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Integration and Interfacing – Truth by Definition

Interface – “Between”

The root of the word interface, “inter” can be translated as “between”. For example: “interpretation” is the effort to translate words “between” two people, “intercept” is the redirection of something between two people, and “interoperability” is the common functionality between two things.  “Inter” is an action that occurs between two or more entities. In regard to HR and Payroll products, an interfaced solution is one that has two distinct products that work together to achieve a common goal. The products may not be from the same vendor, may not be in the same development language and may not run on the same platform.

While Technical Difference, Inc. has developed interfaces between People-Trak, a Windows based product developed in Visual Basic and other Windows based Payroll products such ADP®, PayChex®, Timberline® and many others, we have also developed interfaces between People-Trak HRIS and products running on IBM mini-computers running an entirely different operating system, development language, and protocol. These interfaces are not limited to payroll, either. Interfaces have also been developed for both benefit and timekeeping solutions as well.  Some clients even have multiple interfaces running to ensure that all data is moved correctly between various products. In general, if an HR product and a Payroll or other product can find a common way of communicating, they can be interfaced.  In some cases, a “seamless” interface can be created that makes it seem like the two products are integrated, but if there are two products, they are not integrated, they are interfaced.

 Integrated – “Single”

The root of the word “integrated” can be translated as “one or whole”. For example, an integrated TV/DVR player is a single component that has a TV and a DVD player. An iPhone® integrates a telecommunications device, an MP3 music player and an email processor. An integrated solution of any type is technically a single solution with multiple capabilities. In an integrated HR/Payroll product, there is only one product, with one program and one database. However, that product can perform two relatively distinct functions. It can process HR and it can process payroll.

Misrepresent – “Lie”

There should be no definition required here. However, some vendors will claim that they are an integrated solution and they are not. They may have both an HR product and a Payroll product and they may work together, but they are not necessarily a single entity. In many cases, the products were not even developed by the same company. If a payroll software company buys an HR software company or vice versa and the company quickly announces a new integrated solution, they are probably stretching the band of truth. Until such time as there is a single product driving a single database, it is an interfaced product, not an integrated one.

Where We Stand

People-Trak is not currently an integrated solution. We do not offer payroll processing alongside our HR capabilities. However, we can interface to any payroll product that will allow communication between us. In fact, over the past 18 years, we have developed hundreds of different interfaces to a wide variety of payroll and time clock products. If you are responsible for payroll and HR, benefits and HR or timekeeping and HR, and would like to eliminate redundant data entry, discuss your needs with your account representative. If our HR software can talk to your Payroll, we can make your life easier.

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