Skip to content
Alight has entered into an agreement to sell its Payroll and Professional Services business to an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital. Learn more

Is your HCM really on the cloud?

By Gianmatteo Masala, Alight Research and Advisory Centre
HCM on the cloud

As an HR Director, you have probably heard many of your peers and acquaintances discussing their companies’ recent cloud migrations or plans to implement cloud-based systems in the near future. As you listen to these stories, you might find yourself wondering if your organisation should think about doing something similar.

You might even make the assumption that your organisation is on the cloud already. After all, you regularly access your payslip and enter your time-off requests via your web browser, so your HR and payroll systems must be on the cloud.

Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. While your experience as a user may be comparable to web browsing, thinking that this automatically means that you are ‘on the cloud’ could be a dangerous assumption. 

In fact, what makes this possible is the VPN in your laptop that allows you to access information stored on local servers in the same way you might access Google.

Fortunately, finding out whether your organisation is actually ‘on the cloud’ is a simple thing: You only need to ask your key stakeholders a few simple questions:

  • Finance Controller 
    • Can they explain the cost structure of your HR systems and infrastructure? 
    • How predictable are those costs? 
    • Were there any hidden costs over the last few years related to unforeseen maintenance and upgrades? 
    • Are those costs categorised as capital expenditures or operational expenditures?

  • IT Director 
    • How much effort does it take to maintain servers, upgrade the platform and provide basic troubleshooting? 
    • How is data security managed and what business continuity plans are in place? This is especially the case if servers are inaccessible for extended periods of time, particularly during payroll cutoff.

  • HR manager 
    • Is employee or manager self-service functionality available? 
    • Do they use advanced analytics when making key business decisions? 
    • How do they ensure compliance with the latest legal regulations in every country they operate in? 
    • Can employees request or approve simple HR tasks, such as time off requests on their mobile phones? 
    • What is their level of data visibility in the system, both for themselves or their peers or teams?

Asking these questions will not only you enable you to find out if you’re ‘on the cloud’, but will also open your eyes to the benefits cloud technology can bring to your organisation and the positive outcomes it can help you achieve.

Equipped with a clear understanding of how revolutionary cloud technology can be, it’s possible to envision a path towards transformation that will meet the needs of your business and your people, as described in this blog. 

In fact, moving to the cloud is increasingly becoming more than just a preferred option. With mainstream maintenance for many SAP on-premise systems scheduled for sunset beginning in December 2025, it is, for many companies, a top priority. The time is now to determine if a move to the cloud is right for you.

Gianmatteo Masala
Gianmatteo Masala
By Gianmatteo Masala

Gianmatteo has worked in Alight’s Advisory team since 2018, focusing on HR Transformation driven by technology. Previously, he held a PM position within Rolls-Royce’s HR Shared Services organisation, managing global system implementation, with a strong focus on Lean Six Sigma. 

Related reads

Why aren't companies embracing AI for payroll processing?

Uncover the barriers impeding AI adoption in payroll processing and learn strategies to encourage implementation in your organisation.

Sustainable payroll: What you can do to ensure your payroll stays relevant

Join Robert Stegeman on the transformative journey to sustainable payroll in the cloud.

From Burning Platforms to Cloud Horizons: Alight’s Journey to HR Innovation

Discover why moving to the cloud is a crucial platform for organisations towards a future characterised by HR innovation.