HR professionals should know all that the cloud can do for them and their businesses
As we all know, taxi drivers are fond of conversation. One of the first things they tend to ask me is ‘What do you do?’, to which I reply that I work in HR technology, sometimes expanding by explaining that I work in the field of HR cloud computing. It is an explanation that is more often than not met with a blank stare. What, after all, does HR have to do with technology? And what on earth is ‘the cloud’?
Joachim Skura, HCM Sales Development.
Working for Oracle, I live and breathe technology, and it is easy to forget that others don’t. OK, HR professionals aren’t taxi drivers, but the fact is that for many of them technology is a sideshow to their jobs; even in the face of reports such as this from McKinsey, which lists the cloud alongside mobile computing and the automation of the knowledge economy amongst disruptive technologies with the power to ‘transform life, business, and the global economy’.
From the point of view of the average HR professional, what does all this actually mean beyond being given a fancy smartphone or tablet with some cool software? Where exactly does the cloud magic happen? Why, in short, should HR professionals care about the cloud?
While it might still leave taxi drivers a little mystified, I am confident the below explanation (which is certainly short enough to get across in a taxi ride) will help remind HR professionals why they should care deeply about the cloud:
The cloud gathers a vast wealth of project know-how in one place. The cloud pulls together hundreds of thousands of individual projects run by HR departments worldwide, providing HR professionals with instant access to intelligence on areas as diverse as recruiting, talent review and talent management. Virtually all the information HR professionals need is ready and waiting for them in the cloud, freeing them to concentrate on their core competencies so they can add the most value to the business.
The cloud is the best way to make use of big data. Having all the data in the world is of no use if it can’t be easily understood. HR professionals are not, generally speaking, data scientists. They need relevant data in the form of graphical displays that are easy to understand and extract insight from, a process that requires plenty of bandwidth. Fortunately, the cloud delivers on these needs, making big data a viable and powerful HR tool to foster data driven decision making.
The cloud allows you to draw on the knowledge of others. It is important to remember that data correlations do not always have causal relationships. Yet understanding causal relationships is vital to good HR. For example, there are some 27 separate data correlations underlying the ability to predict voluntary redundancies. This huge piece of research can’t be done by one organization alone. With the cloud you can tap into shared research of hundreds of thousands of companies and the causal correlations they have already established. These can then be plugged in to your research instead of building this knowledge up yourself.
Self-service doesn’t work outside the cloud. The concept of self-service promises to remove an administrative burden for HRs while empowering staff. But self-service will only work if employees buy into it and that means the services must be easy to use and mobile-friendly. There is really no other way of doing this cost effectively than through the cloud, which provides a mobile, secure and intuitive interface at the click of the button.
You can stop wasting time on Excel. Around half of an HR’s time is spent on Excel documents – managing and cleansing data and working on pivot tables. By allowing them to use an embedded data warehouse as a central point of data storage, the cloud frees HRs from Excel and the associated drain on their time so they can focus on wider business strategies.
The upshot of all this is that the cloud is not simply about process efficiencies; it is about changing the way we do HR. Or put more simply: it is not just that the cloud allows HRs to do things differently; it also allows HRs to do different things.
From empowering employees to take control of their work lives to ensuring management buy-in through data-led strategies, the cloud is a powerful tool through which HRs can become more strategic servants of the business and play an even more integral role in its operations.
Getting engagement right? See the views of 250 HR decision makers on Talent Management in this report.