When it comes to human capital management (HCM) processes, most human resource professionals understand the merits of moving to the cloud. After all, in today’s workplace, it’s all about using technology to make things simpler for businesses’ first customers: their employees.
More than half of all HCM purchases by organizations are now cloud-based. That said, some organizations are slower to move HCM into the cloud. Is it price? Lack of clarity on the business benefits?
Four experts talked about this topic during the recent SAP Radio broadcast, “HR On-Premise – Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” sharing insights on why it’s time for these companies to move faster.
Giving employees a consumer-like experience
Employees want to access HR information and services from anywhere, at any time. According to David Ludlow, group vice president of solution management, who focuses on HCM solutions for SAP SuccessFactors, “there’s an increasing demand from employees to have business systems behave like the consumer systems they use over the weekend. So when they come into work on Monday morning they don’t take 10 steps back in technology hubs.”
It’s a challenge for businesses everywhere, but moving HCM services to the cloud gives employees that accessibility they crave.
That doesn’t mean employees want access only on their mobile devices, though. With five generations of employees currently in the workforce, it’s important for businesses to understand employees might have preferences on how they can engage with the interface.
Eric Ernst, executive director at America’s IT Advisory and HCM leader of digital transformation and cloud at EY, discovered some employees still want to access information from their laptops, while others only want mobile access through an app. “These different multi-channel accesses are absolutely enabled by the tools and technologies that are out there today, and allow [businesses] to kind of meet and interact with and transact and engage…with your employees…in a way that’s most meaningful to them,” said Ernst.
A meaningful experience is often synonymous with speed, and that appeals to businesses and their workforces alike, Ludlow added. “With the cloud…we deliver changes every three months. So the customer gets the best of everything we have to offer very quickly and they can, in turn, roll that out to the employees to meet some of those changing expectations.”
Consider the user experience of mobile apps. They’re constantly being improved and updates are automatically pushed out to users regularly. “That’s the kind of expectations that employees have today. ‘I want it instantaneous; I don’t want a new capability that’s based on the user interface that was designed two or five years ago,’” he said.
Connecting to the company’s long-term strategy
When making business decisions, money talks when it comes to the bottom line, but leaders also need a clear explanation as to how the cloud-based HCM processes will help move their strategy forward. According to Todd Asevedo, HCM strategist for SAP SuccessFactors for Core HR for the Total Workforce, chief HR officers are ready to have conversations about the business impact of moving HCM to the cloud, but they’re unsure how to align the practice with longer-term company strategies.
“Where they struggle in my daily conversations with them is connecting it to the initiatives that are from the C-level, the organization’s initiatives for any given year or period of planning. It’s those initiatives that they’re struggling to connect with the outcomes that come from moving or transforming to the cloud,” he said.
Sheila McGovern, a partner in the HCM consulting practice of IBM Global Business Services, agreed, indicating that the technology itself can help the business be more agile in dynamic market conditions. With so many companies looking to change strategies, including expanding business to new regions, leaders need to hear how moving to the cloud can help them achieve those goals. Getting clearer insights on their workforce is key in that equation. That’s where HR professionals can step in and make a recommendation. “You can make better decisions, you see where the gaps are, what you have to do to enable this new business line or new geography,” said McGovern.
The gaps that cloud technology can address aren’t just limited to traditional business investment decisions. In fact, the social data gleaned from HCM cloud processes can mitigate common issues businesses are seeing with their employees, such as pay equity. Asevedo spoke about how businesses can use this social data to ensure managers aren’t making assumptions on things that would impact their employees. “If I’m made aware that the decision I’m about to make puts a certain group out of balance with another group, I’m less likely to make a decision because I become aware of the inequity,” explained Asevedo on the concept he calls “business without bias.”
In moving to the cloud, HR professionals can also use mobile technology to become more strategic to the business. As “the consumerization of those transactions and processes continues to evolve and employees continue to do those transactions with their mobile devices, less and less easy work or tactical work will be attributed to HR. And HR can really go out and brand itself as that strategic driver that it always desires to be,” said Asevedo. Instead of focusing on transactional or administrative HR work, these professionals can focus on what’s really important: finding and retaining the talent who will push the company’s objectives forward.
Listen to the entire “HR On-Premise – Should I Stay or Should I Go? Game Changers Radio broadcast, hosted by Bonnie D. Graham.