6 Questions to Ask Your Cloud HRMS Vendor

HR is in the cloud. In fact, it almost feels as if soon it may be difficult to find non-cloud HRMS software. But just because something is becoming the new norm does not mean that there aren’t questions for cloud HRMS vendors to answer…

Are You a 'Pure-Play' Cloud HRMS Vendor or Do You Offer a Mix of Options?

With the cloud being so easy (and cheap) to provide, there are many cloud HRMS vendors who have set up exclusively cloud product portfolios; many of these are new startups on the cutting edge of the market. That’s attractive but you have to balance that with the risk of going with a relatively young and unproven provider. This question should lead you into issues of business stability which you need to be reassured on.

Where Will My Data Be?

At least with an on-site system, you can point to a server and say, my data is here. In the cloud, you don’t always know. Ask where the data center is that your provider uses. Ask about uptime and access. Ask about the service level agreement. Ask about the center’s business continuity plan. Ask about the security measures.

What about the 3 S's: Security, Security, Security?

You need to see copies of the cloud HRMS vendor’s SSAE 16 audit certification or something similar that endorses their internal systems and controls? It’s also worth asking about which other providers might be in your ‘data chain’ – your SaaS provider may be buying PaaS capabilities from another provider who in turn is leasing infrastructure (IaaS) from a third provider who in turn is renting space in a shared data center.

How Do I Benefit Cost-Wise?

What is the TCO or total cost of ownership? Cloud applications are tempting because of the lack of a license fee or the need to have your own (expensive) hardware but what about hidden or indirect costs, such as consultants, vendor fees, system maintenance, or even staff time?

How Quickly Can It Be Implemented?

The best answer to this question is not necessarily the fastest. While rapid implementation is often cited as a major advantage of cloud HRMS systems, it’s not just a case of getting the system functioning, your return on investment depends on having people who can use the new system correctly and skilfully – what about stakeholder engagement and user training – who takes responsibility for that?

How Configurable Is This System Really?

Cloud/SaaS HRMS systems carry a reputation for being highly configurable, agile, flexible and so on and certainly, most vendors avoid going the ‘off-the-shelf’ route. However, the more bespoke the product, either the more it costs you or the less profit the vendor makes. Either way, there is a clear financial driver for cloud HRMS vendors to put limits on the capabilities on offer. As part of the selection process, you need to establish exactly what and where those limits are.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall