November 8, 2016 | Written by: John Angele
Categorized: Industry Trends
For years, “the cloud” had a bad rep. No one wanted to be accused of having their head in the cloud, because it meant you were aloof or paid too much attention to your own delusional ideas.
But today, the people and businesses whose heads are in the cloud are those who aren’t in the cloud. That’s right: Times have changed and now “the cloud” has a whole new meaning. These days, being in the cloud basically means you’re storing information on the Internet, instead of on a single hard drive or server. Companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon already store information — your information — in the cloud. And many other enterprise-level businesses use it to keep employees connected and productive.
Which brings us to an important question: Should your finance and human resources system be in the cloud? The simple answer is yes. Here’s why.
Looking Beyond the Typical Benefits
By now, you’ve probably heard about the marquee benefits of cloud-based services: cost savings, greater flexibility and easier access to information. For example, according to Computer Economics, moving as many applications as possible away from an on-premise infrastructure can save your organization up to 20 percent in overall IT spending.
To me, though, the advantages come down to five factors.
1. Customizable Standardization
Many companies have on-premise legacy systems that differ from department to department, office to office, or even country to country. When different areas of an organization are using different systems and solutions to manage employee-related functions, it can be a challenge to consolidate information to drive holistic business decisions.
With a cloud-based system, everyone is on the same page. The system gives you an amazing backbone, which includes built-in processes based on best practices that provide standardization across your organization. But it still gives you the flexibility to adjust to local or regional requirements that may be out of the norm. For example, with Workday, you can configure a typical, unified hire-to-retire process with the comfort of knowing that if you hire someone in, say, Germany, that particular hire can and will get entered into the Works Council.
2. Easily Manage Compliance and Risk
Aberdeen Group found that businesses that used cloud-based systems were able to resolve issues nearly four times faster than businesses that don’t. When you consider your company’s ability to respond — whether it’s to respond to a just-in-time business issue, a compliance issue or an audit — having a system that isn’t tied to your office and can support that kind of activity is key. A cloud-based system will be SaaS, and that makes a really big difference for a lot of organizations.
A cloud-based system takes the challenge of informational readiness, either diminishing it or taking it off the table completely, giving you the comfort that information that’s critical to your business is always accessible and being maintained through your cloud services vendor.
3. Increased Collaboration
Greater employee engagement is something that is absolutely a benefit of cloud-based solutions. In a survey done by Frost & Sullivan, it was discovered that companies that invest in collaboration technology had a 400% return on investment. Basically what that means is, when you look at empowering your employees through things like mobile capabilities or other collaboration mechanisms, a cloud-based system allows them to continue to do their job and stay engaged and flexible in the way they interact with each other. It makes a really big difference.
4. Greater Scalability
If your business is on the verge of a merger or acquisition, a cloud-based system like Workday can help bring both companies together in a fraction of the time — not the months, or even years, it typically takes to bring data and records from one system into another. As your business grows, and groups or departments expand or are reconfigured, the transition can be much faster. Project managers in the combined organizations can readily and rapidly access cloud-based data from Workday that is unified, and use it to better manage the business moving forward.
5. Easier Buy-In from the C-Suite
These days, organizations that are adept at leveraging the latest technology have a legitimate competitive advantage, and the standard is quickly becoming cloud-based services. Getting buy-in from the CFO, CIO, CHRO and other executives is critical to adopting these new technologies and services — especially when it comes to persuading others to come around.
For starters, no executive wants the company to be bogged down, financially or otherwise, by maintenance of in-house IT systems. Thankfully, cloud-based systems are cheaper than on-premise systems — partly because upgrades and maintenance is rolled out to all users simultaneously, not built on-site — and they free up workers in HR and other departments to think and act strategically, contributing more to the business and the bottom line. All things a C-level executive pays attention to, and thus, will be more likely to support.
What it comes down to is there’s really no good reason not to be in the cloud right now. Tools like Workday can keep your business ahead of the game, while your competitors lag behind, their heads looking up to the sky.
What questions do you have about cloud-based services? Let us know in the comments section below and we may answer them in a future blog post!