The importance of payroll administration certainly has not changed. We are all anxious to get our paychecks!
The company I work for went through some major changes a few months ago, and now our payroll administration duties are sent to payroll service providers outside of the company.
So far, there have not been any problems. I don't know if it is always a good idea to outsource this type of service, but can see the benefit of it from a financial standpoint if it is cheaper for the company to outsource.