The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Is Cloud The Way To Go?

Is Cloud The Way To Go?

Mar 6, 2013

So I had to upgrade my cell phone contract.  I used to be on this thing where I had a bucket of minutes and text messages to use, and now I’m on exactly the opposite.  I have unlimited phone and text and about 10 GB of data I can use every month.  It really points to a shift in how we as users of wireless devices are working.  Less and less of our days are spent actually talking to each other, and more of our days are spent collaborating through various mechanisms that involve data.  I will admit to spending an exceptional amount of time browsing news on my phone, looking through facebook updates to keep tabs on people, and using my phone for work emails.  Nobody calls me anymore, and if they do, I get my voicemails through data (I read my VM, have not listened to one in years).

One of the big questions these days is about SaaS and Cloud.  Should we do it?  Should we stay on PeopleSoft or SAP HCM?

The answer for SaaS is a definitive Yes.

At some point, be it this year, next or in 5 years, you are going to move to the cloud.  I’m not an opinion about your current on-premise strategy, and I’m not making a judgment of you if you disagree.  I’m simply stating a fact.  Let’s tale a look at the facts:

  • ADP: The actual development of the Enterprise HRMS client server product is probably severely limited.  I don’t even know if they sell it anymore.  We do know that ADP Vantage is what they are selling and developing.
  • Oracle / PeopleSoft:  We’ve all heard about applications unlimited, but for those who thing that in 2020 we’ll still be going to a PeopleSoft Track at OpenWorld, I think you really have to evaluate your reality.  The developers are all on Fusion.  Let’s say you are right and there is still a PeopleSoft product in 2020.  How long do you think it will have been since your last major product enhancement?
  • SAP: Well, there’s HAHA, and there’s SuccessFactors.  Either way, SAP kind of knows that they are pouring development resources into the cloud.  Same conclusion as with PeopleSoft – it will be around for a while, but that’s not the whole reality.
  • Workday:  It’s already in the cloud from the start – no discussion here.
  • Talent Management: It does not really matter if you bought Taleo, SuccessFactors, Cornerstone, PeopleFluent, (I’m going to get in trouble for leaving out 50 companies), you bought into the cloud long ago for TM.

I’m not really trying to change your mind on the cloud here.  It really does not matter.  If you are an HR technology buyer, you simply don’t have a choice.  The vendors and the industry are in the midst of choosing for you.  In just a few short years, all of your premise based HR technologies are going to cease or significantly slow their development efforts and fully shift to the cloud.  If you want to be on a product that will be continuously developed, that is where it will be.

Just in the same way I really don’t have a choice to stay on my old cell phone plan, the world is moving on when it comes to HR applications.  It’s time to move with it.


  1. Good post, and interesting take.

    In my world view SAP just seems so dominant at the moment that a transition to the cloud is nearly unthinkable. Thanks for the data behind your opinion (and sharing the post).

    Keep writing.



  2. Thanks Rory. By the way, nice sidebar commenting on your blog. How do you do that???

    On SAP, I think that it’s going to be YEARS before more than 50% of the Fortune 500 are in cloud HCM. But if you just look at how many developers are left working on the legacy platforms versus Fusion or Hana, you definitely get the idea that moving sooner than later is an option. After all, what is the use of staying on an old platform that does not get developed anymore other than sunk cost?

    PeopleSoft 9.2 just got announced with a GA date of late March I think. It will be a good case study if there is any real enhancing going on there. Can’t wait to see it.

  3. Thanks for the response.

    From a sunk cost perspective I definitely agree that there are some significant benefits to being an early adopter here. The challenge is that if you’re an HR or IT leader at a big cap company you don’t want to get it wrong and bet on Cloud technologies until you see a bit more widespread adoption.

    Thanks for the share on Peoplesoft 9.2 by the way. Wasn’t aware the date had been announced.

    If you’re interested in adding a side note/side footer it’s just a simple HTML code change (you’d enter it into CSS if you have wordpress). I can e-mail you the code in notepad. Just send me an e-mail and I’ll be sure to reply. You’ll have to make some changes to make it fit in the margin for your site since your layout is different than my own, but it’s a minor change.

    Thanks again for sharing, and keep writing.



  4. Good article, with our customers SaaS adoption for their HR Systems appears to be their initial project to utilise Cloud technology.

  5. Thanks for including us in the post. At Peoplefluent we share your view that the answer to if ‘Cloud is the way to go?’ for SaaS is a definitive Yes.’ Great read and thanks for sharing.

    Mike – @bostonmike

  6. Francesco /

    What do you think about CezanneOnDemand, a very HR cloud based for SME’s.

  7. Francesco: It’s a fair question – and as I said, I’d get in trouble for leaving out so many very good vendors from the list. I’m going to say that I don’t have a current opinion on Cezanne based on recent experience. It seems to be more of a European tool, and my client base is really in the US, so I don’t see Cezanne that often. Given that, for organizations with major EMEA operations, Cezanne should seem to make the list, has been around for a long time, and feels like one of the more mature TM products out there. I can’t really comment on the HR side of things as I haven’t seen it at all.

    Full disclosure statement:
    Also note that I don’t really do a whole lot of vendor selections (I don’t think I’ve done one in the last 3 years), so my ability to see demos outside of what the app vendors offer me as an “analyst” is a bit limited. I don’t really go out and seek vendor demos or updates either, so what I learn is incomplete at best when it comes to getting deep in the vendor space.

  8. Hey All.

    Good read.

    Me and my team have worked for both non-cloud and cloud based HR Software. Both have there pros and cons, but i have found from talking with our growing client base that our cloud based software has far less cons. Cloud is the way to go now IM afraid as we are now able to easily reach those people who are not sat at a computer for 90 percent of the day.
    We now have rig workers that can book there holidays and access there personnel account while out in the field with nothing more than a tablet or smart phone.

    Anyways,….check us out. we know what we are doing ;)


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