The October 2013 issue of Database Trends and Applications features an article written by Joyce Wells titled European Payroll Software Provider Expands with Revelation Software's OpenInsight for Web

With the myriad of constantly changing tax rules, dealing with payroll deductions and tax payments can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor. To get this onerous job done efficiently and cost-effectively, many businesses utilize payroll software specialists that provide tools to support their in-house staff. For Ardbrook, a Dublin, Ireland-based software provider of payroll software, Revelation Software’s OpenInsight provides the agility necessary to adjust its payroll product features to address emerging market requirements. The recent introduction of OpenInsight for Web has also enabled Ardbrook to provide its software as a service online.

Ardbrook has relied on Revelation Software to provide the backbone technology for its premium products and services for more than 20 years. While the company’s main business is payroll software, the company provides banking software as well, all targeted at the Irish market. “Our core product is payroll, but payroll - and paying employees into their bank accounts - led to us to produce a piece of banking software,” says Peter Furlong, Ardbrook’s managing director.

Using OpenInsight for its payroll solution Ardbrook developed EuroPay and it is used by organizations that require extreme flexibility in calculations, analysis and reporting. Again, using OpenInsight to develop its banking software Ardbrook developed PayCE and DEFT for debiting and crediting.

Web Presence Enabled by Revelation Software's O4W

At this point, the payroll software is purchased by companies who install it on premises, but Ardbrook realizes that in the future a web presence will be required. The company is developing a software as a service payroll product using Revelation’s O4W (OpenInsight for Web), a web development toolkit that makes it possible for OpenInsight developers with limited or no HTML, XML or JavaScript experience to develop feature-rich web pages. The product was initially built by a non-professional developer and Ardbrook’s professionals are now adding enhancements to the module using O4W APIs to make a commercial-grade application.

There will always be customers that want their data secure and locked down on their own servers, says Furlong, but Revelation’s work on O4W is providing Ardbrook with the agility to address clients’ emerging requirements. Eventually, he sees the company evolving into a situation where it has one, streamlined payroll product on the web, in addition to the on-premises solutions. “If you are an organization with simple requirements, the screens you see will be targeted towards that simplicity, whereas an organization with more complex requirements will see something hugely different. My idea is that there will be one database with say 2,000 fields, but if you only need to use 200 fields that would be all that you will see, while the other 1,800 would be blank.”

With the new payroll product on the web, instead of customers buying the software and loading it on their computers via a CD, they will pay a service charge for web access, says Furlong. “That is what we are doing with the MyESS service at the moment.”

MyESS, which stands for My Employee Self Service, was also developed by Ardbrook in O4W. “Using MyESS, you can take advantage of a self service capability that lets you calculate your payroll using EuroPay, then click on a menu option and it will automatically upload the EuroPay database onto a web server and employees can then log in with their user name and password, and print their pay slip,” says Furlong. “In addition, the end of year return called a P60, which is the balancing statement of what you have earned and what you have paid in taxes during the year is also available on line. Also, if you change your bank account details or your mobile number, you can change that data online and a message gets sent to the payroll department asking it to update your information.”

Ardbrook has started to develop a new piece of software in O4W for timesheet information which allows employees to input their hours or expenses online, which then feeds into payroll software.

Changing Regulatory Mandates Necessitate a Web Presence

More than a desire to keep current, the move to the web is becoming urgent now, due to changing regulatory requirements, says Furlong. And, as a result, O4W is becoming increasingly important to Ardbrook development.

On February 1, 2014 there is a new mandate taking effect in Europe called SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), which will affect the way Ardbrook’s banking software is used. “Our banking software allows people to make payments to or collect money from people’s bank accounts. At the moment, that is only for the Republic of Ireland and the UK, but with SEPA being implemented in February next year we are producing a new product that will enable credit payments into and debits from bank accounts in other countries such as Germany or France. As a result, what is a domestic system only at the moment is going to become a European-wide system,” Furlong explains.

To address the introduction of SEPA, DEFT (Direct Electronic Funds Transfer) is a new Ardbrook solution built on OpenInsight for customers that have additional requirements such as the need to maintain a history of payments through the system or to export information to spreadsheets and/or accounting systems.

Revelation Software Provides the Necessary Agility to Address Changing Market Needs 

Working with Revelation and its UK affiliate, Revelation Software Limited, has helped Ardbrook shape its solutions to meet changing requirements.

“Martyn Phillips of Revelation Software Limited has been terrific in conveying my needs to Revelation whenever I ask for help or advice. As a community of developers, everybody is very supportive. What I like about OpenInsight and Revelation technology overall is that I can literally pick up the phone and talk to Revelation Software CEO Mike Ruane and he will listen to me and say what I am asking for will be in the next release, or that they are not going to do it, and here is why. To me, that is a wonderful thing to be able to do,” says Furlong.  “The fact that I can influence where OpenInsight goes is important to me because it allows me to more effectively address the needs of my own customers.”