There are many HR tech trends impacting employers and the world of work at the moment, from the escalating importance of AI and automation to new methods of data collection and people analytics.

One of the most significant themes of all for today's HR managers is the growth of cloud computing, which has the potential to affect organizations and their workforces in many ways.

This technology is already having an impact on the world of work and will become even more important in the coming years.

the growing cloud

There is a strong chance your business is already involved in some way with the cloud, whether it's for relatively simple tasks like file storage and sharing, or more complex projects such as managing and analyzing large quantities of data.

In the coming years, most organizations will see their reliance on the cloud increase, and the many possible uses of this technology will become increasingly clear.

According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market will expand by 17.3% in 2019, reaching a total value of $206.2 billion, up from $175.8 billion in 2018.

Separate research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), which focused on trends in the United Kingdom, showed that business spending on cloud infrastructure has overtaken investment in on-premise legacy infrastructure for the first time.

Alex Hilton, chief executive officer of CIF, said companies in the UK 'clearly recognize the need for transformation' and are beginning to 'leave legacy technologies behind in favor of next-generation technologies as they pursue competitive advantage'.

'Cloud is critical to this shift, thanks not only to the flexibility of the delivery model, but also the ease with which servers can be provisioned, which reduces financial and business risk,' he added.

The rising importance of the cloud means employers will be looking for people with the relevant skills and experience to leverage this technology for maximum business benefit. According to LinkedIn, cloud computing know-how is the hard skill companies will have the greatest need for in 2019.

making the cloud work for you

Cloud computing has vast potential to optimize some of your core business processes and deliver big improvements in speed and efficiency.

One clear example is the storage, processing and analysis of data. This is becoming increasingly important for the HR function, but it can be costly and challenging if you are reliant on legacy IT infrastructure. This is particularly true for large organizations that have to manage huge amounts of workforce data.

Mr Hilton of CIF noted that the cloud has an unrivaled ability to 'explore the value of vast, unstructured data sets'. He also pointed out that this is an 'essential' requirement for firms that are stepping up their investment in the Internet of Things and AI.

Cloud computing can help your business become more efficient by providing the platform for single, unified applications to support various functions, whether it's evaluating applications in the recruitment process, conducting performance reviews, or tracking training and development projects.

Moreover, it can have a hugely beneficial effect on internal communication, collaboration and data-sharing. If, in the past, your organization has experienced problems with teams separating into silos and not working together as effectively as they could, the cloud can help to address this. It enables the centralization and sharing of data, and removes barriers that might have appeared in the past due to inflexible on-site IT infrastructure.

Perhaps most importantly of all, getting onboard with cloud computing can give your organization the power to keep up with technological growth and innovation. This is more important now than ever before, not only to keep pace with your competitors, but to meet the evolving needs and expectations of your customers.

Innovation is easier with the cloud because there is no need to make wholesale, expensive changes in your software and IT estate. Cloud computing is infinitely more agile and adaptable than on-premise legacy infrastructure, enabling businesses to make regular updates and changes without suffering major time and cost disadvantages.

If harnessing the full power and potential of the cloud will be a priority for your organization in the coming years, you need to have the right skills and abilities in your workforce to make this a reality.

As highlighted by LinkedIn, professionals with proven expertise in this space are in high demand, so you need to be sure that your talent acquisition strategies are designed to deliver results.

Innovative methods in the recruitment process - such as gamification and assessment of cognitive and emotional traits - are likely to prove more important than ever in the race for skilled cloud professionals.

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