Article
15 Oct 2021

How Cloud HR Software can help your Business Thrive

A man sitting in a relaxed manner and looking at his laptop.

How we use digital technology constantly changes to meet the needs of the workplace, as well as the convenience and efficiency that it can offer workers and their employers. The bottom line always matters, so making work processes both easier and more cost-effective is always going to be a major motivation.

One of the key technologies that has allowed for much more efficient and effective workforces, as of late, has been that of Cloud software. While many are most familiar with the Cloud as a means of storage, you can use it to access all kinds of work tools as well.

Many of the processes handled traditionally by on-premises software are being taken over by the Cloud, and this includes those processes that make up the human resources system of your business. Here, we’re going to look at everything you need to know about Cloud HR software and just how it can help your business.

What is HR Cloud Software?

Typically, businesses may use HR software, also known as an HCM (human capital management) or HRIS (human resources information system) to meet all of their human resources and talent management needs. This software was, traditionally, hosted on a local server that is kept internally on business premises.

To put it simply, HR Cloud Software allows HR professionals to streamline and complete all of your HR processes through software that is not stored locally on a hard drive or any physical device you own but, rather, through the internet. You access the software directly through a browser or through an app that connects you to all of the HR functions that you need, all hosted on another server.

The data that you save when working on these HR solutions are not saved locally, either, but are typically held in a Cloud server that is accessed entirely through the HR Cloud Software. However, many do offer you the option to download data from it at will.

Some of the tasks that HR Cloud Software allows you to handle online include things like managing employee data, payroll processing, benefits administration,  managing and tracking absences, time tracking, shift planning, recruitment, as well as a performance management system and goal setting. There is a wide range of HCM(human capital management) processes that can be moved directly to the Cloud and are especially user-friendly.

Basically, a cloud HR management system allows you to take all of the core HR needs and processes that you would have your HR departments do on-premises and allows them to do it online, accessing the software through specific login details tied to your account and all of your data.

Pros and Cons of HR Cloud Software

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what, exactly, HR Cloud Software is, and the kind of tools that it allows you to access through the internet. However, you may be wondering what, exactly, the benefits of this are.

Anyone running a business or managing a team wants to make sure that if they invest in new technologies, they’re going to be getting something out of it. As such, here we’re going to look at the advantages that a Cloud HR solution has to offer, as well as some drawbacks you might want to consider.

Functionality

The nature of HR Cloud Software makes it much more functional than a standard HR system for a variety of reasons. It allows your team to access a whole suite of different human resources tools, including payroll, absence management, shift planning, and much more in one interface.

The shift from paper-based and localized HR reporting allows them to complete work without as much waste, while also allowing them to both access and update data on the fly, wherever and whenever the situation demands it. This can be useful for, as an example, updating performance assessments on the job.

Innovation

A good CloudHRMSsuite will have innovative new features that your on-premises systems do not and will be much more suited to modern working needs than most pen-and-paper systems by far. This includes not just payroll and scheduling, but performance reviews, onboarding process, applicant tracking, and much more.

One of the major innovations of cloud HR management software is how much it can allow your team to automate the processes that contribute directly towards their goals. As such, they can spend more time on work that makes a larger difference and make their workflow much more efficient.

However, a cloud HR solution isn’t more innovative than on-premises software by any set degree. It is infinitely more innovative because any changes or updates that are made to the system do not have to be downloaded in patches or bought and added on as new modules. When new features are added, they are added on the side of the developer, and you have instant access to them the next time you use that software.

Reliability

It’s a problem that many businesses are likely to run into at some point or another. You’re suddenly unable to access the software that your team needs to get their job done because your hardware is down or you have lost access to the internet.

Cloud HR Software is much more reliable because your team can simply switch device, or device location, connecting to it from another network. So long as they have the right login details and authorization, they can access not just the same tools they are using to work with but also the very data they have been working with, too.

Scalability

HR Cloud Software is inherently flexible, allowing you to access only the tools that you need, adapting to your needs as you use them. One of the ways they do this is by providing scalability. Many of the top HR Cloud Software suite providers give you the option of choosing packages that suit your needs.

When your needs change, you don’t need to change providers or change how you do your work. Often, when you select a new package, you gain access to the new modules or features while still keeping all your data and the tools that you are already used to.

Accessibility

The working world is changing, and the way that our workers do their job is changing, as well. As such, companies need to be able to meet the needs of employees who are not accessing their work in the same way.

Accessibility is key to the HR Cloud Software approach. It allows workers to access the work that they need to do from any supported device, from any location, and on any connection, so long as they have the login details and are authorized by the account manager. As such, whether they work from home, on the road, or elsewhere, they can get their job done.

This accessibility is key to some of the HR processes your team needs to take care of, allowing you to improve employee engagement and the employee experience. This software can be used to manage the entire employee lifecycle.

Interfaces & Integration

HR Cloud Software is built to be accessed through the net, meaning that its design typically benefits from the user interface expertise that makes them as easy to use as possible.

Furthermore, many businesses use a variety of different tools that are able to transmit and share data, eliminating the need for manual data entry, since it will automate the process. HR Cloud Software is regularly updated with new integrations to make sure that it works well with the tools that you are already using, meaning that switching over to it is made much, much easier.

