It’s easy for businesses to get caught up in the excitement of all the new systems out there, and with good reason: Today’s applications are elevating the practice of HR. But behind these flashy front-end services, the true power of HR lies in the core HR system.
Purchasing a number of standalone cloud solutions won’t enable HR teams to make the most of their budgets. First they must focus on their vitally important core HR technology. While it’s the least-cool tool in HR’s technology toolbox, this core is the foundation upon which all else depends. Without a cloud-based HR core to link together all their applications, businesses are left with a number of discrete services that aren’t being fed the information they need to deliver value.
For a parallel situation, consider Facebook, arguably the digital generation’s preferred platform for connecting with friends, sharing photos, and finding highly tailored content. All this functionality is lost unless the basics are in place; without a profile for each user that includes his or her name, likes/dislikes, and contact lists, much of what makes Facebook such a compelling platform simply wouldn’t work.
In a business, the company org chart and real-time record of each worker’s role form the backbone of HR. When this information connects with business processes automatically via the cloud, it can deliver significant value. However, if these elements aren’t connected to talent management or recruiting systems, an integrated HR strategy isn’t possible.
Consider enterprise resource planning and the allocation of work to individual employees. Businesses need to combine HR core data with information from across the business—assessment data from recruitment, for example—to determine which employees would be best for a given project based on their competencies, potential, and career ambitions.
This is the beauty of the cloud. It allows for simultaneous real-time updates to any HR application on multiple devices, and it delivers greater oversight by simplifying and speeding up the sharing of important data—for example, by allowing companies to compare data points from markets in America, Asia, and Africa and make proactive adjustments to their regional strategies.
A cloud-based HR core is also instrumental in running business simulations to test the impact of using a new service, products, or market penetration scenarios in the wider organization. The data used in the testing and refinement of various approaches needs to be available to all affected applications, which requires that core HR information is linked to all these systems using the cloud. The major benefit here is that this allows the business to fine-tune much more quickly than it could with traditional spreadsheets or by adjusting data models manually.
Businesses want a better understanding of their talent. They want to quickly see who their top performers are, which employees work well together, and what skills each individual brings to the table, which in turn allows HR teams to address employees’ needs individually and provide more personalized guidance. When integrated with HR applications such as talent management and performance management systems, core HR data goes a long way in helping the company build stronger engagement among employees and boost productivity.
The HR core may not be the flashiest element of business IT, but the elegance with which it feeds the rest of an organization’s cloud applications is indisputable. Even as modern HR departments continue to embrace exciting new cloud applications, they need to build these systems around a rock-solid core to realize their full potential.