It was only a matter of time before the production and application of technology within people management reached new heights in South Africa – and it has now reached the clouds, to be more specific, writes Markus Bucher, CEO of Swicon360.

The introduction and advent of cloud-based, virtual infrastructure to deliver Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services and support Human Capital Management (HCM) represents genuine progress in this competitive field.
It is a trend that has captured the interest of major operators and influential players in the marketplace.
Advanced technology solution development and distribution amongst many key industries reflects the overall growth of HCM and the priority this area of business management holds amongst decision makers.
Human resource management is entirely integrated with virtual infrastructure in the cloud. It is now possible to invest in a collection of services, centralised, all-encompassing offerings that are consistently available and promote access to the very best in international HCM practices.
It is not surprising that human resources development, incorporating people skills development, training and recruitment, has been quickly assimilated into the virtual services arena.  
Part of the reason is because businesses, across all industries and sectors, have to adhere to a radically different HR market space.  Practical issues such as work/life balance, mobility, access to data, new systems are juxtaposed with legislation pertaining to corporate governance – including data archiving, storage, retrieval and manipulation.
In addition, other factors such as the global credit crunch, significantly lower levels of economically active citizens, skills shortage, the need to improve operations and sustain levels of service all influence the overall picture.
This means that decision makers can no longer rely on traditional, outdated systems to comply with regulation and compete effectively in the modern corporate environment.
The focus from a solution development point of view, encompassing integration, application and support, is to provide a sound mechanism for the forecasting, planning and hiring of the best talent.
It is our assertion that this realisation and level of awareness of HCM, its implication and influence on system development and integration could not have taken place at a better time.
This is because South Africa stands at the threshold of a golden opportunity to advertise and demonstrate its capability in terms of advancing business using next-generation technologies as well as existing and emerging trends. At the heart of this opportunity is people and skills development.
There is certainly a need for this level of service and support, without having to negotiate upfront investment.
The popularity of virtual or cloud-based HCM demonstrates real achievement and shows the level of capability and skills that service providers and solution suppliers must have to innovate and secure market share.
In addition to this facet of infrastructure development and integration, there are a number of other exciting developments taking place.
Consider the implications of the rollout of ‘pay-as-you-use’ solutions, based on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ approach to acquiring HR management services. Clearly, the realm of HCM technology integration and adoption has matured.
This has reinforced already stringent levels of competition amongst competitors and pressure to deliver with the resources available.
As long as markets continue to expand and investors seek out credible, cost-effective services and the role of ICT remains as prominent as it is at present, there is every reason to feel upbeat about virtual HR and payroll services. It bodes well for the establishment and growth of HCM as the mainstay and key differentiator within modern business management.
Ultimately, however many advantages a solution or technology may feature, the fact remains that effective delivery of service and value-add to any organisation is based on the credibility, resources and ‘firepower’ of a services partner.