The cloud delivers value from anywhere using any device.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of cloud computing is its ability to provide workers with anytime, any-device access to software and information. Individuals and teams that are empowered in this way can contribute more—smarter, faster, and better. New tools made possible by the cloud are available for all facets of HR. Chatbots and applicant-tracking systems aid the recruiting and interviewing process; other tools apply to onboarding, talent management, ongoing learning and development, real-time performance management, employee experience and engagement, behavioral change and culture, and exits and terminations. And many are applications available on mobile devices via the cloud.

Data analytics provide opportunities for HR to collaborate with finance and operations to improve decision-making in all areas involving a company’s workforce. That can include matching employee learning and development to changing job skill requirements, understanding which recruiting channels are generating the best candidates, identifying high-potential employees, generating recruiting profiles based on data from high-performing current employees, supporting succession planning, improving hiring practices, reducing attrition, and pinpointing areas to save on labor costs.

More-detailed data inevitably leads to better decisions, says Yazad Dalal, head of strategy, EMEA for Oracle HCM Cloud. According to Dalal, using the IoT and wearable devices to measure and drive productivity is becoming a key focus for companies—integrating personal walking steps trackers with an HR platform to promote employee wellness, for example.

“As we focus on measuring employee and team performance at a more detailed level, we capture more data,” Dalal says. “The more data we have, the more rigorously we can apply analytics and search for patterns. With the right technology, we can use that data to see the future—through predictive analytics. If we can see the future, we can make smarter, more-informed decisions.”

Cloud-based solutions typically offer continually updated, leading-edge analysis tools, while on-premises systems often lag behind.