Many of us are enjoying the benefits of access to the internet and connectivity from anywhere in our daily lives. We have become accustomed to having information at our fingertips, being able to effect banking transactions from our phones easily, asking an app to renew our vehicle licences, speaking to a device to direct us on the most efficient way through the traffic, and even applying for new ID cards and passports online.

This ability and functionality is likely to increasingly impact payroll into 2018. Employees are just beginning to take for granted:

· Notifications from the bank the minute that pay has been deposited

· Knowing what is available in their bank account easily

· Being able to see payslips and tax certificates on an app, and to present them to a store asking for proof of income

· Being able to apply for leave via an app, or online

And managers are loving being able to manage leave, handle training applications, and know which of their staff are at their work stations, easily, all from the palm of their hand.

Most of us carry our phones with us everywhere – they seem to have become an extension of who we are (as well as managing to retain so much of the information that we require on a daily basis), it seems second nature to be able to do much of the humdrum people management administration from the same device. Much of this functionality is the fruit of Employee and Management Self-Service systems, of which the phone apps are an extension. These are becoming increasingly popular. It remains to be seen what additional tools can be added to these systems by software developers in 2018. The following would be useful, and are likely to be on the cards:

· Time keeping – what work are you doing now, and for which customer / production line?

· Time management – the ability to use my phone to “clock in” to my work space – after all it is with me, and knows where I am (with the additional benefit of letting my employer know where I am so that they know that I am safe, or can reroute me to the next job efficiently, if I am a mobile worker)

· Ability to submit payroll input, such as travel and commission claims, directly from the employee, through an approval process, into payroll.

· Appraisals / performance management – while ideally (at least some of) these should be conducted face to face, the nature of our work often dictates that we are not in “our” office, but that of a customer, and it isn’t practical to get together as often as these meetings should happen. Performance management should be moving to more regular meetings about development, growth and opportunity rather than annual / bi-annual meetings about my performance.

· Benefit information – integrated data regarding the policies that I pay for via my salary, e.g. medical aid, pension / provident funds etc.

· Dashboards showing trends about my own leave and work statistics, and that of my team.

· Job applications, and tracking the progress my application has made.

Having information (data) about the people working in a business (or reporting to me as a manager) at hand allows almost real-time analysis. This means that instead of wanting to know about something, and then having to research the matter, the information is immediately available. And that means that I can be much more considered about what I do with my day, and how I handle my team. I can react quickly should it appear that things are off plan, and strategise much more efficiently for the future.

2018 is likely to bring this closer.