what you have to do. Go out there and find out what some of the costs are," she says.

Agro conducted a formal request for proposal with a number of vendors. She compared the responses to a wish list she created.

"I had a list of how all of those vendors measured up against that ultimate wish list," she says. "I was able to go out and pick and choose what I wanted, so it was great."

The system Ariad had been using until this point was strictly for administering payroll duties, so Agro wanted to implement something that would incorporate both human resources and payroll functions.

"We did have a payroll system, but the offering for another piece of personnel management wasn’t available through that vendor, so ultimately we were in the market for an HR system and that evolved into getting a new payroll system, as well," she says.

Agro decided on Toronto-based ADP’s latest offering, Workforce Now, a cloud-based human capital resource management system designed for organizations with a staff of 50 or more. Workforce Now launched about one year ago and currently has 100 users. There are an additional 100 organizations currently implementing the product, according to Greg Rowe, ADP division vice-president business engineering solutions and implementation.

"Workforce Now enables employees to be more productive through mobile applications that provide them access to things like pay statements, company news, company directories and tracking time and attendance," Rowe says.

The convenience of Workforce Now is something that really appealed to Agro.

"It was easily accessible and it was a cloud-based system — that was really important for me because I’m the only HR person in a 100-person organization," she says. "There’s only so much that I’m able to do... (unless I’m) in the physical office. So, if I’m sick for a day, there’s no one there to take my place."

Workforce Now also brings many different functions together, she says.

"The fact that it connected all in one place was great," she says. "With some of the other vendors that we were looking at, it was all separate — there was no offering for one system that had payroll and HR in one place."


ADP provides new users with a preparation manual ahead of the implementation process, according to Rowe. It outlines all of the key areas a client needs to think about as they prepare to move to Workforce Now.

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