On premise and the cloud – working together
Traditionally, when organisations have chosen to embark upon an HRIS transformation project, the best-practice solution has been to combine all modules and functionality into one fully integrated stand-alone HCM platform. There were many reasons why organisations chose that approach such as reducing the cost of maintaining multiple applications at once, and ensuring that there is only ‘one source of the truth’ for HR dataHowever, in recent years, with the growing popularity of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, businesses now have the opportunity to combine a number of different niche applications that each target a specific business process. This can allow the business to retain its existing on premise HR solution, whilst making full use of new technology focussed on specific needs of the organisation (e.g. for performance and talent).
To make sure on-premise and cloud applications exist in harmony, many vendors have now developed standard models for combining on-premise Core HR solutions with their new Cloud offerings.
What are the benefits?
With any full HRIS implementation, changes to payroll tend to be the most resource-intensive and carry the most risk (after all, if you get employees’ pay wrong, they are likely to quickly spot the mistake). Many organisations have shied away from embarking on a transformation precisely because of this, and the pure scale of change. However now, organisations are able to keep their core systems of record in place and add new modules using the Cloud.
This allows organisations to benefit from new functionality, enhancing their processes, without having the disruption of going through a full HRIS transformation.
Finally, implementing new functionality in smaller, more manageable chunks allows organisations to move at a pace that is in line with the business culture.
Creating an effective and beneficial hybrid of on-premise/ Cloud systems can be a troublesome task, and is prone to pitfalls along the way.
Data consistency is king when looking at a deployment of Cloud functionality with existing applications. Current SaaS modules tend to be heavily dependent on the quality and amount of data which is fed through from the Core HR application (e.g. job structures and competency frameworks). Our experience has shown that organisations need to think about the overall solution and use of data in the end to end business process, even when only deploying additional functionality in the Cloud.
Furthermore, for large organisations, ensuring automatic integration between the on premise and Cloud applications is paramount. The level of standard integration that can be used will vary depending on how customised your existing HR solution is and organisations can run into trouble because they have underestimated the level of technical resource required for this kind of implementation.
Finally, in the age of the social network and the app store, it is important to keep the experience of the end-user in mind. Many organisations still use functional, but outdated and unintuitive applications. Adding new ‘Cloud’ modules can show users what the new technology is capable of (not to mention mobile features!). On the flip side, the difference between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ can disrupt the end-to-end user experience. It is, therefore, important to have clear engagement with the employees when implementing this type of solution.
Combining on-premise applications with the Cloud can be done rapidly, with minimum disruption to existing applications and a great way to move HRIS into the 21st century. Many organisations are using this model as the initial step in their journey to a full migration to the Cloud. As confidence in the SaaS market grows, more and more organisations will start to take the plunge away from traditional on premise solutions – this provides a comforting half-way house along the way.
Chris works in the Oracle HR Applications service area within Human Capital. He has an in-depth functional knowledge of the Fusion HCM application, and has worked on two large-scale global implementations of the application as a functional design lead.