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Microsoft Build 2021 Propels Paychex Software Development Teams to Innovate in the Cloud

June 03, 2021

As showcased at the annual Build conference, Microsoft - like Paychex - is helping businesses meet the increasing demands of customers through digital channels.

The integration of technology into every aspect of businesses, known as digital transformation, is accelerating with work-from-home initiatives brought on by the pandemic. Paychex has been committed to helping companies manage this change with the latest resources, tools, and information to keep human resources operations running uninterrupted online and in the office. Like us, Microsoft is helping businesses meet the increasing demands of customers through digital channels. Their annual conference, Microsoft Build, showcases how software development teams can build, test, deploy, and manage applications with speed and reliability. This year brought exciting new features and upgrades. I’m excited to share three areas that are enabling Paychex to meet the needs of our client’s employees wherever they work.

Cloud native

Building applications from the ground up using cloud technologies allows developers to optimize both the architecture and code for scale and performance. This not only results in applications that are easier to develop, but also software that is more reliable and delivered faster to market. At Build 2021, cloud-native development was a consistent focus across the breakout sessions.

At Paychex, we partner closely with Microsoft, utilizing their newest technologies to rapidly deliver high-quality, innovative solutions to our customers. Paychex Flex Time, our cloud-based time and attendance system, takes full advantage of Azure cloud-native technologies. Azure Application Services provide high availability, resiliency, scalability, and low latency to our Flex Time services. Flex Time was also recently enhanced utilizing Azure Service Bus to deliver notifications. Now, our clients can choose the types of notifications they want to receive, as well as the format they want to receive them.

Run apps anywhere

At Build 2021, Microsoft announced the preview capabilities of Azure’s suite of application services to run on any platform using Azure Arc. This enables App Services, Functions, Logic Apps, Event Grid, and API Management services to run against Kubernetes anywhere, including Kubernetes on Azure, on-premises, on the edge, and even on other clouds providers. Any Kubernetes cluster connected through Azure Arc is now a supported deployment target. By combining this new offering with Arc-enabled data services such as Azure SQL, developers can now build hybrid applications that run anywhere using fully managed cloud services. Paychex is continuously looking to stay informed of trends around IT infrastructure management and automation, making it easier for our development teams to remain focused on solving business problems. For example, through our strong partnership with Microsoft, we are constantly evaluating Azure features in early preview. This allows us to provide feedback to Microsoft, which in turn enables Paychex to deliver cutting-edge products and maintain simplicity for our customers at the same time.

Cosmos DB Updates

Microsoft also announced some exciting new preview capabilities for Cosmos DB at Build. First, they announced integrated cache, which will optimize database reads and reduce latency while also reducing costs. Second, they announced support of partial document updates. This allows developers to perform path-level updates to specific fields/properties in a single document, without the need to perform a full document update.

Within time and attendance at Paychex, we continually look for opportunities to enhance our customer experience with innovative technologies. We recently decided to use Azure Cosmos DB as the data store for a project which provides employees a new way to manage tasks within our Flex Time application. This will give company administrators a consolidated view of open tasks in a simple, user-friendly interface. We have chosen to use Cosmos DB to benefit from the impressive speed and throughput it provides. We’re excited to explore the newly announced features and see how they can help us continuously improve our solutions.

This year’s Build event included so many more innovations and insights that will propel the cloud to new heights. I’m excited to see where Microsoft is going and look forward to Paychex remaining on the cutting edge of cloud computing with these technologies and more.

Interested in learning more about software engineering opportunities at Paychex? Check out IT careers page.

Tim Scata is a software engineering manager for Paychex time and attendance solutions.

Tim Scata

Tim is a software engineering manager on the Paychex time and attendance leadership team. He and his team are responsible for leveraging the latest technologies to continuously enhance the customer experience within Paychex’s robust suite of time and attendance solutions. In this role, Tim oversees agile software development teams that deliver high-quality, timely features to end users. Tim earned both a bachelor of science degree in information technology and a master of business administration degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.