Choosing a SaaS or Cloud alternative–Remember your basic checklist!

    Technology promises, and sometimes in all fairness arguably so, to decimate problems that crawl and pile up invisibly. Its now about the new and disruptive trend of Cloud Computing and ‘SaaS’ noise around it.

    From big ERP vendors to granular, vertically-niche start-ups, everyone is trying to add a strong off-premise proposition to their baskets. Some of them have managed to figure out this next-generation force and some are still trying to understand cloud services. Even, folks in HCM arena are constructing new services based on ‘As a Service’ architecture.

    Choosing a SaaS or Cloud alternative–Remember your basic checklist! Choosing a SaaS or Cloud alternative–Remember your basic checklist!

    There are a lot of benefits that are said to pour out of a Go-To-SaaS/Cloud decision – like opex (instead of capex) expenditures or flexibility of provisioning or agility or avoidance of unnecessary subscription expenses or getting rid of unwieldy license models. Most of them are true, at least in theory. Spiels aside, it however takes some extra questions to be confident when you spin the needle away from on-premise software to these new-era options.

    The questions become all the more apt if you have an HR head sitting close-by as every company has not only a different family tree of IT to take forward but also a different mindset and employee rationale to consider. Make sure you figure out your specific shades before you choose a Cloud/SaaS alternative.

    1. How soon and to what degree can the business and headcount scale in a mid-term horizon? Your existing on-premise system may be good when it comes to scaling-out but would you be open and fit for a scale-up strength that most Cloud options can come with?
    2. Expenses will go up in each case but it’s all about your philosophical inclinations and organisation’s leanings here. Increase in IT footprint and cooling or server expenses on one hand vs. a little costlier vertically-headed cloud-add-on – what’s your idea of spending here?
    3. Are you a Bespoke fanatic? The degree of customization space varies from vendor to vendor, even in a big-suite play but the question gets underlined in a Cloud equation. Specific configurations can be expensive and clunky and even then it depends on how much room your prospective solution allows here. On the other hand, leveraging the multi-tenant expertise and width of the solution can have its own gains. Unless you or your industry-needs or your CEO has an obsessive need to cut and tailor things.
    4. That will also lead you to another fork in the road – are you comfortable with a complex model or do you prefer simple pricing cards, albeit with a lesser degree of control that you may be used to.
    5. Control – now that’s a clincher. Some HR functions may be wary of giving away core processes over to a Cloud entity. Weigh those apprehensions before copying and pasting what others in the industry seem to be towing. Incorporate capabilities for Private Cloud adaptation in your RFP.
    6. What are your existing HR apps like? Would they work better with a rip-and-move-to-Cloud scenario or would you rather dip one toe at a time first and opt for an incremental phasing? If that’s the case, are you open to the possibility that (unless your apps can be comfortably layered with developer work over a core infrastructure) not going for a full-blown approach will leave you with some serious opportunity costs?
    7. What is your stance over employees’ personal wardrobe of tablets and smart phones? Which side you swerve on a BYOD policy counts and that’s where you might also pause to ask your HR head if and how much has Shadow IT trespassed into the organization already?

    With emerging trends on BYOD and Internet of things, smart HR technologies based on cloud and SaaS would surely help provide anywhere anytime access of information to engage the millennial employees in this connected world. However before deciding to move to cloud architecture and SaaS model of delivery, do ask yourself some honest questions. There is a lot that that can twist the plot and that share of mistakes or oversights can pretty much come from your table only.

    Products & Services, Ramco HCM Suite

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