8 benefits of switching to cloud-based tools for strategic HR

There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy – Milind Govekar, Vice President, Gartner Not too long ago, on-premise HR software was all the rage. Owning the software, having it installed on servers on-site at your office, and being fully responsible for its maintenance and security were seen as advantages compared with cloud-based HR […]


There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy – Milind Govekar, Vice President, Gartner

Not too long ago, on-premise HR software was all the rage. Owning the software, having it installed on servers on-site at your office, and being fully responsible for its maintenance and security were seen as advantages compared with cloud-based HR or software-as-a-service (HR SaaS) tools, which are hosted and run on third-party cloud infrastructure.

But with Gartner recently forecasting that 85% of companies will be “cloud first” by 2025, what changed? Why are cloud-based tools now considered strategic HR tools, and for those still using on-premise software, how do you make the switch?

RELATED: On-premise vs cloud-based HR software: What’s the difference?

Using cloud-based HR tools for strategic HR

With the huge advancements in technology over the last 5-10 years, what originally were the benefits of on-premise software are now the pitfalls. For example:

  • Requiring a dedicated IT team to support outdated software is expensive, resource-intensive, and often creates bottlenecks that slow teams down.

  • Being responsible for data security has become burdensome and higher risk, as the security infrastructure third-party providers typically surpasses that which can be achieved in-house.

  • The features and functionality of on-premise software become quickly outdated and limited in scalability when compared to the rate of and continual development of cloud-based software.

Whether you’re moving from on-premise software to the cloud, from paper, or a mix of both, there are many reasons switching to a cloud-based HR tool is a strategic move.

The benefits of cloud-based HR tools

  1. HR process automation: By upgrading to new, cutting-edge software, you can digitise and automate clunky, paper-based or previously manual processes (and also reduce your environmental footprint!).

We were previously managing our people data across 10 different spreadsheets. intelliHR has provided us with a single source of HR truth. The platform’s analytics has saved the HR team 60% of their time that was previously spent on conducting analyses.

Belinda Maybury


Belinda Maybury


HR Manager, Sheldon Interiors

  1. Improved efficiency: Streamlining processes and setting up automated workflows for onboarding, policy sign-offs, compliance, performance check-ins, reminders, and follow-ups, helps you cut out the busy work and stop the paper chase.

  2. Accessibility: You and your HR team can access the HR system anywhere, anytime. Employees can too via self-service, giving them the agency and flexibility to update their details, log work, and complete training as needed (removing the HR burden!).

  3. Secure, single source of truth: Store and access documents in one platform. Before implementing intelliHR’s cloud-based HR system, Coffee Supreme stored employee information across multiple Google drives, often in multiple versions. Moving to a cloud-based system allowed them to store, track, manage and measure employee info, goals, and performance data as well as organisational resources and documents in one centralised place.

  4. Make better, faster decisions: Make data-driven decisions with confidence. By storing all their HR information in one place with powerful analytics, Coffee Supreme can now easily analyse investments, make recommendations, and take informed action based on data.

Now that we have intelliHR, it’s really easy to make data-driven decisions.

Olivia Ihimaera-Dawkins


Olivia Ihimaera-Dawkins


Performance & Culture, Coffee Supreme

  1. Greater functionality and reliability: A key benefit of cloud tools is that they take care of the development, maintenance, and security of the software. They are constantly working to build new features, fix issues, and enhance the product, all you need to worry about is using it.

  2. Scalability: Cloud-based tools usually offer different pricing tiers based on the level of usage or company size, so you only pay for what you use, and they grow with you. Additionally, because cloud-based software providers are constantly updating and upgrading their software, you’ll always have access to the latest features to facilitate your growth.

  3. Connect with other HR tools: Create your own HR tech cloud ecosystem of tools that talk to each other via API integration. For example, real estate and property services company, MICM, created a HR tech ecosystem that shares data between their HR system (intelliHR), payroll, recruitment system, and contracting software. This not only saves them a huge amount of time, but reduces the chance of error from copying data between two systems. Check out their HR ecosystem map below to see how it works and read their story here.

We’ve just gone live with the contract automation through PandaDoc which has been a game-changer. Our contracts are now drawn-up automatically and our person and job records are done straight away through the API with JobAdder.


Amy Maiolo


General Manager People and Culture, MICM

The result: Spend more time on strategic HR

Cloud-based tools are considered strategic HR tools because together, all the benefits we just discussed, allow HR teams to save time spent on unnecessary tasks. This leaves more time for strategic HR functions like employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and retention, as well as the creativity and mental space to plan, implement, evaluate, and improve.

Switching to cloud-based from legacy systems

If you’re ready to level up your HR strategy and migrate away from your legacy system to cloud-based tools for strategic HR, there’s more to it than signing on the dotted line and turning it on. Too many software implementations go awry without a proper change management plan to steer the ship and get staff on board.

READ NEXT: Implementation: How to ensure your new HR System doesn’t fall short

Change management tips

To inform your change management plan, ask the following questions:

  • How will you manage the implementation? Will you manage it in-house or will you enlist the help of experts? intelliHR offers implementation and professional services packages that include a dedicated customer success manager who will lead the entire process, including workshops, custom-build, training, and go-live. Also, consider if you’ll use spreadsheets, google docs, or a dedicated project management tool to track tasks and milestones, and where conversations and communication about the implementation will occur (e.g. email, a Slack channel, regular meetings).

  • Who are the key stakeholders and who will be involved? Do you need a working group or a team to obtain input on the requirements and set-up? If you decide you do, try to include employees of different teams, departments, seniority, and skill level.

  • How will you manage staffing changes that arise from the new software? Automation is obviously a good thing, but if it results in the elimination of or changes to roles, this needs to be handled with care.

  • How will you engage with employees around the introduction of your new tool? The ADKAR framework below is a useful way to map this out.

The ADKAR Framework

Optimise employees’ adoption of and success on your new platform using the ADKAR (Awareness, Adoption, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) framework.

Awareness. Inform the relevant staff about the who, what, when, where, how, and why (i.e. the vision for the software).

Desire. “Sell” the software to staff by communicating its benefits.

Knowledge. Provide training and resources to equip employees to effectively use the tool.

Ability. Build capability on the system by providing opportunities to use it. You might run a pilot where some teams are trained first to become advocates/experts, or run open training sessions in a phased roll-out. Consider how employees can ask questions, log issues, and provide feedback.

Reinforcement. Once the system has launched, how will you ensure employees continue to use it and follow the proper processes? How will you measure success?