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Data Series—Improving Processes, Customer Experience, Part II

By Lubomira Kostova

Editor’s Note: Part I of this article appeared in the November Global Payroll issue and discussed requirements for a good case management system. In Part II, writer Lubomira Kostova takes a deeper dive into using the data to improve processes and gaps in addition to the employee experience.

Any strategic program or process improvement starts with gathering the right data. One must take initial considerations into account before looking at the details on how to best use the data from a case management system. Initial considerations are necessary to ensure that we receive the most up-to-date data. Therefore, all queries should be managed via a case management system.

It is easy to fall in the trap to answer a query via email or an internal communication channel. In fact, today, some communication channels allow for an integration with a case management system from a simple ping. However, to obtain the most current data and an overview of the health of our processes, all data should be logged via the case management system. The data collected from case management systems should not be used solely to make decisions. Alternatively, other data pools should be considered for a full picture (e.g., payroll output metrics such as successful payments or surveys). This data is a good starting point to assess our processes, see image, which ultimately impact the end user, whether that is a business partner or an employee.

Data Analysis for Program Improvement

It is easy to assume how our processes are faring across the organization or how our customers feel about a particular initiative. For a successful improvement program, your data analysis must be made not on assumptions or feelings but on an accurate data set.

A case management system offers a rich data pool that can provide us with a solid start for program assessment. Before extracting the data, payroll teams need to answer the following questions:

  • What do we need to analyze for our department?
  • How will the data be pulled?
  • Where will the data be stored? (Depending on the case management system, this data can be stored in the system itself or interfaced to a data analysis tool.)
  • How frequently will we extract the data (i.e., monthly, quarterly, yearly), depending on the needs of the organization?


For example, the items listed below offer a starting point to determine gaps or an area of interest for the employees:

  • Total volume of tickets (opened and closed) per country
  • Average resolution times based on already set service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Highest volume of topics


They can offer us an insight on particular trends, whether on an organizational level or country-specific; complicated topics; or seasonal topics (e.g., year-end queries and processes). Additionally, we can compare the data from different points of time to assess whether any deployed program or process has had the desired effect.

After analyzing the first data set, we can determine the main problem areas and a baseline against which we can measure any implemented program.

Design—Strategic Programs

Once the main gaps and improvement opportunities are determined, a payroll team will need to prioritize those based on the data and impact. For instance, if the data points out that 40% of employees submit their timecards late—which results in late or incorrect payments—that process needs to be prioritized. It has a significant impact on your employees.

Based on this prioritization, payroll teams need to do the following:

  • Determine the objective of the program, linking it to an organizational goal
  • Map out the current process (e.g., map the employee journey) and establish gaps
  • Design the desired process—this could include process automation, removing unnecessary steps and elements in the process
  • Test the new process whenever possible

For instance, if our program aims at reducing the number of steps an employee needs to log a case in the system and we want to automate it, we would need to first ensure that automation is allowed by the system.

It is important to differentiate between the two main groups of data we will find in a case management system, which are the following:

  1. Information-based—Employee queries which require certain information (e.g., pay day). These are queries which may consume a significant amount of time and point out at lack of information rather than a broken process in the payroll lifecycle. The best solution for these types of queries is one central place (or a knowledge base) where these items are outlined.

  2. Action-based—Queries which require the payroll team (and possibly stakeholders) to take action. These are the cases which will give us a better overview of process gaps in the payroll lifecycle.

Execution—Strategic Programs

Once the design of the desired process is finalized and testing has been successful, it’s time to implement the new program. All involved parties will need to have a clear plan on roles and responsibilities and action points for deadlines and dependencies.

In addition, the payroll team needs to perform any further training on a broader team or population and follow the change management plan, always ensuring that the message on why a certain change is happening and how it liaises to organizational goals is clear.

Success Analysis

Implementing a particular program, depending on the size and impact, doesn’t stop after implementation. For a particular process to be considered successful and has met the purpose, the payroll team will need to evaluate this success against the objectives and goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for a particular program.

Additionally, the teams need to account for additional feedback and monitor success based on evolving business needs. For instance, ask yourself whether the current solution still allows you to meet current business needs, and for bigger programs, possibly implement a biannual or yearly review to assess needs and how the current solutions fare against current business goals and needs.

Case management system data can provide important insight on what is on our customers’ minds in addition to presenting gaps in our processes. To improve both, our processes and the employee experience, payroll teams need to be able to extract and analyze the relevant data, and deploy successful programs addressing key gaps based on this analysis.

Learn more about this author in the Professional Spotlight article also in this issue.

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Lubomira Kostova is a Lead, Strategy and Planning, Global Payroll at Uber, where she manages a portfolio of projects helping the global payroll team to automate and optimize processes and improve the employee experience. She has several years of experience in payroll implementations, with focus on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America (LatAm), case management systems, and business process transitions.