HR grapples concept of cloud computing







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Is it a cloud? Is it a utility? Is it software as a service? Well, for many in HR concerned with technology, IT services on demand could be any of those three.


As Craig Taylor, head of marketing at IT services specialist Logica said in a presentation on software as a service, cloud computing
is the delivery of IT services on demand when customers need them.

“There’s a lot of hype around cloud,” he told an audience of about 40 delegates at last month’s HR Software Show at London’s Olympia exhibition centre. “Some people think it’s putting everything on a utility service. However, we think there will be a commoditised approach with back-office functions – payroll, record keeping etc. – in the cloud.”

He denied that cloud is a fad. “It’s very attractive in this climate as you can switch it on and off and it offers scalability and pay-as-you-go functionality.”

Using technology to cut costs is nothing new – a survey on the global adoption of cloud computing by Kelton Research 
found 54% of responding organisations are using it to cut costs, though fear of security threats and loss of control are holding back adoption. But 44% of respondents said they were using cloud for back-office HR functions such as recruitment management.

Taylor’s co-presenter, Brian Cormican, HR consultant at Oracle, said the rise of cloud and software as a service would see the emergence of HR IT specialists over the next five years. “They would need to have feet in both camps,” he said.
 
Cormican added that such a person would likely have worked in HR first before acquiring IT expertise, rather than the other way round. He also forecast that HR applications will have to be accessible through mobile devices such as phones, iPads and other hand-held devices.

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