First what is Cloud?
Cloud computing allows many customers to connect to a single point of access in order to use internet based tools without having to install them on their own server infrastructure. These tools made available on the Internet are managed and upgraded by the provider. In other terms you will avoid to do complex and costly upgrades like you did with in-house based ERP systems. By definition storage capabilities are flexible and infinite because providers can extend their capabilities and use the powerful Internet environment.
Many Cloud based tools are “multi-tenants” meaning multiple clients are using the same environment and therefore all new features or new versions are accessible for all customers at the same time.
Cloud can be Public, Private or Hybrid.
Private Cloud won’t allow you to benefit from the providers’ upgrade. Hybrid cloud is usually a mix of Public Cloud connected to in-house tools or as said “On-Premise” tools.
Tools like SuccessFactors (SAP), Workday or Oracle Fusion are located in Public Cloud. Public cloud doesn’t mean unsecured! Your data are secured with many security layers and programs.
You can find additional information regarding Cloud computing on Wikipedia.
What are the services available in the Cloud?
There are multiple layers that compose an end user service. Basically you will find the following services or layers:
SaaS (Software as a Service) and BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) are layers available for end users whereas IaaS (Infrastructure as as Service) and PaaS (Plateform as a Services) are technical layers respectively servers or storage capabilities and middleware systems or softwares.
You will sometime see DBaaS services as well (Data Base as a Service) but they usually are part of the PaaS layer or directly embedded in the SaaS tool.
SaaS HCM tools?
Many Human Capital Management (HCM) tools are now available in Software as a Service (SaaS) mode, like:
- SuccessFactors (SAP)
- Oracle Fusion
- EPICOR HCM
BPaaS tools and services?
Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) outsourced services performed by third parties based on the SaaS tool you are using. Usually these services are provided from resources within a Shared Services Center.
The Business Processes and activities performed by the BPaaS provider are defined by contract which includes Service Level Agreement (SLA).
These services can be customized if the SaaS tool you are using includes “Business Process Modeling” (BPM) capabilities. The BPM module allows you to design the Business Processes with all activities that need to be performed and who is responsible for execution.
If not embedded in your SaaS HCM tool many external “Business Process Modeling” softwares are available on the market but you have to make sure they are compliant with your SaaS HCM tool. Some external BPM tools:
- Blueworks Live (IBM)
- Tibco Spotfire
This document gives you very detailed information about BPM Technologies.