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The new transformer: mastering cloud HR

The new transformer: mastering cloud HR

How to plan and optimize your HR cloud initiative.


Director, Global Centre of Excellence & KPMG LLP

KPMG in the UK


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It all starts with the highest aspirations and expectations. Your organization made the decision to invest in cloud to transform your HR function. You can put new technology in place, but it may fall short of those high hopes.

Let’s be honest. Optimizing your use of the cloud is a big project. A traditional technology approach isn’t enough anymore to ensure your staff’s acceptance and adoption. You have to take it a step at a time, grow into the super-functionality at your command and become a value driver.

Here are some keys to planning and optimizing your HR cloud initiative.

Step 1: See the bigger picture. Your initiative must include a clear HR strategy—it can’t be technology working in isolation. Think of how the system’s functionality can support your organization’s overall strategy. Look at the total HR operating model, including people’s roles, who will do what and whether they have the necessary skills. You need to change how people interact with the technology and each other. That’s when powerful, transformational changes happen.

Step 2: Establish processes that support key business and HR strategies. As you design new HR processes, consider how they can drive efficiencies, line capability and enterprise-wide effectiveness. This calls for multi-tasking: You have to optimize the technology and keep your eye on the business case (Translation: “Why are we doing this?”)—or you’re in danger of continuing to do what you have always done.

Step 3: Keep a strong focus on change management. Once you understand why you want to change, and how the change is going to happen, suddenly technology is the easy bit. What’s not easy is getting people to use it the way it’s supposed to be used. With cloud-enabled HR systems, all information resides with the line managers. But your team has to understand the expectations and be trained to work with the new systems and processes.

Step 4: Keep moving and changing constantly. One of cloud’s key benefits is that it’s agile—it changes with you. So be sure to invest the time after go-live to keep learning and see how you can adapt for greater value. Keep your implementation team and change agents engaged after you go live—make sure they understand how much they can contribute to better outcomes.

Track your outcomes and adoption and gather examples of successful uses and consider possible improvements. Use focus groups and get people interested in the power of the data.

What’s in it for you?

Here are the three levels of outcomes your organization can achieve through HR cloud innovation, done right.

  1. Transactional results. You will likely discover more efficient and cost-effective ways to maximize your HR staff and employees.
  2. Transformational benefits to the organization. You’ll develop a truly evidence-based HR function that’s focused on business issues. You’ll create more empowered managers and a more engaged and connected workforce.
  3. Predictive analytics. Use technology on your journey to make more insightful decisions. It’s part of the maturation process. By looking for patterns in your data, you can develop insights that enable you to make more proactive decisions rather then waiting and reacting to situations you could have averted.

A word to HR and executive leaders

You made the right step moving to the cloud. Don’t give up! Optimizing your cloud investment and re-inventing your operations is ongoing and challenging. But it’s also a tremendous opportunity for you to demonstrate how HR can be a strategic partner and get the greatest return on your organization’s investment.

To find out more about making your HR cloud initiative a success, visit KPMG Powered Enterprise | HR.

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