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The benefits of transferring a human capital management solution to the cloud

You don’t need to be a technology wizard to see cloud computing has taken the world by storm. Many things consumers now take for granted are enabled by the cloud. If you’ve logged into Google, updated your profile on Facebook or bought clothes online, you’ve experienced the capabilities of cloud technology. 

Gamers now enjoy exhilarating gaming experiences anywhere because of the cloud’s power to provide higher speed without interruption. Due to the cloud, retail inventory records are becoming much more visible and reliable, enabling a more satisfying experience for consumers who shop for products on the Internet and then go to a store to purchase them.

The future is bright with possibilities as the cloud is poised to improve health-care standards, reduce carbon footprints and transform business practices. The workplace has evolved as the cloud allows for new, more efficient forms of collaboration. 

Human capital management (HCM) on a daily basis is an arduous task. In larger organizations, HR teams can be spread out over different areas of a building, different areas of the country or different time zones.

Payroll responsibilities may not be under HR, but under finance. Disparity may result in a lack of communication and HR team members may not always have ready access to information that is monitored and updated by another department.

A cloud-based HCM system can help alleviate the administrative stress from a growing HR team and allow them to concentrate on their business. An HCM solution may include processing payroll, administering benefits, overseeing time and attendance, recruiting, talent and performance management. 

For many HR and payroll teams, the move to cloud-based software delivery is inevitable. As a business expands, it needs technology that fits its growth pattern. There are several reasons to consider moving an HCM solution to the cloud:

Cost savings:
The primary motivator prompting organizations to move HCM to the cloud is the ability to take advantage of software innovations, according to PwC’s 2014 HR Technology Survey.

Let technology be someone else’s headache: Cloud computing means people always have access to the most current software version without having to download any software themselves. 

Expensive software purchases or costly, time-consuming upgrades are no longer necessary. Leading providers are always updating software to enable compliance but also to add innovative new features. These days, mobile apps can even manage payroll on the go.

Real-time visibility: For management, there’s a constant need to tap into current HCM data to gain an accurate picture of how staff is performing, and where there are opportunities and areas for improvements. 

With a single HCM solution, changes to payroll, benefits and workforce planning are immediately calculated for accurate forecasting and decision-making by HR managers who can take action on self-service transactions from anywhere, without having to wait to get to a desktop or laptop. Whether in the office, travelling or working from home, everyone has access to critical business information. Basically, all the data is available anytime, just a click away.

Costly mistakes avoided:
If compliance issues rear their ugly head, it can be quite costly. Under legislation across Canada, employers can be fined for failing to adhere to requirements related to employment standards (including payroll records, postings, overtime, hours of work, vacation time and pay). 

Payroll processing is complicated because it is governed by countless sets of regulations at all different levels. 
To compensate staff members correctly without violating any rules, a cloud-based solution can help maintain current information about the law and reduce risk.

Reliability and accuracy:
It can be difficult to handle a business’ HCM responsibilities if the process is spread out across multiple solutions. If the data and workflow are scattered in many places, there will inevitably be mistakes and inefficiencies. With a single cloud-based solution, an employer can increase the accuracy and reliability of its processing, from payroll to time and attendance. 

Efficiency: End-to-end cycle times are dramatically reduced. For example, an employee address change used to mean a long paper trail and complex process but now the change is entered directly by the employee and reviewed or approved digitally by a manager. It’s half the steps and twice the efficiency. 

Access to payroll and HR data is no longer exclusive to HR managers. Now, all employees can participate and gain a window into vital information including vacation time, hours and benefits. They can even make simple changes directly over their mobile devices.

Enhanced security:
Any reputable cloud-based HCM application and its hosting infrastructure means payroll data is private and secure. It’s not sitting on someone’s desk or tucked away in a filing cabinet where anyone can get their hands on it. It’s not lost among mountains of paperwork and manual spreadsheets if needed for an audit or other requests for data. 

It’s all securely stored online, protected by layers of security and only those who are authorized to access it can see it.

Going green: Cloud HCM allows for the management of business payroll with a minimal amount of paper. Leading providers eliminate paper-based processes and offer additional payment options. Employees can usually opt for direct deposit, so paycheques don’t need to be printed and distributed.

What’s next? Imagine predictive analytics, employees looking to the cloud for advice on resolving work problems, instant tips from co-workers and sharing information and knowledge about their jobs. 

It’s an exciting time for HCM technology.

Shelley Ng is vice-president of product management at Ceridian in Toronto.For more information, visit

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