It can feel like hype, all those industry-wide calls to migrate to the cloud and to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model of delivery. But, really, it isn’t hype at all—especially when the move is from an on-premise system heavily dependent on data interfaces and platform integration to a clean, single application based in the cloud. The reasons to make a switch are many for your human capital management technology, but if I had to choose just three, they’d be these:
- The long-term costs are far more predictable. Gone is the need to request additional budget from the CFO every time your legacy, on-premise system needs an upgrade. That’s because the technical resources your HR department needs in order to carry out an upgrade are provided by the vendor. Cloud-based HCM technology minimizes or eliminates the need for supporting on-premise infrastructure.
- Inline upgrades make life easier. You, the user, have the control. This is big. With on-premise systems, you make do with an upgrade as the vendor defines it. And the logistical hassle of upgrades to on-premise systems compels many users to instead do without the upgrade altogether. But with SaaS, upgrades are inline: You receive the software in a test environment, where you can play with new features—learn how to use them. Plus, new features typically arrive disabled. This means full integration testing is unnecessary, which streamlines implementation. Unless the new release contains an all-encompassing change (far less frequent), worry over change management is virtualy eliminated. You control the sequence and timing of upgrades. Your department gets to decide which features to use and ignore.
- It’s a far more modern architecture. The architecture of SaaS and the cloud is superior to on-premise systems’, period. But buyers who get locked into a contract with a vendor whose cloud-based, SaaS-delivered HCM technology is overly integrated will continue to experience many of the problems associated with the typical over-integration of on-premise systems. I’ve talked about this here, here and here. Integration is integration no matter where it exists—whether it’s in your data center or in the cloud.
All of this deployment stuff matters very little compared to the bigger issue: whether or not a new HCM platform satisfies your business requirements. In this generation of HCM technology, it’s a single application leveraging SaaS in the cloud that will get you there. But the act itself of getting there has challenges, too—a topic I’ll tackle in future posts.