Businesses are switching to the cloud faster than you can say, “I hate my filing cabinet,” and for good reason. Cloud technology can significantly improve a broad range of business processes. From the back office to the front desk, cloud technology is transforming the way we work–for the better.
Take human resources. HR is seeing significantly positive results from switching to the cloud—so much so that 57 percent of companies plan to make the move within the next 18 months.
Organizations that have adopted the cloud already—which may include data and security, payroll and benefits, or performance monitoring—describe how much easier it is for HR staff to access and manage a vast amount of information. And it’s not just because the cloud frees up extra desk space.
- Better Agility
HR applications have a short shelf life. The average HR management software is around five years old, and five years makes an enormous difference when it comes to technology—which is changing at a light speed.
The pace with which technology changes means that, as companies grow and HR management systems age, HR managers continually need to upgrade existing systems or buy new ones, which is expensive, time-consuming, and downright annoying.
Cloud-based applications, on the other hand, are easily scalable, and the vendor manages the updates, so you never have to worry about upgrades again.
- Self-Service Functions
The cloud’s benefits don’t end with its flexibility. Cloud-based applications are increasingly self-service. They use what’s called a multi-tenancy framework, which means employees can gain access to information in the cloud from anywhere.
Giving employees access to their information eliminates time-consuming HR tasks, like processing requests for time off, updating employee information, opting in or out of benefits, and other responsibilities that used to require hands-on assistance.
Now, your employees can log into the system and do it on their own. What’s more, they can review their information anytime, at their convenience, not just during business hours. Being able to manage this information not only makes their lives easier, which helps boost morale, it frees up valuable time so they to focus on other things.
- No More Paperwork
HR responsibilities have always required lots of paperwork. Whether it’s employee records, compliance information, or job applications, there are always forms that need to be filed or updated.
Cloud software eliminates this. Digital records can be maintained in compliance with data security regulations. Data can be categorized and indexed, so the forms are quick to access or scan. Updating records is easy, too; electronic data capture means you don’t have to re-enter information or fill out new paperwork.
- More Efficient Use of Time
Saving trees is always a good thing, but saving time is what really attracts HR departments to the cloud. By automating processes and making information easily accessible, HR managers can make better decisions in a shorter amount of time.
Need more benefits? How about this? Cloud-based systems have streamlined the hiring process, and can be used to analyze candidates’ skills and qualifications. Performance reviews are much simpler to conduct and update in the system.
Using cloud-based systems even reduces the time spent promoting an employee. Computer giant HP, for instance, recently found that process to manage an employee’s promotion—which had previously taken about 45 minutes—takes about one minute in the cloud. HP’s help desk tickets also decreased from 1,200 to 20 tickets per day as a result.
With so much time saved, it’s no wonder companies that migrate to the cloud are reporting an increase in saved time and productivity.
- Cost Savings (And Even a Boost in Profits!)
All these benefits translate into cost savings. After all, time is money, right? Though cloud software requires an initial investment, it more than makes up for it with the heaps of time and headaches it saves. A December 2014 survey published by the audit, tax, and advisory firm KPMG, cited driving cost efficiencies as the primary use of cloud services (49 percent).
The KPMG survey results also revealed that in increasing numbers, organizations are using cloud technology to enact large-scale change, whether within individual business units or across the enterprise. These transformative uses of the cloud include better enabling a flexible and mobile workforce (42 percent) and improving alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers and business partners (37 percent).
Here’s the thing, as I have said before, to handle the cloud requires smarter aggregating and maintenance of talent data. We’re moving past that first wave and now have multiple systems for managing data, from individual performance to larger institutional and organizational trends. But we still have a lot of work to do.
Nonetheless, between the benefits to employees and your HR staff, as well as the potential financial savings, moving to the cloud should be an easy decision–and one that you must move on quickly.