A Beginner’s Guide to Setting up HR Software in the Cloud

The following post is a guest contribution from Cristopher Burge. He is a full-time writer, passionate about technology and business-related articles. He focuses on everything that involves cloud computing, in one way or another. Follow him on Twitter.

HR Software

The emergence of cloud computing has changed the way organizations and people buy and use IT services.

Cloud-based HR software is technologically focused, but the impact it has on the business and the people using it is profound. While some companies have not integrated with the cloud due to fear of the unknown and the urge to protect their investments, they are at risk of missing out on the innovations the cloud brings to tphe HR department.

Cloud computing is the simplest way a company can take the advantage of technologies without having to spend money on buying expensive computer parts, an IT specialist, and on-site software.

The problem most firms often run into is the integration of cloud computing into their already existing structure, but this process shouldn’t be a daunting one because it is a change in the way IT services are utilized, requiring a new but better way of doing things and just a little cultural change towards a better result.

This article points out how cloud services provide high value with low risk, as a solution for the HR department of an organization, enabling departments to transform the way things are done — from screening to recruitment and termination. It highlights the importance of moving the HR system to the cloud and the method through which any HR challenges can be overcome via cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

Computing in the cloud is the integration of hardware and software to offer a service over a network.

A familiar example of a provider of cloud computing is Gmail. Another is Google Drive, with its Sheets and Documents features baked into a file storage system.

Google Drive

Cloud computing provides users with the access to files and the use of applications from any device that has access to the internet.

What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing to the HR Department?

Cloud has already lived up to its expectations in companies that have moved to cloud computing: it empowers the HR department with cutting-edge software and increases the productivity of employees.

However, the proper understanding of the benefits it brings should be looked into together with some of the also inherent risk that comes with the change. Communication between vendors and companies has been going through the hype, fears and hope to discover the actual value the computing in the cloud can bring.

cloudcomputing

Access to Innovation is Faster

Unlike physical software, the cloud gives companies the liberty of providing software release updates to HR section and employees in the company automatically, on a more regular basis over the year.

In practical terms, this means you don’t have to go out and get a CD-ROM because the update is automatically delivered over the internet.

Cheaper Processing Power

Instead of running software on your server, you run it on the software company’s server and access the information through the internet. This means you don’t use nearly as much on-site processing power.

The use of the cloud to harness extra processing ability saves a company thousands of dollars of up-front investment, thus eliminating the inevitability of making sacrifices when it comes to the quality of service.

User-Friendly Experience 

On-site HR software (not cloud-based) is usually much older than its cloud successors, so has usability issues.

Cloud HR software has thankfully changed the way things are done. User experience isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a demand and a differentiator between competing companies.

Compare what you’ve seen running on-site in the HR department with this screenshot from Allay.io:

Allay

Easy Access to the Company’s Files

Cloud computing makes access to files much easier as opposed to on-site storage because you have the access to all your files anywhere, provided you are connected to a network.

It works like this: vendors provide you with access to these files by assigning you a username and a password, which can be used to access the files. Having access to files anywhere isn’t as insecure as it might first seem. Cloud HR software companies are zealous about protecting their information, and we’ve all seen what happens in the past when companies slip up.

Why are Companies Integrating Cloud into their Business?

With the many benefits that the cloud brings to business, it is important to see why businesses have opted to integrate cloud into their company’s operations.

Over the years, computing in the cloud has witnessed fast growth as companies across the private and public sectors continue the search for a way of reducing IT cost, while also improving flexibility and access. There has been a 26% compound annual increase in the rate of cloud computing usage for the past decade.

cloud-computing-trends-2016-cloud-usage

The benefits of cloud computing are evident in various functional areas of a company, but the impact it has on HR is so great that it cannot be compared to the impact it has on other sections of the firm.

Core HR areas like time sheets, attendance, system records, and benefits are positively transformed by the switch to cloud computing. The time that it took for the customization of the on-site software has slowed things down, but cloud computing can help you catch up.

How to Bring Cloud Computing to Your HR Department

To successful introduce cloud software to your HR department, you need to make a slow transition from what you’re using at the minute.

A common way to do this is to test different solutions in small teams before pushing them company-wide.

Here are a couple of guides on overcoming friction when introducing new software to your team:

The next thing is deciding on a provider. Before you choose a cloud provider, do a thorough research to ensure they are credible with a good track record of service delivery.

Make sure there is a favorable exit plan so you are not tied up into the system once you decide staying is no good. The security of the provider should be noted also, in order to ensure that your data is protected, with a high level of identity management capacity.

Cloud Adoption

Making the Switchover: Strategies to Adopt

The benefits of integrating cloud to HR are tempting, but companies employ different routes towards cloud implementation. Basically, there are three strategies which can be adopted when integrating cloud to the HR department.

The Tactical Approach

When the decision to move  the HR department to the cloud has been made, the right approach to use is as important as the decision making. The tactical approach is used to test the value and effectiveness of cloud services. This approach is adopted by the moving of lower risk applications to the cloud to test its effectiveness, with the assurance of the safety of your sensitive data, since that part of data is still remaining in your old onsite system.

This approach is adopted by the moving of lower risk applications to the cloud to test its effectiveness, with the assurance of the safety of your sensitive data since that part of data is still remaining in your old onsite system.

The importance of this strategy is that it brings more functionality on board on a quicker basis, but also in a way which compliments the existing onsite HR platform.

The ‘Implementation-by-Parts’ Approach

This strategy is often employed by public organizations. In this approach, the cloud integration of HR department is done on an incremental basis rather than all at once. This method is good for specific business problems like the retention of talent. This can also be a good solution to aging hardware or software, where you take the opportunity of moving to the cloud instead of spending huge money on upgrades.

So, instead of paying the upgrade cost on one old software service, test a cloud solution in small groups first.

Part implementation is good if you are operating a shared service; when a business process is analyzed and assessed properly, you will avoid the danger of merging more HR departments into a larger unit, and instead deliver newer capabilities together with tools that will improve the efficiency of operation for all users involved.

The ‘All at Once’ Approach

This approach requires the full company commitment and appetite for transformation, together with the careful planning of change in management.

This method eliminates future integration problems because you are moving the company completely and all at once to the cloud. This strategy might be a fund saver when looking at the long term, but the issue of funding it at the current moment may be a strain for some of the smaller public organizations. Medium sized businesses (and up) shouldn’t find it a problem, financially speaking.

Have you made the switchover from onsite to cloud HR software? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your experience.

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Benjamin Brandall

Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, and runs Secret Cave on the side. Find him on Twitter here.


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