Pay-as-you-go pricing moves into wages software

Payroll software specialist Dynamique Systems Inc (DSI), is tacking a new kind of price tag on the Windows-based successor to its elderly QED system.

Prodigy, the new package being distributed in Australia by Neller Software, is based on a usage credits scheme which in essence is pay-as-you-go pricing.

The principle is meant to give small to medium enterprises low-cost access to an industrial-strength payroll management system.

It works like this: whether a company has two employees or 20,000 it pays the same licence fee of $995 to mount Prodigy on a server. Then it buys usage credits to meet a small charge levied every time the software is used to process an employee's pay packet.

The scheme lowers entry costs and is more flexible than traditional software licensing fees based on annual or lifetime periods.

A company can decide how many months worth of credits it wants to buy. The longer the period, the lower the price charged for each usage credit unit.

The maximum discount cuts in at around 24 months and shaves about one-third off the unit list price of one to two dollars. The usage credits include annual upgrades but not support.

According to Neller Software MD Andy Brown, the pricing scheme is a first for the payroll market in Australia and its appeal may spread into other areas.

DSI, is a leading South African software company in the middle of a drive to build its global presence, expects 80 to 90 per cent of Australian sites using its DOS-based QED package to upgrade to Prodigy over the next two years. It also expects the network and Y2K ready Prodigy to lure customers from Australian rivals such as Micropay.

Prodigy's appeal lies in its functionality and flexibility, according to DSI chief executive Rob Nowicki.

It allows employers to pay wages directly into staff bank accounts using electronic funds transfer. It comes with a personnel management system for storing training, certificates and next of kin information. And it provides quick creation and processing of multiple payrolls by adopting an employee-centric approach, he said.

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