Keeping HR from Getting Lost in the Cloud

January 9, 2013 Darcy Jacobsen

To continue our series of posts on the hot HR themes for 2013, we discuss the consolidation and centralization of HR technology as Human Resources leverages the efficiencies of the Cloud.

If Crowdsourcing and Big Data have been two of the top emerging HR themes in 2012, the third member of that trio must certainly be Cloud Computing—in particular cloud-based SaaS solutions for HR.

This emerging trend impacts HR in two significant ways:

    1. HR is streamlining its own processes to create universal HRIS solutions that standardize across national or multinational organizations.  Centralizing HR systems and data for HCM and Recognition can offer significant efficiencies and yield the sorts of Big Data I discussed in our last post.
  1. HR is often deeply involved in the adoption and management of organizational collaboration and communication tools, particularly where these solutions impact or are impacted by engagement, workflow, telecommuting and BYOD/privacy policies.

In 2013, the adoption of flexible, centralized cloud-based SaaS solutions will continue to grow in HR and enterprise applications. Many companies struggle with legacy reward or talent management systems that crop up organically in departments or divisions, or hang around long after mergers and acquisitions. These are often management-intensive, manually-tracked systems that do not yield useful data and instead drain company resources.  The move to the cloud reins in these efforts and offers:

  • Lower implementation costs
  • Easy centralized management and administration
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Free upgrades and enhancements
  • A way to “future proof” systems
  • Standardization and equity for all employees across geographies and divisions
  • Simple tracking and useful, streamlined data


In fact, recent Deloitte research shows that “84 percent of surveyed companies are either transforming or planning to transform how they handle human resources functions. Chief motivators are cost savings (85 percent) and greater effectiveness (75 percent).”  SaaS, suggests Deloitte,  is a fast and efficient way to accelerate HR transformation and capture value.

Which isn’t to say there are not concerns about HR moving into the cloud. Be sure, as you transfer more of your HR platform into the Cloud, that you have accounted for the following:

    • QoS: Quality of Service is a critical consideration when choosing SaaS solutions. Be sure your solution provider is experienced in handling your size of business and type of need. Also make sure the solution you choose is from an innovator that will keep you up to date with leading edge HR changes . Finally, consider a multi-tenant SaaS solution, which means that when one client receives a new feature, that feature is available (on an optional basis) to all clients—regardless of size.


    • Compatibility: Be wary of proprietary “one stop” solutions that claim to solve every HR need but have limited expertise in each of them. The needs of each company are different, and solutions must be both highly capable and offer compatibility with in-house solutions. Choose the right solution for each job and ensure that your SaaS solutions will work and play well together.   Meeting your needs should also be a matter of easy configuration—not an opportunity to be nickeled and dimed with expensive customization.


    • Security: Be sure the solution is secure, with a single-sign-on option.  Forrester Research has ranked  data security and privacy as the number one concern organizations have around adopting cloud computing.  According to a Verizon 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report, 86 percent of 2010 security breaches were accomplished by the use of stolen login credentials. That means a secure password enforcement and single-sign-on policy is a must-have.


    • Future-proofing: Be sure you choose a solution from a vendor that is consistently innovating. The Cloud is a great way to ensure future proofing, but you must ensure that your solution is taking full advantage of this flexibility. By observing a company’s past performance you will get a strong sense of whether that vendor’s technology will grow stale and dated, or whether it will continue to innovate and stay current with (or ahead of) rapid changes in the industry. Ensure that the solution offers frequent, voluntary changes—included without incremental cost and available to all tenants of the SaaS solution.

Cloud-based SaaS may already being playing a role in your HR platform, but if it isn’t, chances are it soon will be. Make sure you’re prepared!

More in this series of posts:

#2: Measuring & Managing Culture with Big Data

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