Thursday Apr 17, 2014

People First! The Priority for Midsize Companies


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Early in my technology career, I conducted an ROI assessment to help a very large customer update their HCM business processes across seven operating entities and tens of thousands of employees.

Their HR department was a room full of desks, each covered with stacks of blue paper cards. A legion of clerks each spent forty hours a week transferring hand written data from the cards into a main frame system. The scary part? The decision was to be based entirely on anticipated cost savings, not benefits. That was only a dozen years ago!

HR used to be at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to IT spending. Today, Human Capital Management and Talent Management solutions are surging to the top of the priority list at both midsize and enterprise companies. Finally, everyone seems to agree that people are a company's most important asset.

I asked Richard Atkins, EVP of Oracle Cloud applications for UK based Certus Solutions, what is driving investments in Oracle's Human Capital Management.

 "Cloud has changed everything," says Atkins. "We used to work almost exclusively with large enterprises. Now, most of our new clients are growing midsize companies with global operations. Our Cloud solutions enable them to deploy best practices fast and affordably. It's that simple."

Certus works with clients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Most are either replacing a Tier 2 solution or have never had an HCM solution in place. In some regions, best practices for recruitment are a priority while, in others, the focus is on internal talent management.

"Our clients with global operations often need to cover both these scenarios,” says Atkins. “On the recruitment side, with social media and other options, it's almost becoming harder to find the right talent because there is just so much information out there. In areas where there still isn’t budget for hiring, internal talent management—like learning—is the priority. Oracle’s HCM cloud solutions covers all these needs for recruitment, social sourcing, learning, and core talent management. Clients have so much more information to make hiring decisions and to more easily spot the right people internally and retain the skills they need."

Growing Midsize Companies Want HCM Best Practices and Mobile

Certus clients are also eager to adopt best practices. "We rarely do requirements gathering anymore," says Atkins. "To our customers, the word 'standardization' is music to their ears. They want an out of the box system that delivers best practices quickly. They are encouraged by the ability of cloud solutions to deliver on that."

And mobile applications have massive appeal. “The kind of company looking at cloud solutions usually has a very mobile workforce,” says Atkins. “Senior management and, often, the entire workforce are working off smartphones and tablets. Oracle’s solutions work beautifully across those devices.”


Find out more about Oracle’s HCM Cloud And Taleo Cloud Service solutions if you’re ready to go mobile, enhance your learning programs, source talent socially, recruit more efficiently, or just replace your version of the blue card. See what Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has to say about managing your most precious assets.


Jim Lein evangelizes Oracle Accelerate, Oracle's Applications Strategy for growing midsize companies. He recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. He is based in Evergreen, Colorado and loves relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. 

Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Giving HR a seat at the table

by Jim Lein | Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director | Oracle Midsize Programs | @JimLein

Interesting recap in Forbes by Steve Banker regarding PL Developments presentation at Oracle OpenWorld, "PL Developments Wins With S&OP".

I interviewed Tom Crowe, CIO at PL Developments, for my blog series on The Growing IT Labor Shortage. Tom provided his perspective on the challenges of hiring and retaing the best talent in today's market. For the wholesale/distribution industry, finding and keeping good labor is a challenge across the board.

From Banker's piece:

'Including finance in this process is a sign of a maturity – S&OP is morphing into Integrated Business Planning. However, giving HR a seat at the table is rare. PL Developments chose to do this because as their business scales up and down, they need to balance hiring new hourly workers with turnover. As a highly regulated industry, labor is a key constraint. FDA regulations lead to long training cycles, it takes them 60 days to train people and put them on the line."

To learn more about PL Developments Oracle deployment check out their Oracle customer snapshot.


Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Now Available: A Podcast Teaser for the Blog Series "The Growing IT Labor Shortage"

by Jim Lein, Programs Management Sr. Principal, Oracle Midsize Programs

We just released an Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies AppCast that is a 9 minute teaser/summary of our ongoing blog series, "The Growing IT Labor Shortage: Are You Feeling It?"

I'll be wrapping up the series later this month.  It's been fun because I've had the opportunity to speak with many smart, dedicated, and impassioned professionals--partners, customers, and Oracle subject matter experts--on the subject of how to attract and retain the best talent.

Meanwhile listen to the AppCast for the gist of the thought leadership and advice in the series.

Each of the posts in the series are accessible via links on the right side of this blog.

And...to listen to more Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies AppCasts go here


Tuesday Oct 01, 2013

Making your Move to the Cloud

By Steve Viarengo, Vice President Product Management, Oracle Taleo Cloud Services 


While Cloud based business applications have been around for more than a decade, there have never been more options for customers. There are solutions in the Cloud for almost any area of business need, from CRM to HCM to Supply Chain to ERP. The number of vendors has grown dramatically, with thousands of small as well as large software companies selling cloud-based solutions. For small and midsize businesses, the promise of the Cloud can be very enticing because letting someone else host and manage the solution spares you the expense and burden of having to staff your own internal IT resources.

According to CedarCrestone’s 2012-2013 HR Systems Survey, deploying a Cloud solution requires 75% less staff to support than an on premise solution. Additionally, with many solutions you can subscribe and pay “by the drink,” only paying for the amount of the service you need and increasing or decreasing your subscription as your business changes. Moreover, you are also always on the latest version of the software, never having to worry about upgrades, backward compatibility or upgrading your hardware to support the latest version. Everything is managed and supported for you, just like your telecommunications or utilities.

However, the move to the Cloud understandably generates a number of questions and concerns. Common questions tend to be:

  • How do I know my data is secure with the vendor I choose?
  • Will Cloud solutions integrate and work with my existing applications and IT infrastructure?
  • How can I make sure I am getting the maximum ROI?
  • Is it better to go with a single vendor or piece together best of breed solutions?

