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Three more ways HR in the cloud makes sense for business today

Charles Cagle Profile picture for user Charles Cagle January 11, 2016
When evaluating the benefits of HR in the cloud, go beyond the core basics to consider the broader business impact, recommends Infor’s Charles Cagle

Businessman behind touch interface cloud people network © maxsim -
Much of the discussion around cloud computing in the C-suite hones in on cost savings, flexibility, and agility for the business. For HR, the true value of cloud computing goes even further. Putting HR in the cloud can help facilitate organizational transformation by simplifying day-to-day processes, increasing workforce insight and performance, and creating greater strategic advantage.

Despite a cautious lag from some, there is no denying that the cloud is now accepted as a mainstream delivery platform. PwC says (PDF) that the shift from on-premise to cloud-based HCM solutions is “a significant trend that cannot be ignored.” The majority of the business world has moved past a perception of cloud as a novelty to be used delicately for small scale workloads. Now, cloud computing is being used by 65% of enterprises for complex workloads. Additionally, it is expected that end-user spending on cloud services could quickly reach $180 billion.

HR is joining the transition, and here are three concepts that go beyond the oft-heard messages of cost savings, flexibility, and agility that have been catalysts to drive more HR leaders to shift processes to the cloud.

1. Better engagement

One of the biggest advantages an organization can have is a dialed-in workforce that is fully immersed in both its short-term and long-term goals. With a challenging and competitive global marketplace, profitability and growth require engaged talent. Yet, only 30% of the working population is fully engaged. In the United States alone, the lack of employee engagement is calculated to cost the nation between $450 billion and $550 billion per year.

Now, as consumer technology influences HR technology, businesses can broadly apply innovative tools to the entire workforce so the enterprise is connected in an integrated and relevant way. Employee-facing social and mobile tools that mirror what people use in their personal lives can make information and data accessible 24x7, leading to greater job satisfaction and higher levels of engagement.

2. Deeper insight

Technological advancements are creating enormous amounts of digitally collected information (popularly known as Big Data), and that is pressuring HR to keep up with the speed of change. One survey showed that just 14% of HR departments are currently using data analytics. That compares to 77% of operations organizations, 58% of sales organizations, and 56% of marketing organizations.

Despite getting off to a slow start, HR can become a powerful force for change by showcasing the impact valid talent data can have on people, operations, and the bottom line. More and more companies are crunching the data points to arrive at a hiring recommendation based on fit to the job. New talent management tools can help HR tell its story to the C-suite by providing a disciplined approach for connecting the dots between employee data and business results, to show what happens when people strategy meets business strategy — even being a catalyst to transform the company’s culture for the better.

3. Reduced cycle time to new capabilities

Are you the proud owner of a ten-year-old core HR system that runs on-premise and requires a team of IT experts to keep it functioning? The road to the cloud is jammed with companies that are tired of being “stuck” in the rut of an entrenched system of record – lumbered with an HRIS that must be physically upgraded and meticulously maintained onsite. Such systems are so hard to replace that companies choose to suffer with them much longer than they would like to. But relief is here: cloud systems offer improved core HR functionality, faster implementation when replacing even the most embedded programs, and instant, automatic upgrades for the latest bells and whistles without the need for an extensive IT project.

Moving to the cloud: countless opportunities for HR

Change is undoubtedly a double-edged sword for businesses – while it can offer unprecedented opportunity to drive topline revenue and improve efficiency, it can also pose big challenges for core operations and infrastructure. Use change as an opportunity to improve policies, processes, and systems rather than being imprisoned by your current infrastructure. Increasingly, cloud technology is being seen as an essential tool for turning change from a threat into an opportunity.

Why does HR in the cloud make sense? Cloud is a business reality that HR must accept to help drive competitive advantage, and with it comes great opportunity to push the organization forward through times of chaotic change. HR’s acceptance of new technology can help the organization avoid a delay in moving to the cloud, and that reduces substantial risk. That’s why cloud-based systems are now accepted by nearly 80% of organizations.

Image credit - Businessman behind touch interface of cloud people network © maxsim - 

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