Skip links

Best Practices for Migrating to the Cloud

Migrating from your on-premises human capital management (HCM) system to the cloud, or switching between HCM vendors once you’re there, can be daunting if you aren’t prepared.

Data must be migrated properly, processes and workflows reviewed and optimized, and any functionality gaps resolved before you go live. Plus, software vendors may impose their own restrictions on the migration process, such as limits on the number of existing records you can bring with you.

Add in security and compliance obligations, as well as the need to ensure a top-notch user experience for your HR team and employees, and you have a recipe for potential issues if a detailed and realistic plan isn’t in place.

A 2019 survey of HR leaders found that their average satisfaction with cloud-based HCM was only 3.3 out of a possible 5. Almost two-thirds also felt that their technology was only “fair” at supporting their main objectives. It’s also common see implementations go over budget and take longer than expected.

Fortunately, the results can be much better when you have the right cloud migration strategy in place, backed by an experienced business partner.


First Step: Defining Your Cloud Migration Strategy

Building your cloud migration strategy starts with identifying the right objectives.

Let’s say you’re looking to replace costly legacy systems, reduce complexity, and address the needs of your increasingly mobile or remote workforce. To reach these goals and any others you’ve set, you will then need the right overall combination of technologies, processes, and people:


Review your network infrastructure to make sure it can reliably and securely connect your workers to cloud-based HCM. Configure protections like multifactor authentication and check if your local and wide area networks are up to the task, too. Check to see if employees need new devices or peripherals for an optimal experience.


Given the complexity of on-prem HCM solutions and their associated workforce processes, take the opportunity to reevaluate them and decide which ones you will and won’t move to the cloud. Doing so will also help you decide if a “big bang,” phased or hybrid approach is best. Big bang usually refers to migrating all processes simultaneously, a phased methodology entails moving them in stages and a hybrid one involves keeping some processes on-prem.


Conduct in-depth training that can bring both in-office and remote employees up to speed. Videoconferences can help here. To gain buy-in, consider setting up chatbots that can assist workers with common questions and, in turn, streamline the adoption process.

Next, it’s time to get more granular and make a plan for managing your historical records throughout the migration journey.

Enjoying Coffee & Compliance?

Subscribe to our blog to receive the latest in HR & Payroll compliance.

Next Step: Managing Employee Data During HCM System Transitions

The CIC Plus team has seen many organizations overlook the importance of properly managing historical employee data during either a cloud migration or other HCM system transition (e.g., from one cloud platform to another). This oversight can lead to unexpected costs and increased complexity, not to mention compliance issues.

For example, if you are migrating from on-prem to the cloud, your HCM provider might prefer to move only recent employee records, while keeping everything else archived in separate systems. But maintaining historical data repositories can be costly — not only in terms of the infrastructure involved, but also because of the increased chance of error when navigating and copying between systems. Alternatively, if you’re moving from one cloud system to another, timelines and vendor restrictions may limit what you can actually migrate.

Additional complications often include:

  • The time and effort needed to maintain proper, working formatting of historical pay and tax data as it’s shifted across disparate HCM and storage solutions.
  • Regulatory obligations related to record retention, like the three-year period for your I-9s, plus requirements for general record keeping of W-2s and W-4s.
  • The ongoing evolution of these HR rules and regulations at all levels of government, with a sea of changing local, state, and federal statutes and updates on I-9s as well as other forms.
  • Ensuring the security and compliance of every employee-facing access system without also making them too difficult to use.
  • Managing records for employees who have left the company but still need access.

Ideally, you will be able to configure a single, streamlined, and fully compliant location that stores and enables access to historical records as needed by both current and departed employees. The CIC Cloud Transition Service (CTS) offers this all-in-one capability for all your employee records.

Last Step: Making a Safe, Efficient Transition to the HR Cloud or Between HCM Systems

The CIC Plus CTS can be your go-to option, whether you are making an initial HR cloud migration or deciding to change your HCM system provider.

Not only does CTS make managing employee records during platform migrations easier, but it also sets you up for long-term success by preserving the pay and tax records you need in the right formats and on a secure, scalable platform beyond the company firewall. It helps you overcome the technological and operational challenges that otherwise bog down many cloud migrations and transitions. Incompatible systems? Intimidating user experiences? Tons of complexity? Not with our Cloud Transition Service.

Moreover, CTS makes life easier for HR teams by sparing them the trouble of needing to track down and deliver records on their own, which would otherwise become a recurring issue. For instance, HR can use it to easily provide secure access to former employees, who can get the records they require without having to be granted access to active HR systems. In this way, the Cloud Transition Service strikes the right balance between security and user experience.

Interested in making the transition to the cloud?

As you think about your next platform transition, the CIC Plus team can help. Learn more about the Cloud Transition Service, or reach out to us to schedule a demo.

Contact Our Team