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Author's profile photo Susan Galer

The Top 10 HR Cloud Myths Debunked


Although cloud has become the go-to software deployment model for many Human Resource departments, this hasn’t stopped the proliferation of myths surrounding what it can and cannot do for organizations. I was on hand last week at the SAPInsider HR 2015 Conference in Las Vegas when a panel of HR experts shared a few truths about moving to the cloud.

Myth #1: SuccessFactors is best practices only, and can’t accommodate complex business processes.


TRUTH: Characterizing this as an absolute myth, Amy Grubb, CEO/Principal of Cloud Consulting Partners, said SuccessFactors consists of best practices gleaned from customer experiences but was also highly configurable. She also challenged the audience, saying, “Everyone thinks they’re unique. They’re not. Most underlying (HR) processes are similar.”

Myth #2: Cloud HCM solutions can’t replace the customization of my current ERP system.

TRUTH: The falsehood inherent to this myth has to do with understanding the real value of cloud, and not equating it to on-premise software. “How to replicate legacy systems using cloud software is not the conversation you want to be having as you’re moving into the next generation of solutions,” said Sharon Newton, Managing Partner at hyperCision.

Myth #3: Cloud HCM solutions aren’t easily integrated with other applications.

TRUTH: Luke Marson, Chief Cloud HCM Architect at Hula Partners, said this myth reflects fear on the part of IT and/or inexperienced HR departments. “Maybe you haven’t done integration before, but an awful lot of companies have, and are using it successfully. This fear shouldn’t be a barrier to cloud adoption.”

Myth #4: The cloud is only for small and mid-sized businesses.

TRUTH: Citing companies with hundreds of thousands of employees using cloud HR, Atif Siddiqui, Senior Partner of Cloud HCM at GroupeX Solutions, said this myth was easy to disprove. “This may be coming from on-premise vendors and partners afraid of losing their core base of customers. It’s not true. Cloud is where the market has gone.”

Myth #5: Cloud solutions are less secure than on-premise solutions.

TRUTH: Grubb was quick to jump on this myth. “I don’t know why we’re even talking about this anymore. Yes, you need to conduct your own due diligence, but huge numbers of companies are putting their business processes in the cloud.”

Siddiqui added that the major data breaches over the past few years haven’t involved cloud-based systems, and all the panelists agreed that it’s in every cloud vendor’s best interests to meet the highest standards of security.

“No cloud vendor can afford to get hacked or it will destroy their business,” said Marson. “All spend more than any customer is able to on security. They have incredible levels of investments in layers of security from the security guards in data centers to regular self-hacking and secure protocols and standards.”

Myth #6: SuccessFactors HCM in the cloud is just SAP ERP.

TRUTH: Echoing a common theme throughout the discussion, Newton said this myth revealed a lack of understanding of the benefits and reasons for moving to the cloud. “Moving to SuccessFactors is an opportunity to optimize processes, align with your stakeholders, and implement a solution that meets business objectives. Cloud, and what it can do, is a completely different solution than on-premise.”

Myth #7: There’s no business case to move to the cloud.

TRUTH: While these panelists agreed that the mere existence of cloud as an option isn’t the reason to adopt it, they emphasized the importance of building a business case aligned with company objectives.

“Once you understand your pain points and what you’re going to do to mitigate them, you can make the right changes,” said Newton. “If it’s going to the cloud, that’s great. But either way, you have to make sure you’re getting the value that you plan on from whatever migration you choose.”

Myth #8: SuccessFactors is just a pretty interface.

TRUTH: Siddiqui credited competitive vendors with this misleading myth. “SuccessFactors is a pretty interface but that’s what users want, and in this case, there’s substance behind its thoughtful design. You can put a pretty interface on anything but if there’s no substance to it, it will show. That’s not the case here.”

Myth #9: I don’t need to move from my on-premise system.

TRUTH: Marson said he encourages companies to make an informed decision about cloud based on constant vigilance. “If you have no challenges, keep doing what you’re doing until it doesn’t work, then re-assess. But you have to keep checking.”

Myth #10: I no longer control my data if I move to the cloud.

TRUTH: All of the experts attributed this misperception to on-premise software vendor fear tactics along with unfounded customer concerns. “You own your data, and it will always be available to you,” said Grubb.

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Photo above: L to R  Sharon Newton, Managing Partner at hyperCision, Luke Marson, Chief Cloud HCM Architect at Hula Partners, Amy Grubb, CEO/Principal of Cloud Consulting Partners, Atif Siddiqui, Senior Partner of Cloud HCM at GroupeX Solutions

Related Content:

HR Transformation: Beware the Cloud Vipers

SAPInsider HR 2015: What a Difference a Year Makes

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      Author's profile photo Mark Hughes
      Mark Hughes

      Hi Susan, thanks for the great blog. I was hoping to hear dialog about Cloud (for HR) from a platform/infrastructure as a service perspective. I'm facing a scenario where the HR owner wants to carve his HR solution out of a complex landscape and have experts like SAP run the systems for him. This is far more a technical discussion than around HR processes, but I was hoping the panel might have touched on this perspective... was it covered at all?

      Author's profile photo David Ludlow
      David Ludlow

      Hi Mark,

      This topic was not specifically brought up.  And I do not recall it coming up during any of the sessions that I participated in during the event.  However a SAP customer is able to do this if they want, leveraging the HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC).  Alternately, many customers already leverage partners who offer Applications Management Services (AMS).