For many, the move from on-premises software solutions to cloud computing is a major hurdle that few HR departments are willing to face. Many simply don’t have time to deal with cloud transformation. However, a well thought-out HR cloud strategy is essential if the cloud journey should be successful.
What’s cloud computing?
Simply put, with cloud computing, you rent your IT infrastructure instead of buying it. Instead of investing significantly in databases, software and hardware, HR departments are opting to access computing power via the Internet or the cloud and pay for it according to usage. These cloud services include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and business intelligence, among others.
Benefits of cloud computing
Many HR departments are not aware of the benefits of cloud computing. Some of the benefits are aimed precisely at the pain points of HR departments and make things much easier in many areas compared to in-house HR software.
- No upfront investment or costs for server hardware
- Personnel costs for IT specialists are eliminated
- Savings in transaction costs such as internal coordination, agreements, planning, etc.
- Reduction of operating costs
- Savings in process costs such as importing software updates or maintenance
- Cost reduction through process acceleration
- Higher security level in modern data centers
- Better protection against hacker attacks
- Patches for security at regular time intervals
- Security hotfixes
- Higher uptime/reliability
- Less downtime
Benefits for the HR department
- Device-, time- and location-independent access to HR applications
- Higher working speed of the HR software
- Increased productivity
- Focus on strategic tasks
- Increased organizational flexibility
Benefits for the IT department
- Device-, time- and location-independent access to locally distributed IT resources
- Reduced IT administration effort
- Drastic reduction of disturbances
- Timely scalability of IT services
- Fast implementation of new applications
- Opportunity to develop, innovate and support business IT solutions.
- Rapid provisioning of computing resources
- Counteracting the shortage of IT specialists by saving personnel resources
- Increasing data security through cloud computing
- Automatic software updates
- Disaster recovery
What makes a successful cloud strategy?
Every HR department needs an HR cloud strategy, regardless of where they are in their cloud journey. A true cloud strategy is business-driven, focused on the what and why questions, and aligned with business goals.
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Define clear objectives
HR should start by setting goals and documenting all systems, technologies and processes currently in use. In addition, unfulfilled requirements caused by the in-house managed software should be identified. The current state of the IT infrastructure within the HR department is then evaluated. It is common to evaluate IT in terms of its “readiness” to adopt new technologies. A sort of scorecard helps determine what is currently in place within HR and whether that is sufficient to introduce something new. Furthermore, cloud delivery model and type of cloud service should be part of the cloud strategy. Lastly, it is a matter of defining responsible parties within the HR department, but also within IT and at management level.
Create roadmap and engage stakeholders
A cloud roadmap provides IT executives and the management level with valuable insights that are important for collaboration and implementation. The roadmap provides an overview of the most important phases and milestones of the cloud transformation, and at the same time all stakeholders learn more about possible measures to align and implement the goals. In addition, the next steps for further development, optimization and scaling of the cloud strategy are made transparent. This facilitates planning within the IT department and at the same time offers the management level perspectives for supporting the company-wide expansion of the cloud transformation.
Gartner estimates that less than one-third of enterprises have a documented cloud strategy. Yet cloud computing represents one of the most valuable innovations in current IT and business strategies. However, many HR departments continue to misunderstand and thus underutilize the transformation.² HR professionals should familiarize themselves with the benefits of cloud computing, learn about cloud security, and understand what is required for a successful cloud implementation.