Why Salesforce is the future for cloud HR software
In 2010, when we started building our HR software on the Salesforce cloud, some saw it as a gamble.
We didn’t. We don't gamble.
At the time, Salesforce was already a leader in sales CRM and Financial Force had built an outstanding finance platform to operate alongside it.
The XCD team realised that the underlying qualities and powerful functionality of the platform could be harnessed to help them build the first single solution for HR & Payroll, delivering much-needed flexibility and configuration to public and private sector organisations.
What have we achieved in doing this?
Our entire philosophy revolves around making life simpler for our customers. And when we built the first XCD HR software, we understood that a cloud-delivered solution could eliminate many of the on-premise HR software complexities.
Headaches like arduous implementation, expensive licenses and upgrades, disaster recovery and IT support and maintenance would be alleviated through the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
And it’s not only proved easier to manage, but easier to use too. Salesforce is one of the most popular, if not the most popular cloud platforms in the world today. And one of the key drivers of that popularity is the ease with which everyone from enterprise executives to small business owners can learn how to use it and quickly gain business benefit, agility and insight.
Strategically, that simplicity is also important when it comes to encouraging take-up within an organisation. Now employees use technology to manage virtually every aspect of their lives, through platforms that are carefully designed to provide a seamless user experience, the systems we ask them to engage with at work should also offer that level of user experience, through both desktop and mobile interfaces.
Building on Salesforce meant we could harness the billions of dollars of investment and improvement being ploughed into the platform, while we knew we were joining a worldwide ecosystem of developers all working to address different business challenges.
Unrivalled customisation and analytics
Because no two organisations are the same, Salesforce’s renowned configurability means our software is usually a jumping off point for HR and technology professionals in an organisation to collaborate with our specialists around innovative ways the platform can alleviate their unique challenges.
And once you have your ideal configuration, Salesforce’s powerful analytics capabilities let managers and organisational leaders access instant, automated reports and dashboards that quickly and simply visualise the big picture, highlight key performance factors and reveal strategic insight.
These customisable people analytics tools don’t require a degree in data science to leverage, they’re plugged into the underlying platform automatically – regardless of which standard functionality or configuration you have created - to provide fact-based strategic insight on workforce strategy.
You might be interested in our blog: What's the difference between reporting and analytics?
Security and compliance
Salesforce is a highly trusted secure platform that offers users a raft of options to secure their data, manage multiple-level access and track user behaviour.
This is a crucial consideration, because for most organisations, HCM constitutes the biggest data security risk, owing to the personally identifiable nature of the information it holds. Addresses, salaries, bank details, medical information, it’s a minefield, and if you’re storing all this locally on spreadsheets, the chances of it being shared either accidentally or maliciously are vastly increased.
Running our software on Salesforce means our customers benefit from the platform’s stringent information security, various role-based security and access options that ensure only the right people can view sensitive data, and audit controls that enable admins to track what is accessed and edited, by who, and when.
It means compliance with stringent GDPR regulations is much less of a headache, and our customers can claim adherence to globally recognised security frameworks like Cyber Essentials and ISO27001. And because data is digitised and centralised as part of the cloud implementation, subject access requests, storage and retention policies are comparatively simple to establish and execute.
You might be interested in: The cost and likelihood of inaccuracy in manual data handling.
Closing the gap between Customer Experience and Employee Experience
Customer success starts with employee engagement. It starts with frontline employees who are trained, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and who buy in to their company’s purpose, their brand’s reputation and their customers’ satisfaction.
But employee engagement is a measurement of how people feel about their job, their employer, their colleagues, their working environment. How do you influence that? With Employee Experience (EX).
So, if employee engagement is the measurement, EX is the strategy; it’s a question, how do we want our employees to feel, and what do we need to provide for them to feel it?
Salesforce was designed to streamline, automate and optimise an organisation’s ability to deliver great customer experience through CRM. The founders of XCD understood the parallels and harnessed the platform to create a solution that could do the same for employees. They turned CRM into ERM.
Being part of the digital future
According to IDG’s 2018 Cloud Computing Survey, by the end of 2019, nine out of ten organisations will be running at least part of their operation in the cloud.
It’s often IT that drives cloud adoption. The cloud is attractive to them because it saves time and generates improvements in service delivery. Cloud system management is far less of a burden for an in-house IT team than on-premise, while well-executed cloud platforms also tick boxes when it comes to speed of development, future proofing and total cost of ownership.
Research from PWC suggests that 40% of organisations already host their coreHR in the cloud, and nearly a third of those who don’t are actively planning to. HR respondents to the PWC research reported that adoption of self-service tools and the subsequent elimination of unnecessary administration freed up their time to concentrate on proactive strategic tasks, while a fifth said cloud adoption had led to a fall in HR costs.
And there’s another part of the digital future that makes sense in the Salesforce cloud, the integration possibilities for different internal departments. Our software turns HR & Payroll into a single operation, but Salesforce makes this integration is possible for multiple business units, like sales and finance, resource planning and marketing.
For CEOs and those with a high-altitude view of organisational performance, this offers a chance to get the different components of their organisation all singing from the same data and systems hymn-sheet. Gartner calls this approach ‘post-modern ERP’, and the benefits include increased operational efficiency, better employee engagement, more visibility and enhanced decision making.
The future of business technology is single-platform strategy, an ecosystem of available applications you can choose to solve your business problems, not a monolithic single vendor solution. It’s multiple disciplines, running on a single platform, like Salesforce; with leaders able to easily access one source of objective truth, accessible through a seamless user experience.
That’s the future. And it’s exciting to be part of it.
Download our new guide, 'Moving HR & Payroll to cloud'.
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As a journalist, Matt covered business and people management for over ten years. Today, he writes about how technology is making life simpler for organisations and their employees.