Many, if not all, of these concerns can be addressed by selecting the right solution from the right provider. Selecting a solution from a vendor with robust and complete capabilities is crucial when moving to the Cloud.

Critical things to look for when evaluating solutions and their providers are:

  • A clear picture of the vendor’s security model and hosting capabilities which includes:
    • The physical security of the data center
    • The network security that will block hackers and malicious parties
    • The application security that ensures your data and information is separate from other users
  • The integration capability of the solution. Well developed solutions have very well defined interfaces that allow you to:
    • Easily and quickly pull information out and push information into other solutions
    • Use web services such as REST and SOAP to allow information to be easily callable via well know web standards
  • Quick, fast and easy implementation.
  • Flexible and configurable to accommodate the special needs of your business without expensive customizations or waiting for a future release
  • A vendor who can provide a broad but deep solution. Just like you are not likely to hire one gardener to mow the lawn, another to edge and another to cleanup after, you want one vendor who can provide you a complete service
  • Not required to manage many different logins, store data across different solutions, and navigate different support models

So while the leap into the Cloud can be daunting, the benefits are compelling and selecting the right partner with the right solution can make the difference between achieving your business goals and a painful crash landing!

For more information on your move into the Cloud go to http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/cloud/overview/index.html

Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Want to Hire and Retain the Best Talent? Leverage Your Employees’ Social Media Networks

By Steve Viarengo, Vice President of Product Management, Oracle Talent Management Cloud Service

In a recently published Oracle whitepaper, “The Shortest Path to Better Hires: Best Practices for Employee Referral Programs” we summarize research that shows companies are increasingly relying on referrals as the best source of new hires. Referrals now typically account for 24% to as high as 75% of new hires. There is also evidence that referral new hires have a significantly higher retention rate and higher job performance than candidates from other sources.

In today’s tough economy, businesses count on their work force more than ever to provide an edge over the competition and deliver the goods or services that keep customers coming back. Just as customer retention is key to a company’s survival, so is the ability to attract and retain top performers. Hiring the wrong employee or having unfilled open positions for long periods of time can be a real setback in terms of employee productivity and morale, as well as cost the company money. This is especially pronounced at growing midsize businesses.

As former CEO of a small company, I remember all too well times when the person I hired did not work out and the subsequent pain of having to repost the job, restart the search, and sheepishly explain to my employees why they once again had to cover for the open position. Hiring the right person the first time is critical. I’ve found that the best hires are ones that come from either my network or the networks of my employees. The notion that your employees are the best source of quality candidates and that they will do the best job in selling your company is not new.

However, administering and managing an employee referral program can have its challenges. How do you inform your employees of new openings or filled positions in a timely and convenient manner? How do you entice your employees to tap into their networks? How can you identify your star referrers and ensure their access to the positions they can best help you fill? And how do you make sure your employees feel recognized and rewarded for bringing your company top talent?

The answer: – a web-based social sourcing tool. With social sourcing, you can notify employees of open positions, enable your employees to seamlessly reach into their social media networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, track referrals back into your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and reward the star referrers in your company. For example, the average American has 634 ties in their overall network—including social media sites—and those who embrace technology have even larger networks. With web-based social sourcing, companies can easily tap into those connections.

When examining social sourcing tools, remember a complete social sourcing solution should cover all of the functionality necessary to harness the power of your employee’s social networks, as well as your company’s presence on Facebook and Twitter. By giving you the tools to create social media friendly candidate pages and seamlessly integrating them into your social media presence, your followers can easily apply for open positions right from your social sites. This is the best way to turn your fans into candidates and greatly enrich your applicant pipeline.

The real power of social sourcing comes when it is working hand-in-hand with your recruiting solution. The two working together will allow requisitions created in your ATS to, upon proper authorization, be sent out to your employees (or a subset) with a referral request for current openings. Employees can access the positions and share them with their network of friends, connections and followers. Then when a referral candidate applies, the referring employee’s information is tied to the application and tracked back in your ATS, providing closed loop reporting. Requisitions can also be pulled and integrated directly with your social media sites, enabling you to track applicants from their originating source. This empowers you with the knowledge of what kind of talent your social media presence is yielding.

While this may sound like it will require complex systems and a long arduous implementation period, it is possible to quickly and easily buy and implement an online sourcing tool. The power of the cloud helps make this possible. Cloud-based social sourcing tools typically don’t require any additional hardware or arduous software implementation, allowing for a very rapid and cost effective implementation that will have you reaping the benefits in days or weeks rather than months.

Companies are seeing real results from implementing social sourcing solutions. For example, a midsize software company quickly saw its referral candidate base jump from less than 10% to 32% of its candidate pool after implementing social sourcing. A midsize publishing company found that a candidate coming through its social sourcing solution was seven times more likely to get hired than one that came through a job board. As you can see, social sourcing solutions are truly a win-win for all parties involved: employers attract better candidates which result in better hires, employees are able to participate in the hiring process and reap recognition and rewards for being top referrers, and job seekers are able to more confidently apply for positions for which they know they will be successful.

Learn more about Oracle’s social sourcing solutions HERE.

And...post a comment to tell us about your social sourcing experiences or to ask a question

Thursday Jan 31, 2013

15 partners created 22 new Oracle Accelerate solutions over the past six months to help midsize organizations grow their business

Oracle Partners Introduce First Oracle Accelerate Solutions for Oracle Fusion Applications

New Partner Produced Rapid Implementation Solutions Help Growing Businesses Quickly Adopt Powerful, Innovative Oracle Applications.

Click here to read the press release.


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