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How cloud platforms can redefine HR operations

Business Chief EMEA learns from Accenture how digitisation is redefining HR, and the ways cloud platforms can help organisations stay ahead

|Jul 31|magazine12 min read

With digital transformation at the heart of 70% of global organisation’s strategies, digital technologies in the last five years have been redefining the ways in which companies operate. Now, more and more companies are looking to rapidly deploy digital solutions at scale. As a result of this shift in mindset towards a digitally led culture, talent management and the need for new skills is driving a shift in how HR systems run.

Performing well and maintaining momentum in a digital environment requires a workforce that is adaptable and can change to flexible demands, while the company itself needs the ability to acquire and develop competencies relating to digital skills, technologies, processes and operating models to avoid skill gaps and shortages. As a result, HR leaders must reevaluate their digital strategies to manage this shift in trends. One way to do this is taking advantage of the low cost and flexible capabilities of cloud platforms.

Adopting a cloud HR platform

“From an HR perspective, any changes to existing systems must be carefully considered and skilfully executed,” states Venky Seshadri, Senior Sales Director and Product Manager at Accenture. While some capabilities will be more critical than others, it is no secret that digital technologies bring new value to organisations when it comes to customer experience, growth, innovation, optimisation, transparency and agility, driving sustainable and efficient operations.

With this in mind, HR professionals can apply this same mentality and innovative technologies to deliver the organisation’s HR services. “Digital technologies remove some of the mystery behind HR processes,” adds Seshadri, by involving the workforce in recruitment, onboarding, performance reviews, learning and career development procedures, as well as opening up the ‘anytime-anywhere’ services with the use of mobility, social media platforms and smartphones to drive engagement. Further down the line, as organisations continue to evolve this technology, it can also be used to customise talent practices and communications for specific groups or individuals. 

Ultimately, Accenture explains that it is this less centralised and more integrated approach that is driving new digital HR capabilities. This insight was also highlighted in a study conducted by SAP SuccessFactor and Accenture, which showed that organisations who made use of digital HR solutions saw a 15.2% decrease in employee turnover, a 13.7% increase in internal job fill rates, and a 5.4% increase in productivity.

The power of HR platforms in the cloud

One digital technology driving change within the HR sector is the use of cloud platforms in the form of a platform-as-a-service solution. While HR platforms can be built in-house, utilising a cloud platform is a more cost and time effective solution. In addition to reducing time and cost, these types of solutions also provide flexibility and control to effectively customise applications to suit requirements, as well as the ability to make better decisions via data monitoring tools, business intelligence and analytics; improve efficiency by reducing resources and time required; improve employee experiences relating to recruitment, payroll and workflow; and improve HR compliance with the help of automation.

However, Seshadri explains that, while “digital technologies may be more commonplace, they are far from being fully exploited by HR leaders. While workflows have been improved through interconnected systems and the automation of paper-based processes, for many HR departments the digital giant is still slumbering. But the time is ripe to be fully awake. Organisations must employ an effective digital strategy to lower operating costs and help to streamline and enrich human resources business processes. Cloud is a natural choice and, with the right extensions, HR leaders can gain the flexibility and agility they need to serve their role’s future demands.”

Accenture’s five steps to digital success

With the benefits of digital HR providing endless opportunities to HR professionals, but few of them harnessing this potential, Accenture highlights five key steps for any organisation looking to digitalise its HR processes.

  1. Harnessing an integrated and consolidated platform

By harnessing a central HR platform, organisations can benefit from unified and consistent data. As a result, organisations will produce a single viewpoint of its workforce, with the ability to automate extended processes which work seamlessly across its channels.

  1. Migration to the cloud

Organisations looking to adopt a cloud platform solution should ensure that they have the right systems and processes in place to effectively adopt this approach. Organisations that migrate to the cloud can benefit from consistently across its operations.

  1. Utilising analytics

Other useful tools which can be beneficial to HR include analytics. These capabilities can be used to measure the effectiveness of HR operations and the impact it has on an organisation, in addition to providing insights on how a company can strengthen its HR processes.  

  1. Using social media for employee communication

While not a new concept, Accenture highlights that social media channels are effective for engaging with employees, improving collaboration and speeding up HR processes.

  1. Developing a mobile strategy

Finally, in a constantly moving and dynamic workplace, extending the HR process via mobile technology is critical for reaching the workforce. Therefore an effective mobile strategy should be developed. 

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