A cloud-enabled HR team is a game-changer.

HR’s role in supporting career development, optimal employee experiences, productive workplace cultures, training and development, and individual and team performance is strengthened by advantages that only the cloud offers. Data analytics, consolidated data sets, and the ability to correlate performance data with business objectives and long-term goals all require the support of the cloud. So does the ability to swiftly adopt new consumer technologies (such as click-to-order, voice commands, and online data- and document-sharing) as they arise. A cloud-enabled HR team can provide workers with real-time feedback, and it can consolidate and act on feedback from workers regarding their jobs, the work environment, or even business goals in ways that teams relying on on-premises HR systems can’t.

“Where you’re going to see more focus is in some of these employee experience and engagement tools and analytics,” she says. “It’s one thing to have those analytics, but it’s another thing to figure out what to do with them.”

Real-time and predictive analytics will play a larger role in companies’ decision-making, Dalal says. As the need to measure and improve the employee experience increases, more real-time data will be required.

HR leaders will have to shift their focus from descriptive data (or looking to the past) to predictive and prescriptive data (or looking to the future) and what should be done to control the future events suggested by the data. Analytics technology will help HR quickly examine huge volumes of data to identify trends and patterns in workforce behavior and performance. Emphasizing data-based decision-making will mean that the data will have to be shared, trusted, reliable, and delivered through integrated systems (such as cloud-based systems), and not siloed.