2012 is here and as organizations head into the first quarter full steam ahead one trend that we don’t expect to see slow down is the movement of HR processes, data and functions to “the cloud.” Software as a Service or SaaS providers have become more popular over the last decade with rapid adoption taking place over the past several years via large-scale HR transformations. Still there are still some who may not recognize the benefits of cloud based solutions or have some apprehension about changing from the systems that have worked well for their HR organizations the past 30+ years. Learning management systems, applicant tracking, performance management, employee engagement and everything in between now have a SaaS option. Here are some things for leaders and decision makers to consider if you are a still scared to get “SaaS-y” in 2012.
Ease of Deployment
Launching a cloud based solution for your organization is much easier today than the enterprise based system deployments of yesteryear. No longer do you have to load software to individual machines. Web access is the starting point to enabling these solutions for your organization. Beyond that, there are some customization options that will vary from tool to tool and provider to provider that need to be decided before you can launch the product. Most vendors will provide a project or account manager to help lead you through the transition. Solutions often integrate with legacy systems or there are options for moving your data completely from the legacy system.
New Features, Faster
Since the applications are housed by the SaaS providers you will find that cloud based options open the door for your organization to benefit from enhancements and new features to the product in rapid time. As mentioned under the first benefit, there is no need for reinstalling on individual machines. SaaS providers simply come up with short term and long term enhancements, rolling them out when it is most seamless to clients and providing release notes and/or training as necessary. When you access the tool these positive changes appear following a new release.
Integrates Well with New Technology/Trends
Cloud based solutions are more readily paired with new trends and technology including social media and mobile devices. Take for example an applicant tracking system that can sync with Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter for posting jobs or a learning management system that can push content out to an employee’s mobile device. Legacy systems are not equipped to seamlessly work with the evolving ways in which job seekers, employees and business professionals interact and communicate.
But is SaaS Secure?
One thing that we often forget is that much of our own personal data, that we hope is secured, is also in the cloud. From online banking and services like PayPal to social media sites, where we don’t think twice about putting in our personal information for storage in a profile. The security of many SaaS vendors is strong but these companies could do a better job at communicating just how much they are doing to keep client data safe. As vendors move towards a higher level of security certification human resources leaders should seek to clearly understand what is being done to protect their information.
Cloud based solutions are certainly not going anywhere and we can see by some of the mergers and acquisitions, such as SAP’s recent purchase of SuccessFactors, that the power of SaaS is recognized by even the most longstanding organizations in the business of HR technology.
You can hear more about how the cloud is evolving by attending the Enterprise Learning! Summit March 20-21, 2011. You can attend in person at the Hilton in Alexandria, VA or virtually from your own desk! Our speakers and panelists will appear in sessions including “Thriving in a Net-Work Era,” “Learning Technology CEO’s Power Panel,” and “Best Practices of the Learning! 100.”