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Mobile Workforce Management vs. HR and Payroll Systems: What's the Difference?

Technology is evolving so quickly that it can be challenging even for IT pros to stay on top of what’s new. And business partners don’t usually come to IT or CIOs asking for a certain type of software; they just need to show up with a problem or pain points that they want to go away. So when your team shows up with problems that span managing groups of people and getting work done on site with customers, it can take a lot more than a Google search to find the right type of software.

That’s why we’re offering this easy read on how to identify when you have problems that require a mobile workforce management solution or an HR and payroll solution.

What is a Mobile Workforce Management Solution?

A mobile workforce management tool not only provides the peace of mind that your workforce will not come to a standstill, but it also provides scheduling, dispatching, management, and automation capabilities to make your mobile teams exceptionally effective.

Mobile workforce management solutions make the following processes much easier:

  • Create schedules for mobile employees that match the skills of that worker with the needs of your patients
  • Dispatch mobile providers to new appointments with optimized routes
  • Communicate with and update mobile employees in real-time
  • Perform capacity planning for high-volume or low-volume periods
  • Track employees en route to different jobs
  • Log job start, completion and travel time
  • Track average length of service engagements
  • Track employee performance against services promised
  • Connect with a CRM or other system of record
  • Define Job Restrictions inline with Client SLA’s

What is an HR Payroll System?

An HR payroll system is designed to help your organisation manage employee payments, taxes, billable schedules, wage calculation, deduction withholding, delivery of checks, and payment of taxes to the government. If you find the right solution, it requires limited input from employers through automating key steps and queries. These are also helpful when any tax regulations change and need to be immediately implemented.

Most solutions of this type should have the following functionality:

  • Roster creation – Factor in the requirements when building the ideal roster, including the required staff, roles, different sites/areas, shift times, staff availability, leave, minimum/maximum values, and cost base.
  • Fill-in capacity – Easily locate and re-assign a new employee to fill-in a rostered allocation.
  • Industry award and pay automation –  Award Interpreter that can be tailored to suit specific pay requirements to achieve streamlining and automation of payroll processing, whether it’s industry awards, Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA’s) or custom agreements.
  • Payroll integration – Easy integration with payroll applications for simple automation and management of existing investment in current payroll and accounting tools. A HR/Payroll system works in conjunction with a Mobile Workforce Management tool as it’s usually unable to effectively manage both operations.

Identifying the source of the Problem

Clearly, these solutions are extremely different. So why the confusion? This usually has to do with businesses solving for symptoms instead of root problems. Here’s an example of what we mean. Let’s say a business is having an issue with paychecks. They are getting out late and are sometimes inaccurate, especially for billable workers. And those workers are unhappy as a result.

All those pain points–costs, delays, dissatisfaction–are symptoms of something else. They are the results of a much bigger problem that you have in the way your business operates. Before beginning to evaluate solutions, you need to make sure you are solving for the right set of problems, not just treating a symptom that will invariably return.

Which is the best solution for you?

Going back to our paycheck example, there are many possible causes of these pain points. The problem could start and end in the back office, where payroll is processed. Legacy tools, manual or broken processes, or even the way the office is staffed could be the culprit.

If you are having a problem with managing and paying billable work, and that problem begins and ends in the back office, a payroll solution may be just what you need.

Alternatively, it could be that the real issue begins long before the back office gets involved. When information the back office needs from the field is error-ridden, delayed, or otherwise problematic, then you will have these pains no matter how good your back office systems are.

If your business is facing challenges related to managing teams in the field–such as maintaining profiles and data about those employees and contractors, scheduling them effectively, and collecting data from their work and projects – a mobile workforce management tool could solve those problems and more.

Still unsure which solution is right for you? Ask yourself:

How is your HR and payroll process functioning as a service to your employees? Are staff returning rosters with mismatched pay rates and missing annual leave requests? Is this process paper-based and lacking in duty of care?

On the other hand,

How many customers have you lost due to service complaints? How many returned products or cancellations have you received from dealing with irate customers just wanting their product or service in an appropriate fashion?


How are your competitors delivering a customer focused service, driven by proactively providing their resources out in the field with the most relevant and up-to-date client information. Using such information to provide streamlined service handling, mitigating and minimizing any previously identified customer specific risks.

Got a question that hasn’t been covered in this blog? Let us know and we’d be happy to provide you with an answer!

Looking for other software solutions and want to learn the basics? Download ‘The Skedulo Guide to NDIS Software’ that details further information on the above solutions, PLUS Care Management Systems and Content Relationship Management tools.