The team from H3 HR Advisors spent some time with the Oracle team at the recent Oracle CloudWorld event in Las Vegas. CloudWorld is kind of a whirlwind, with tens of thousands of attendees descending for three days of technology, innovation, networking and more – and in 2023 the size and scope of the event was incredible, certainly harkening back to that “big” event feel from prior to the pandemic.
While we loved the main stage keynotes from Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison, our focus was on Oracle Cloud HCM – we wanted to get the latest on product updates, customer success, and where the HCM team is investing for the future. In a word, we came out impressed. Oracle Cloud HCM continues to lead the HCM space in the areas that should matter most to customers – product vision, demonstrable customer success, user and employee experience, a full-suite of applications covering all important HCM functions and understanding of the most important trends influencing the world of work. Let’s take a look at a few of the key highlights from CloudWorld that HR leaders and organizations need to know.
Product Innovation and Execution
We’ve previously observed and noted that over the last five years or so, the pace of innovation at Oracle Cloud HCM has been remarkably consistent and sustained – even through the pandemic years when Oracle seemed to adapt seamlessly to disruptive conditions. The complete list of new applications, capabilities, localizations, and enhancements to the Oracle Cloud HCM suite would be impossible to list here, but even if we focus only on the “big” development wins, it’s clear that the product development, management, and strategy teams have hit their stride. Just a few recent examples of product innovation include:
(The award-winning) Oracle ME employee experience platform – delivering comprehensive and integrated employee experience capabilities and functions
Oracle Grow – new capabilities for employee learning and career development (also award-winning)
Oracle Workforce Scheduling and Workforce Labor Optimization, (among the most complex HCM application there is) – providing new demand-based scheduling across industries
Oracle Celebrate – a new application for employee rewards and recognition, (and one that will allow many customers to replace their third-party recognition tools)
Add to that list new analytics capabilities that improve insight and visibility into payroll, employee skills, and employee sentiment, and the continued rollout of more countries for native local payroll support, it’s clear that Oracle Cloud HCM continues to execute and deliver what its customers need, and what the market expects.
Design and User Experience
A few years back, the Oracle development team began a comprehensive redesign of their cloud applications under the direction of the Redwood Design System. The goal was to simplify the user’s experience with the applications, create consistency in the look and feel across applications, modernize the experience to be at least equal to, if not surpassing, modern consumer technologies, and be the foundation for software-supported enhanced employee experiences. At CloudWorld, Oracle HCM talked about the progress it has made implementing Redwood into the Oracle Cloud HCM suite, the benefits to customers with enhanced usability and extensibility, as well the external validation of the approach – as Redwood itself has been recognized for excellence in the design community.
The results of this major redesign are clear from the moment you begin using the Oracle Cloud HCM applications. The design is simple, the colors are attractive, the user interface is clean, and achieving familiarity and proficiency in accomplishing tasks, making updates, or discovering information is a quick, and even fun, process. In my in-the-moment notes at CloudWorld I observed, “The Oracle Cloud HCM look and feel with Redwood is the best UX in HCM.” I think that about sums it up.
One of the easiest ways to evaluate the capability and success of an enterprise product is to look at what the market response has been to said product. Having been on many myself, I’d say enterprise technology selection teams are thorough, thoughtful, and rigorous in their evaluation and decision-making processes. Looking at the brand names, employee counts (some in the hundreds of thousands), and applications implemented that Chris Leone, executive vice president, applications development at Oracle, shared with analysts (under NDA), it was incredibly impressive and validating of the Oracle Cloud HCM platform. Huge customer wins and recent go-lives from some of the world’s most successful and respected companies, from a cross-section of industries like retail, manufacturing, private sector, healthcare, transportation and more, illustrate the broad-based appeal and market fit of Oracle Cloud HCM. Clearly, there is significant and sustained momentum in the market for Oracle Cloud HCM.
Vision for the Future
The most talked about topic in HR technology is AI, specifically Generative AI. During the “Top HR Products” demonstrations this summer, we saw at least 20 different applications and approaches in the use of Generative AI for HR solutions. How any HR technology provider is incorporating Gen AI in their product plans is one of the most important questions that customers and prospects want to know, as it speaks to the provider’s vision for the future – how these game-changing capabilities will impact HR and workplaces.
At CloudWorld, Oracle communicated a compelling and thoughtful approach to embedding Generative AI in the HCM suite. As you can see in the slide (above) shared by Oracle, by first understanding and assessing the “Design Patterns” of Generative AI, i.e., what Gen AI is “good” at, and then applying these patterns to HCM use cases, Oracle Cloud HCM is building out a thorough and effective set of Gen AI supported functions and capabilities. But almost equally important, Oracle’s position as not just an applications company, but a full-stack enterprise technology partner, allows Oracle Cloud HCM to take advantage of Oracle’s massive infrastructure and investments in cloud services and large language models. Finally, since Generative AI is embedded in the Oracle Cloud HCM suite, and not added or bolted on, customers can activate these capabilities rapidly, essentially “turning on” the Gen AI tools as and when they are ready. Generative AI is one of the most exciting developments to impact HCM technology in ages, and Oracle is supremely well-positioned to be among the leaders, if not the leader, in putting Gen AI tools in the hands of HCM users and all employees moving forward.
The Oracle Cloud HCM team has established, and we think, strengthened its position as the leading enterprise-grade HCM provider, certainly for large, complex organizations. With a string of customer successes, product innovations, and having racked up an impressive string of industry awards, the momentum and market leadership of the Oracle Cloud HCM platform is apparent. Add in what we think is the best-looking and easiest to use set of HCM applications in the market, and it’s not surprising to see more of the US and the world’s leading organizations partnering with Oracle in support of their business and people goals. Thanks to Oracle for hosting the H3 HR Advisors team at CloudWorld and congratulations on a great year.
Additional H3 HR Advisors news from CloudWorld