Cloud-based payroll (Ribkhan/

2020 Government Innovation Awards

Governmentwide payroll services in the cloud

Payroll is arguably the original shared service for federal agencies, but that doesn’t mean the multiple services used across the government play nicely with one another. NewPay — the General Services Administration’s initiative to modernize this essential function — could change that.

NewPay Payroll, Time and Attendance Modernization

General Services Administration

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The standards-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform aims to create a cloud-based payroll, scheduling and leave system that improves interoperability across agencies.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said a group of payroll providers, working with representatives of the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget, dove deep into federal personnel processes to reconcile differences in the implementation of standards. The effort has been underway since 2018.

The NewPay team released its first minimum viable product for payroll in September. More important than that milestone, however, are the precedents NewPay is setting. The platform marks an important step toward the use of SaaS for essential business processes and a pivot to standards-based, governmentwide shared services that replace custom-built, mainframe-based legacy platforms, which come with higher maintenance costs, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and out-of-date technology and business models.

“It’s huge,” said John Marshall, CEO of the Shared Services Leadership Coalition. “We’re getting away from agencies cross-servicing other agencies to setting standards governmentwide and bringing the best of the commercial industry to bear.”

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