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Cloud-based HR Systems: improving human resources

Cloud-based HR Systems: improving human resources

In a world where work habits are changing and technology is empowering new levels of productivity, modern cloud-based HR systems can help the dynamic of your most important asset, people.

Susie Quirk

National Lead Partner, HR Advisory

KPMG Australia


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People working on a cloud – Illustration

Australian business leaders are increasingly realising that the Human Resources (HR) function can contribute powerfully to the broader strategy of their organisation. Many organisations have evolved their HR function into Human Capital Management (HCM), implementing new technology that eases the day-to-day administrative burdens that hinder HR professionals, enabling them to focus their time on more value adding tasks.

However, many organisations still treat HR as an administrative function. This is largely the result of HR sitting on legacy technology that requires them to do manual tasks that employees could easily do themselves (such as book annual leave).

Therefore, implementing the right HR technology solution can help bring the strength of HR to the fore – such as supporting managers in bringing in the right talent, meeting competency requirements, and facilitating a culture of collaboration, productivity and employee engagement.

Legacy technology

Many organisations don’t have an end-to-end solution for people management. Their HR professionals have no mobile access and lack the tools for collaboration and effectively using social media to attract and retain talent.

The impact of this capability gap is profound. Legacy HR technology can fail to provide the data they need to make the right decisions. It can create a frustrating experience for staff, who often have to go through multiple systems to get something done.

Some positive signs are emerging. Organisations that value their people are putting HR systems on their agenda and are embracing disruptive technology. The KPMG 2017 Global HR Transformation Survey indicates 38 percent of organisations expect increased HR technology spending in 2017, up eight percent from 2016. A third of organisations plan to implement a new human resources management system (HRMS) in 2017.

However, nearly half (44 percent compared to 50 percent in 2016) will hold spending constant, raising the risk of falling further behind competition.

New HCM technology

Cloud-based HR systems have been game changing for essential HR processes. They provide an easy-to-use and enhanced user experience, while enabling self-service. The systems offer better data analytics, so management can gain data-driven insights into workforce trends to drive strategic HR programs. Further, cloud HR Systems are mobile enabled for remote and home-based working.

Agility is key in HR, and organisations need a flexible solution to cope with fluctuating people demands and rapid growth. The cloud allows you to quickly adapt to your workforce needs as they change.

The social networking features in cloud systems foster engagement through instant feedback and recognition between the managers, employees and broader organisation. And the streamlined onboarding process allow new hires to immerse quickly into company culture.

Business benefits of HCM

When I work with clients on HR system strategies, the question of how it will deliver a business outcome is always key. The answer depends on where the organisation is at with HR, and how effectively they deploy a solution.

Benefits include enabling HR to focus on strategic programs, improvements in efficiency for HR processes, and better employee engagement. Clients shifting from legacy HR systems get the benefit of reducing technology costs and avoiding the capital costs of large upgrades.

One client, a global financial services company, embarked on comprehensive mobile HCM capability to attract top talent. The business leaders wanted their employees to have same experience as external customers. Other drivers included an increase in business intelligence capability, to break down siloes, and reduce HR operating costs by moving basic transactions to self-service.

The company deployed a cloud-based HCM solution and achieved a more scalable HR model through rigorous process harmonisation and global simplification. It increased alignment between HR and business objectives.

The system’s dashboards and analytics tools provided real-time insights, while automated upgrades allowed new integrations to seamlessly connect to downstream systems.

New technology needs new thinking

New tools and technology can reduce manual tasks, but if organisations don’t realign their competencies and operating models they can fail to move HR along with the wider business strategy.

It is critical to embrace the end-to-end solution, and the organisation needs to align its structure, roles and processes to maximise the implementation of cloud technology. A change management strategy to engage people on the journey is also very important, as HR technology impacts the entire organisation.

A powerful solution

At KPMG, our PoweredHR cloud solution is designed to transform HR functions and help HR teams and the broader business to focus on what matters. Our end-to-end solution incorporates change management, to help the program make a lasting impact.

Business leaders who understand the power of HR, and are open to adopting leading practices that drive transformation, will be at the forefront of HCM innovation. The time is right to overcome the businesses challenges and build HR capabilities for long-term success.

©2021 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved. The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organisation.

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