Mobile HCM: It’s not the future, it is right now

A guest post by Steve Boese, Director Product Strategy, Oracle

I’ll bet you reached for your iPhone or Android or BlackBerry and took a quick look at email or Facebook or last night’s text messages before you even got out of bed this morning. Come on, admit it, it’s ok, you are among friends here. See, feel better now?

But seriously, the incredible growth and near-ubiquity of increasingly powerful, capable, and for many of us, essential in our daily lives mobile devices has profoundly changed the way we communicate, consume information, socialize, and more and more, conduct business and get our work done. And if you doubt that profound change has happened, just think for a moment about the last time you misplaced your iPhone.  The shivers, the cold sweats, the panic... We have all been there.

And indeed your personal experiences with mobile technology echoes throughout the world - here are a few data points to consider:

Market research firm IDC estimates 1.8 billion mobile phones will be shipped in 2012.

A recent Pew study reports 46% of Americans own a smartphone of some kind.

And finally in the USA, ownership of tablets like the iPad has doubled from 10% to 19% in the last year.

So truly for the Human Resources leader, the question is no longer, ‘Should HR explore ways to exploit mobile devices and their always-on nature to better support and empower the modern workforce?’, but rather ‘How can HR best take advantage of smartphone and tablet capability to provide information, enable transactions, and enhance decision making?’.

Because even though moving HCM applications to mobile devices seems inherently logical given today’s fast-moving and mobile workforces, and its promise to deliver incredible value to the organization, HR leaders also have to consider many factors before devising their Mobile HCM strategy and embarking on mobile HR technology projects.

Here are just some of the important considerations for HR leaders as you build your strategies and evaluate mobile HCM solutions:

Does your organization provide mobile devices to the workforce today, and if so, will the current set of deployed devices have the necessary capability and ecosystems to support your mobile HCM initiatives?

Will you allow workers to use or bring their own mobile devices, (commonly abbreviated as ‘BYOD’), and if so are your IT and Security organizations in agreement and capable of supporting that strategy?

Do you know which workers need access to mobile HCM applications? Often mobile HCM capability flows down in an organization, with executives and other ‘road-warrior’ types having the most immediate needs, followed by field sales staff, project managers, and even potential job candidates. But just as an organization will have to spend time understanding ‘who’ should have access to mobile HCM technology, the ‘what’ of the way the solutions should be deployed to these groups will also vary. What works and makes sense for the executive, (company-wide dashboards and analytics on an iPad), might not be as relevant for a retail store manager, (employee schedules, location-level sales and inventory data, transaction approvals, etc.).

With Oracle Fusion HCM, we are taking an approach to mobile HR that encompasses not just the mobile solution needs for the various types of worker, but also incorporates the fundamental attributes of great mobile applications - the ability to support end-to-end transactions, apps that respond with lightning-fast speed, with functions that are embedded in a worker’s daily activities, and features that can be mashed-up easily with other business areas like Finance and CRM.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the Oracle Fusion HCM team, delivering mobile experiences that truly enhance, enable, and empower the mobile workforce, and deliver on the design mantras of the best-in-class consumer applications, continues to shape and drive design decisions.

Mobile is no longer the future, it is right now, and the cutting-edge HR leader of today will need to consider how mobile fits her HCM technology strategy from here on out.

You can learn more about our ideas and plans for Oracle Fusion HCM mobile solutions at https://fusiontap.oracle.com/.

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