Software as a Service (SaaS) is quickly moving from “the next new thing” to “the way things are done”. More and more business operations, from accounting to project management, are being done with cloud-based services that require only a computer (or mobile device) and Internet service to access. With cloud servers becoming more and more secure (and site-based servers becoming less so), single-person start-ups and multinational corporations alike are trusting major business processes to cloud-based services.

Human resources management (HRM) and Human Capital Management (HCM) together form one of the fastest-growing and most prolific SaaS markets. In the past several years, thousands of companies have emerged offering cloud-based programs to help businesses manage every aspect of employment. Some specialize in recruiting and hiring while others focus on payroll and timekeeping; some offer benefits management while others focus on Core HR. Processes related to onboarding, scheduling, promotions, even performance reviews, can be automated and documents and forms accessed by multiple individuals in multiple departments as needed. Many of these services offer mobile platforms and employee portals for companies on the go.

These services can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection, update and back up automatically, and scale easily as businesses grow. Most are customizable and can be reconfigured as a company’s needs change, plus they often are designed to integrate with software for other functions, creating a cohesive process that begins with recruitment and retains relevant data and documents through retirement. Perhaps most significantly, the “service” part of SaaS means that companies no longer need to keep IT staff on hand just to update and fix their aging HR systems. Keeping things up-to-date is now the job of the software/service provider.

So what are the common functions of HR software? Here's a handy breakdown from TrustRadius: