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Fit For The Future: The Keys to a Successful Cloud HCM Rollout

Fit For The Future: The Keys to a Successful Cloud HCM Rollout

Moving to human capital management (HCM) cloud-based solutions promises big returns on investment - but not all companies are prepared to evolve and adapt at the speed required for a successful system deployment.

Cloud software implementations have become very quick, and unlike software deployments in the past, where IT took the lead, cloud deployments are generally left in the hands of HR. And because of HR’s relative lack of experience with deploying, maintaining and tracking new software, there are several pitfalls that should be avoided if the new system is going to be a success.

Understand the disruptive effects

An HR organization in charge of a new HCM deployment needs to have a clear understanding of what the system can actually achieve. How much ongoing maintenance is required, and where is that support going to come from? Are there proper team planning and governance models in place?

A new system also means that there are going to be new ways of working. Processes need to be changed to reflect the new system, because implementing bad processes just amplifies any negative effects of the installation.

An HCM cloud implementation must also take into account the new relationship between IT and HR. It's no longer IT taking the lead, and HR must have a clear understanding of what it has taken on with the new project.

Indicators of business readiness

It’s not a good idea to go into a new HCM cloud deployment with blinders on. The new project, and the project and governance team, must have a clear idea of the end vision. What will the system look like, how will it integrate into existing processes and what new processes need to be developed so the system can fulfil its promise?

There also needs to be internal governance in place, as well as the establishment of a data-driven culture within the company to take advantage of the data generated by the new system.

Finally, the new HCM project can't run in a silo. It has to interoperate with existing HR systems such as payroll, general ledger and workforce management. A project running in a silo is bound to fail.

Getting it right – a checklist

A successful HCM cloud implementation starts with identifying the resources needed. Have bandwidth expectations been set appropriately? Roles and responsibilities of the implementation and governance teams need to made clear, and finally, the entire enterprise must be involved and take ownership of the new project.

Secondly, it’s vital to build a foundational structure where everything stems from the organizational structure. It must also be made clear to the regions that they must adopt and not adapt the new system to their various requirements.

Thirdly, there must be common definitions for organizational and employee data, along with common process workflows, and common business metrics and reporting requirements.

Finally, it’s absolutely vital there is organizational change management and training for all users - not just the project and governance teams.


With these factors in mind, an organization can make a successful HCM cloud implementation where HR, and not IT takes the lead and is responsible for the outcome. A successful HCM rollout is like the cement needed to build a house – having this reinforcement will not only unify all aspects of the business, but will also engender a stronger organization in the long run.

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Emily leads Presence of IT’s People Practice in North America, where she oversees a team of strategy oriented, product agnostic consultants to provide thought leadership, process improvement, and adoption services across the full spectrum of HCM technologies. Emily started her career in U.S. politics before embarking on her career in the talent management and HCM consulting industry. For more information visit

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