SOCIAL IN THE ORACLE HCM CLOUD - PART 1

Contact for post: Mark Bennett

Social media is a reality for all organizations – whether you are ready to embrace it or not. Most are aware of the benefits of using social/collaborative technologies internally - like improved productivity, engagement, innovation, streamlining communication, and facilitating collaboration. All of which break down traditional silos and bring previously unknown knowledge and expertise to the "extended networked enterprise." 

Most enterprises however do not have a deliberate or successful approach for using social technologies internally in support of their strategy. Why? Because they have not addressed the barriers to adoption, enabled the right technologies, or perhaps most importantly, correlated their efforts to actual business results.

Mobile adoption fuels social reality. This killer combination gives progressive organizations the ability to minimize transactional headaches and embrace the true power of social media. Surveys show social is an inherently mobile experience.

The Oracle Social HCM Cloud is unique because it underlies the entire Oracle Suite of Applications. This unified approach facilitates adoption because it is an intrinsic part of all of your enterprise applications. It delivers greater value by combining the power of social-enabled applications on top of a cross-functional, social platform that extends across both internal and external networks. 

WHY HASN’T SOCIAL WORKED WELL?

More and more companies are using social media and most are reporting some benefit, but the true potential is largely unmet. Why? The reasons are multifold, but generally fall into the following major categories:

  • Lack of participation – There are enough barriers to adoption that participation in social technologies in many companies is still very low. Low participation greatly reduces the value of social and creates a downward spiral: if there is insufficient participation, newcomers cannot find what they are looking for and leave to never return.
  • Inefficient utilization – You can have participation, but the tools used can be the wrong ones or not very good at facilitating collaboration, which makes participants have to put forth more effort than necessary to get their work done.
  • Ineffective collaboration – People can participate and collaborate in social, but all their energies can still end up not effectively contributing to the achievement of business objectives. This happens because the connection between collaboration efforts and business objectives is too tenuous.

Obviously, these reasons are interconnected; if the tools are inefficient, or the collaboration ineffective, the social efforts will eventually falter or at least not gain traction, which can result in a vicious circle of low participation leading to ineffective collaboration leading to benefits not being realized leading back to low participation.

WHAT HAVE OTHERS TRIED?

You must understand your software vendors’ heritage and maturity to ensure it aligns with your long term social-enabled application strategy. The approaches vendors are taking range from emphasizing the out and out replacement of system of record talent management systems in favor of pure play social technologies to traditional system of record vendors cobbling together existing applications with social technologies in an attempt to “modernize” for the new way of getting work done: 

  • Point solutions with embedded social tools in their talent management offering.

    • Pros: Closely connects social to a particular task. Normally applicable for a division or group at a large enterprise where there is no long-term talent strategy.

    • Cons: Pure systems of engagement solutions don’t correlate talent metrics to business outcomes. More often than not they just introduce another social technology to the enterprise that will not be used. Why? The discussions on the network are still isolated interactions that don’t add ongoing value to the enterprise. They invest a lot in extending specific functions to incorporate social organically, but the silos that were supposed to be broken down by social often still remains.

  • Best of breed and application suite vendors partnering and integrating with 3rd party social platform provide.

    • Pros: Addresses the system of engagement silo issue by connecting the various parts of the suite and/or point solutions to one social platform.

    • Cons: Integration between the applications and the platform is lightweight and often limited to having to retrofit the application or create adapters that allow people on the network to “follow” various business objects in the system of record. Ongoing, there is always the issue of keeping everybody in sync as the platform advances in one direction while the different app vendors move in another.

  • Application vendors acquiring a 3rd party social platform.

    • Pros: Addresses the coordination, prioritization, and resulting lightweight integration issue by investing in the deeper integration of the applications into the platform. The theory is that by being part of the same company, there should be fewer issues with coordination and prioritization.

    • Cons: While there might be fewer issues, since the applications and social platform started from different points, it will take time and several iterations to work out the differences in design models before the promise is fulfilled.

ORACLE’S APPROACH: PROVIDE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

To truly obtain the best of both worlds, of social-enabled applications fully integrated on a social platform, Oracle has designed its applications from the beginning to be social as well as provided a social platform that supports the unique and demanding needs of enterprise collaboration.

Oracle’s suite solution on top of native social offers customers the greatest capability in bringing the power of social into HCM. By being part of the enterprise platform “fabric”, social is woven throughout all business processes, not just HCM. Furthermore, and most overlooked by the competition, even those interactions that might not be directly part of a business process are still implicitly linked to a business context and therefore can continue to add ongoing value to the enterprise long after the interactions are done. A prime example is that by analyzing the interactions on the Oracle Social Network around say, an area of expertise, that analysis can be used to enhance the system of record to reflect which individuals exhibit that expertise. This analysis could likewise be used for competencies, customer knowledge, thought leadership, etc.

In addition, the enhanced capabilities of the Oracle Social Network compared to other vendor social platforms greatly amplify the benefit of Oracle Social HCM. For instance, the intrinsic use of Conversations rather than forcing all updates and discussions into one Activity Stream greatly reduces the “information overload” or “noise” problems that plague enterprise social network users and negatively impact their productivity. These Conversations also serve as a perfect focal point for the business object or process context around which collaboration occurs.

All the various vendor approaches are inherently faced with the challenges of heterogeneous social tool environments – what to do if multiple social networks are in use in the enterprise. However, by having a suite solution on top of a native social platform, Oracle can focus on extending that platform to create interoperability with other social tools. For instance, Oracle’s OSN can address customer needs around Sharepoint integration and the entire Oracle application suite benefits from this.

Next up: Part 2 describes Oracle’s Social HCM Cloud solution in more detail and how it addresses the challenges customers face and helps them better leverage the opportunities in bringing social into the workplace.

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