By mvaughan on Jan 31, 2013
By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
I follow the trends internal to Oracle and areas of hotspots, and nothing is a hotspot these days like Fusion HCM. With that in mind, I placed a call to Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President, Product Strategy, to get her take on the latest and greatest in Fusion HCM user experiences.
Be warned, Gretchen is a powerhouse of ideas. You ask her one question, and you need to be ready for the fire hose.
Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President, Product Strategy
Q: What would you like to highlight for readers about the Fusion HCM User Experience?
Gretchen: There are a couple of ways to think about how we have invested in the user experience of Fusion HCM.
A big investment for us is focusing on the role of the user, and what is best for them, and what they need up front to be productive -- whether that is an HR specialist, or a manager who runs his or her work on an iPad.
For example, how do we help end users who are not HR savvy to engage with HR systems? If you are a manager and you only interact with HR systems a few times a year, how do we make it so that when you open up Fusion and you get into it, you are guided? How do all the features get displayed according to what the goal is? If you are talking compensation management, you are used to working with Excel.
Let’s take that same format, grids, and content, but add in some more information to highlight exceptions, to give you better information in that moment to help you figure out if this person should be receiving more or less in a compensation adjustment.
Fusion HCM Manager UI
In contrast, think about a talent review process that’s a lot less structured. Typically it’s more of facilitated discussion. How do visualize information about people to help engage in a conversation? So, be less focused on structuring information.
These are two products for managers with very different end results and features, vs. that of the end user who is trying to do a job.
The other investment is in mobile, in terms of thinking of managers, and how they have moved to tablets, and what they have done.
I think the thing to really think about here is that when tablets were first introduced, there were a lot of questions about who these tools were for, and how did this change things. For many people, the ability to run Fusion, if they are thinking about a tablet as a replacement for a laptop, the fact that it runs in a browser helps. But if you are thinking about a tablet, and you are a manager, you are not necessarily connected to the Internet at all times.
You may take a look at your organization and see who is available to attend a meeting. Who you should you give an assignment to? If you are recruiting, you need to look at candidates, and look at top people, and look at where they are from a risk-management standpoint.
What’s really nice about Fusion TAP, if you are a manager and you do not need to separate out in your mind sales questions and HR questions, you stop opening up all different applications.
Fusion HCM Employee UI
We have also been investing from a social standpoint. Thinking about ways that people can network, can find mentors, or interact through group spaces. We want to change the way human capital management works for our customers -- to make it a tool that enables all sorts of workers.
For example, now in the ERP world, companies are talking about “the system of record” or a “system of engagement.” We think about our social investment as a system of engagement. We are very good as a system of record, but that information is the recorded thinking. It doesn't explain how you work, who you work with, how you are productive and influential in an organization. How do we take those things and think about where it’s contributing to business? How do we help you with better collaboration if you are working on a goal? How do you let everyone else know how you are doing on a project?
For mentoring, it’s important, but many companies don’t have a formal program. If I could track someone’s activities, it allows the growth of an informal mentorship process.
How does social change the information we have on an employee, make better decisions about this employee, from a talent management perspective? For example, finding some skills that are not tracked but would be helpful in preparing them for a promotion? Our products work to come up with a complete view of your employees and their progress.
Q: As you talk to customers about Fusion HCM what kinds of reactions are you getting?
Gretchen: I think there are a couple of differing reactions. There are still many companies that haven’t seen it. There is a lot of interest overall. What’s interesting is when a customer comes in with a specific point of view. I visited a customer last spring who asked a lot about analytics. They asked if we had an app; I showed Fusion Tap and where we are going.
She said, “That’s it. That’s what I’ve been asking for.”
The market is ready for what we have, and we know it meets their needs.
We now also have an opportunity to surprise them in the mobile and social spaces, in ways they may not have thought to transform their HR processes. There is a lot of positive feedback from our customer base.
Q: What else are you working on related to user experience?
Gretchen: One of the areas that we continue to invest in is how we unify the user experience with Fusion, since Taleo is our acquired company. We have done a lot, and Taleo has done a lot.
It is has inspired us to think about where we want to go next with usability. Products like HCM we are very much influenced by consumer applications. The users of these products: what are they used to using, and are they coming off of a commercial website, and how can we help them feel that it’s in line with what else they use.
We are also putting some emphasis on areas that we want to extend, like the 9-box. As we are getting them rolled out to customers, they are asking for new ways of using Fusion. How they structure an employee profile is changing, from a 9-box to a 12-box, or performance vs. potential to performance vs. labor costs. Customers are taking what we have given them and wanting us to expand on it.
Q: How do you feel about the new face of Fusion?
Gretchen: The goal post continues to move. Differing users have very differing ways they want to engage the system.
The original design of Fusion was great for power users, and users who needed to make use of wide-screen displays. We wanted to find a way to give access to casual users working across devices.
The first area of implementation is employee self-service. What are the 20% of activities you do 80% of the time? Such as, if you are on a 15-minute break and you need to look up your pay slip because you are re-financing the mortgage your house.
Fusion HCM’s new simplified user experience
Our next focus is manager self-service. We are going to take on those same questions. One area we see managers coming in and out often is the ”company directory.’’ For example, if I want to give an assignment to somebody, but I need to see what else they are working before I pass this assignment out.
Q: What is the response to this new user interface from customers?
Gretchen: They love it. We have shown FUSE. We have done several design reviews, and we have updated our demo system to show this new UI. They like the layout and say “my people will get it” and “it’s simple.” When we are selling to HR users, they are buying for their own productivity, but they are also thinking about how they will engage employees. It helps them feel confident that we are looking at this as a complete process -- not just a back-office process, but serving the entire enterprise.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
If you want to find out more about what’s coming, check out the HCM blog.
If you want more information, visit the Fusion HCM website.
Editor’s note: This document is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into a contract or agreement.