Blog Post

Why Innovation is Critical to Your Payroll Service Bureau’s Success


If pressed to choose America’s most innovative company many undoubtedly would point to Apple, Inc., known for revolutionizing the personal computer, music delivery and the cellphone – three technologies ubiquitous in our lives today. Meanwhile, if asked to recall the biggest product innovation bomb of the same era, one might quickly recall “New Coke” – Coca-Cola’s ill-advised change of its classic formula in the mid-1980s, driven by worry that the company was losing market share to rival PepsiCo. The move infuriated millions of customers who quickly cleared store shelves of original Coke, hoarding it in garages; prompted protests; and even spurred lawsuits.

The most jarring difference between these two innovators is that Coca-Cola was a century-old, multi-billion dollar company that dominated its industry before Steve Jobs founded Apple in his garage in 1976. The comparison shows that company size and experience doesn’t necessarily translate to innovation success. In fact it may hinder innovation. Data shows that small and medium-sized business are proving increasingly innovative, stealing a 2-point market share from large companies between 2009 and 2014. That may not sound like much, but it represents $18 billion in revenue.

Consider these statistics:


  • A 2016 study shows that 63 percent of customers prefer manufacturers that offer new products.
  • According to Lab42, 84% of customers say it is somewhat or very important that the company they buy from is innovative.
  • Customers are willing to pay more for innovative products. For instance, 83 percent of customers surveyed say they’d happily pay more for innovation in electronics alone.
  • PwC research found that 43% of business executives agreed that innovation is a “competitive necessity” for their organization.
  • That same PwC study also found that 93 percent of business executives believe that “organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.”


While innovation is key, it’s also difficult. Research by the Harvard Business School reveals that upward of 95 percent of new products fail. Product developers all know one key thing:  a deep understanding of the customer, along with constant feedback from customers, is critical to success. Therein lies Coca-Cola’s mistake with New Coke. The company admittedly paid more attention to its competitor than to its customer – ultimately a $30 million blunder.

How does innovation affect payroll service bureaus?  Your clients, i.e. employers and employees, are consumers themselves and seek innovation in the payroll technology they use.  Innovative tech trends affecting consumer markets, trends such as: cloud services, mobile technology, integrated 3rd party platforms, and cybersecurity, all these innovations are becoming customer expectations of their payroll service bureaus and payroll technology. Do you have answers for these innovation seeking customers?

This is precisely why Apex HCM works with the payroll and human resources industries’ top veterans and the most promising and prolific payroll software minds to develop, launch and continually update our technology and services. Further, we collaborate with the Apex Industry Leadership Council, comprised of clients who advise us in research, product development and roadmap planning. These clients, leaders of some of the 300+ payroll service bureaus that use our solutions to process payroll for tens of thousands of employers nationwide every day, propose and vote on the vast majority of our new product feature and enhancements.

Innovation can be a competitive advantage or a threat depending on your level of preparation and the payroll technology partners you choose. Find out how our peer-reviewed innovations can boost your payroll firm’s business by calling 877-750-2739 or requesting a demo online. And be sure to register for Apex Align 2018 – Innovate, Operate, Celebrate annual users’ conference September 21-22 in New Orleans.