While most retailers have given some thought to cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions, the underlying needs and anticipated benefits varies. In a previous blog, I shared high-level insights from Ceridian’s collaboration with Innovative Retail Technologies to survey more than 150 retail workforce managers. I want to hone in on the specific benefits our respondents felt cloud-based applications brought to their business.
When it comes to the top benefits retailers seek, there is a variance based on size. Merchants with more than 1,000 stores cite faster deployments and quicker ROI (61 percent), relief of IT bottlenecks and administrative burdens (52 percent), and continuous flow of innovation/application updates (44 percent) as the primary benefits of cloud-based applications. Merchants with fewer than 500 stores identify lower operating expense (versus capital expense) as the primary benefit of cloud-based applications, with “continuous flow of innovation/application updates” as a secondary benefit.
While large merchants may be a bit more focused on the productivity value than their smaller counterparts, retailers of all sizes recognize (even if less than half are currently using) the benefits of moving to the cloud.
Benefit #1 Faster deployments of cloud-based HCM solutions lead to a quicker ROI. Getting these solutions up and running requires less involvement (and stress) from IT resources. Once implemented, cloud solutions efficiently enable retailers to capture more value from their resources in a short time frame.
Benefit #2 Lower operating expense is a natural benefit born from Software as a Solution (SaaS) cloud-offerings. Outdated HCM systems obscure visibility into store performance metrics, making it difficult for managers to create the optimum schedules or allocate the best resources. By providing the right data at the right time, cloud-based applications can ensure accuracy, increase productivity, and help managers align resources.
Benefit #3 Having a continuous flow of application updates ensures retailers aren’t waiting around for the next release to experience solution enhancements. From an innovation perspective, modern cloud HCM systems strike the right balance of scientific modeling with pragmatic retail workforce understanding. Constant review cycles, customer feedback, and nimble development results in retailers receiving best practice solutions that are continually refreshed to reflect changes in the HCM marketplace.
While this didn’t surface as a “top 3” benefit within this research, a clear bonus benefit of cloud-based HCM solutions is how it enables employee engagement. Cloud-based HCM solutions put more flexibility in the hands of associates who can access their schedules, swap shifts, and update availability from anywhere. Retailers can support associates’ work-life balance by providing self-service, performance-based scheduling, and mobile access. However, as I noted in my previous post, the survey revealed a disconnect with retailers’ desire to focus on the employee experience and what they are actually offering with their HCM solution. In my next post, I’ll dig deeper into those results and discuss how retailers can use this insight to elevate the employee experience to the same level as the customer experience.