Small Business: HR's Journey To The Cloud

Ursula Ringham

Technology disruption is sweeping the small business community. And HR, which in the past took a back seat to the core profit centers of a business, is lagging behind the curve once again.

Right? Not so much. As it turns out, HR is a leading driver in technological change.

During the Super Bowl, SAP hosted a live-streaming virtual event for viewers worldwide called #SB50Disrupt. For five days straight, there were hourly episodes featuring thought leaders and tech experts, such as VP of itelligence Kellie Fitzpatrick. Here are the key takeaways from her conversation during #SB50Disrupt on the topic of HR moving to the cloud.

The state of small businesses and the cloud

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology Survey revealed today’s HR leaders are at the forefront of cloud adoption – 70% of small and midmarket businesses are early cloud users. “The cloud is where HR is right now,” Fitzpatrick noted. She explained that HR is tasked with finding the best employees and creating a positive culture that improves retention, and the cloud makes it possible.

#SB50Disrupt event co-hosts Brian Fanzo, chief social media officer at MyChannel, Inc. and Daniel Newman, CEO of V3B and president of BroadSuite, asked what the biggest changes are in HR today. Fitzpatrick said the downturn in the economy forced HR to improve employee attraction and engagement methods. With cloud computing, social media, and mobile devices, they now have the technology to implement and effect change.

The driving forces changing HR

Millennial workers are helping drive this digital transformation in HR. According to Fanzo, millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce by the year 2020. Because they grew up with technology, they have different expectations than older workers. They are pushing HR to incorporate technological tools that give them feedback and data in real time.

Why the cloud?

The cloud frees up HR executives to focus on company culture. They are picking the solutions that work best for employee engagement, individual empowerment, and talent management. Fitzpatrick feels “the best way to attract top people is to have people inside and outside the company saying positive things about the culture.” Today’s top talent wants to work in a place where they feel engaged, their ideas are heard, and they can effect positive change.

Cloud technology removes the historical silo around the HR department, which creates a collaborative environment. It gives HR the tools to help employees who need more challenging work, match talent to the right job, establish and grow mentor relationships, assist with easy-to-use self-help resources, and more. Fanzo’s co-host Newman said, “The future is that everyone in the company is part of human resources. It can’t be siloed off in a corner.” HR is no longer in the back seat – it is driving the technology revolution in small business.

What this means for business

The HR department in a small or midsize business is tasked with everything from finding top talent to implementing new technology company-wide. Cloud technology is giving HR the right tools to make these tasks possible, as well as open up new opportunities for their companies.

Building a successful company is hard work. SAP’s affordable solutions for small and midsize companies are designed to make it easier. Easy to install and use, SAP SME solutions help you automate and integrate your business processes to give real-time actionable insights. So you can make decisions on the spot. Find out how Run Simple can work for you. Visit sap.com/sme.


About Ursula Ringham

Ursula Ringham isthe Director of Digital Marketing at SAP. She manages social media and digital marketing strategy for the small and midsize business community. She was recently recognized as one of 15 Women Who Rock Social Media at Top Tech Companies. Prior to SAP, Ursula worked at Adobe and Apple in their Developer Relations organizations. She managed strategic accounts, developer programs, edited a technical journal, managed content for an entire website, and wrote and taught course curriculum. In her spare time, Ursula writes thriller novels about the insidious side of Silicon Valley.