Cost-effectiveness

Of course, the bottom line always has to be considered when it comes to investing in new technologies or modalities of work. As such, cost-effectiveness is built into Cloud HCM software. It’s more cost-effective to use HR Cloud Software on a subscription than it is to pay for expensive software download licenses.

What’s more, when you are working with on-premises software, you are also generating a lot of data that typically have to be saved locally. This can increase the costs associated with storage hardware such as hard drives, as well. This is just one example of the additional costs that come with increased on-premises software.

Drawbacks

Of course, there are drawbacks to any change in technologies or how you do work. Training and onboarding to work with Cloud software may be necessary for your human resources team, which can take some time and investment.

Furthermore, if you’re working in an area where you don’t have access to the internet, then you aren’t going to have access to the tools or data that is on the Cloud, either. 

Lastly, extra effort does have to be taken to make sure that your data is safe when using Cloud-based software. Reputable developers will have plenty of security measures in place, but you need to make sure that your team is only using it on secure devices and networks. For instance, it’s not recommended that they access sensitive data through Cloud software if they are on a public network or don’t have security features like anti-malware and firewalls installed.

What is the difference between Cloud-Based and On-Premise Software?

There are further differences that should be explored when you’re comparing Cloud-based human resources software with on-premise human resources software (i.e., software that you would install and use locally.) Here, we will look over some of the key differences and why they matter to your businesses.

Scalability

As mentioned, Cloud software is highly scalable and can adapt to your means very easily. However, when you buy on-premise software, you are typically buying a set level of access to a pre-determined set of tools. You can’t scale them back and, as a result, you can’t scale back your costs.

Deployment

With on-premises software, resources are deployed internally, using your own IT structure. It is kept and managed on your own digital resources and hardware. With Cloud software, it is typically deployed from a remote location and accessed by your own devices through the internet.

Speed of access

When you want to use on-premises software on new hardware, you have to download it, which can be very time-consuming. So long as you have the right access privileges and login details, Cloud software can be accessed almost immediately, speeding up their workflow. Onboarding and training for new users might be the only hold-up, but that applies to both kinds.

Control

While many Cloud software providers offer customization options to help you match the software to your needs, they remain firmly in control of the software as it is on their servers. With on-premises software, you have more control over where the software is stored, how it is accessed, and so on.

Payment model

Though there are different models, typically, on-premises software is bought on a license. This license allows you to download and use that software on a set number of devices. Cloud software, however, is typically paid for on a subscription for a set number of users that you can update, raising the number or reducing it at will.

Cost

Cloud software can be a lot more cost-effective when it comes to per-user cost. However, there are some cases in which on-premises software can come with a lower cost of total ownership. This does come with a much higher level of initial investment, however. The initial and running costs of self-service Cloud software are lower. You have to account for individual pricing strategies of different HRM providers, however.

Maintenance

Any maintenance done with on-premises software has to be done internally, either by your own technicians or by outsourced IT workers. Cloud software is maintained and updated entirely by the developers, meaning it’s less hassle to manage, in general.

Security

The level of security changes on a case-by-case business. However, security updates typically have to be downloaded by the user or administrator of on-premises software. Cloud software has its security updates applied automatically. Many would argue Cloud software is inherently less risky since you are not in charge of securing the data personally. However, accessing Cloud software through unsecured connections or devices still increases the level of risk.

Which is right for you?

There are some cases in which on-premises software might better meet your HR needs. However, for small to medium businesses who need scalability, as well as the ability for employees to do their work from home or even on the road with a mobile app, Cloud software might be better option.

Data Protection Levels with HR Cloud Software

Your HR data is inherently sensitive. You don’t want the personal, contact, or financial details of your staff nor of your business to be accessible to just anyone. As such, securing that human resources data is of vital importance.

For this reason, some people might initially feel some trepidation when they are faced with the idea of allowing all of that data to be hosted by a third party. However, the truth is that these purpose-built Cloud software providers are often specialized specifically to keep that data safe.

While the level of protection will differ on a case-by-case basis, software providers typically know exactly their responsibilities when it comes to data protection, as well as the expectations that you have as their client. As such, investing in effective data protection practices and technology is going to be part of their modus operandi.

Some of the ways that HR Cloud Software providers provide a secure user experience include:

  • Complete compliance with regulatory practices and standards to ensure data integrity and security.
  • Storing data on industry-standard data centers that are not accessible to anyone but development staff and are carefully monitored at all times.
  • Data encryption, so that any data you upload to that Cloud software is made inaccessible unless someone else has the same decryption key that the developers do (which they won’t).
  • Multi-step verification for logins, so you can make sure that only you and your authorized staff are able to log in and access your tools and data.
  • Additional support to make sure that you and your team use Cloud software as safely and securely as possible.

The truth is that most small and medium businesses do not have the time or budget to secure their own data as effectively as a specialized Cloud software service provider could. As such, security should be considered one of the major advantages of Cloud software, not an extra concern.

Conclusion

Cloud HR Software is allowing companies to take care of all of those key HR processes much more efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively. Hopefully, the points above show just how much of an asset it can be to your business.

Take the time to assess your own business needs and which of the advantages suit you best. If you have an HR department that needs to be able to access the tools they use to work from any location and any compatible device, then Cloud HR software might be what you need.

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