Why are HR cloud application implementations now business transformation rather than technology transformation projects?

The way organisations and individuals interact, process transactions and deliver HR services is changing. The emergence of cloud HR solutions has moved the HR systems goalposts. The focus is no longer on technology-driven, on premise and customised solutions but on business-driven, standardised and configurable solutions.

When organisations bought software, even 5 years ago, they effectively bought software on a CD which they would install onto their IT infrastructure. As the organisations owned the software, they had access to the source code. This enabled them to completely customise the look, feel and behaviour of the system to match their existing business processes. As many companies were migrating from a paper based or very simple computerised way of transacting, the emphasis was on creating or enhancing their IT Infrastructure.

With a SaaS solution, the organisations don’t buy a CD. They rent (as a service) a system which is hosted on the software provider’s infrastructure (in the cloud) and accessed through the internet. As such, they will not get access to the systems source code and cannot customise the solution as they did with an on premise system.

This change in commercial set up and restriction on customising the solution moves the emphasis away from technical development and towards business adoption and change. As SaaS solutions have been designed to support generic leading practice processes, the challenge now is to fit the organisation’s processes within the parameters of the HR Solution. This results in the implementation effort shifting further towards business engagement, assessing how best to use the HR solution within the context of that individual business and the resulting impacts on process, ways of working and target operating model. The technology element becomes more focused on integration, security and conversion.

Through this fairly seismic shift in approach, organisations now need to look at further opportunities to transform their HR function which are driven by the technology itself. The emergence of mobile and digital solutions along with the inclusion of embedded analytics is a game changer in the delivery of HR services – these features can only be exploited through comprehensive business change and adoption, aligning people and process to the underlying technology.

The control given back to the business is the fundamental reason why SaaS solution implementations are now a key component of HR business change rather than standalone technology implementations. Organisations as a whole have recognised the need for business functions, such as HR, to drive their business landscape and with this understanding and control, are able to react quicker to regulatory change, market and customer demands. Embedded analytics, maintenance & optimisation of the application by the software provider fuels this control of their own destiny further and enables the HR users to be more independent, strategic and less reliant on IT. Furthermore, the emergence of mobile apps allows users to access the latest data wherever they are meaning a smaller need for armies of database analysts providing additional cost and efficiency benefits to the whole organisation.

All of this changes the approach we take to implement modern HR solutions; it is business driven transformation rather than technical transformation.


Tom Hughes

Tom is a Consultant within our Human Capital Practice. With a focus on Recruitment Transformation, he has a range of experience helping clients streamline and improve their resourcing functions using HR SaaS Applications.



  • Tom, its true the HR software adoption curve is now firmly in the hands of HR teams. In our experience most implementations are now driven by HR with only a very minimal involvement from IT.

    The ones that are driven by HR are also the more successful ones. Of course, the role of the vendor in this case becomes more critical because of the expectation to drive adoption in the employee ranks without having a direct access to those employees. In some instances HR takes a proactive approach to make self service rollouts. If they don't then the benefits remain severely restricted and the original promise of value creation and simplification does not get delivered.

    This is one of the biggest challenges faced in rollout of HR on SaaS.

    Posted by: Sandeep Todi on 26/03/2015

  • Wow. this is so informative.

    Posted by: Jerry on 03/01/2016

  • H.R application works more than Technology application as people interaction in the organization is much more necessary than excess of technology.

    Posted by: Stephen S. Buchanan on 04/01/2016

  • Good

    Posted by: Rose on 21/09/2016

  • I visit your site first time and i want to say that technology point of view your site really good, That's why i appreciate your so please keep posting. Best web solutions company visit

    Posted by: susan on 21/09/2016

  • informative

    Posted by: maryjane on 10/05/2017

  • Insightful article! I do actually agree with you that HR using Cloud application is leaning more on business transformation rather than tech transformation. You see, when you go Cloud on your HR, it is not actually technology that you wanted better (although you did make it better) but your service as human resource in a company/organization. Agree?

    Posted by: Lirik on 27/06/2017

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