Wednesday Apr 22, 2015

Strategic HCM—Creating Value Through Your People


Rush hour traffic. Tuesday morning. The Mission District of San Francisco.

I’m riding shotgun in a Lincoln Town car, on my way to meet Ron Storn, VP of People for Lyft, for breakfast. Ron would be presenting in our customer experiences session at Oracle OpenWorld ’14 later that week.

Aaron, my driver, takes the advice of his navigation app and leaves the clogged freeway to follow a series of detours that lead us to the front door of Boogaloos, a local neighborhood mainstay. Ten minutes early, I get out of the Lincoln, wish Aaron a good rest of his day, and tap the screen in my Lyft iPhone app a couple of times. We’re done. My first rideshare experience is a success.

I've been following the progress of Lyft ever since that September morning. Six months later, Oracle just released a video providing an update on Lyft’s experience with Oracle HCM Cloud.

As Ron states, he joined the company when they had about 85 employees. Now they have 400+. As VP of People at a hot Bay Area startup in a hypergrowth industry, he has a challenging job. His target workforce wants three things:

  1. Great talent around them
  2. Have an impact 
  3. Feel passionate about their company

“I’m using Oracle for us to win the war for talent,” Ron says. “If we don’t win that war in keeping, growing, and retaining talent than we’ll never win as a product.”

To meet HR challenges, Lyft’s strategy is to deploy Oracle HCM Cloud in a modular approach starting with core HR, succession planning, and compensation. The idea is to set a new tone for strategic HR.

“In past HR has been known to be a very administrative paper pushing type function,” Ron explains. “We’re trying to change that in order be a very fast moving enabler of growth. Instead of being bureaucratic we want to be a change agent that can be a partner to all of our clients.”

Lyft’s circumstances are very similar to that of many growing midsize organizations looking to Oracle for not just products but also expertise and advice.

“Being a start up that is growing so fast, we didn’t know what they didn’t know,” Ron says. “So working with the Oracle team as well as the implementation partner helped us generate and create a tool that would work for us today but also help us scale into the future.”

Explore Modern Best Practice for HR and Talent: 



Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Feb 19, 2015

Modern Best Practice Show and Tell

When I started out as an Industry and Product Marketing Manager for JD Edwards back in the 90's it was always a challenge to get high resolution screen shots for PowerPoints etc. Back then, we believed that screen shots were the most credible evidence that we knew what we were doing.  I would roam the halls of development looking for a product manager or developer that had both access to the screens I wanted and a tool licensed on their desktop to get the quality I needed. They were gate keepers to knowledge I needed. It seemed sometimes almost like a schoolyard game of keep away.

Buyers in the digital age do a lot of homework on potential technology solutions before they engage with a sales person. They don't want gate keepers standing between them and the knowledge they need to build a short list. It's old fashioned (reminds me of those Comcast Xfinity "Old Fashioned Security" commercials) and frustrating.

That's precisely why we launched our Oracle Modern Best Practice pages last October. It's like Software Show and Tell.  Screen shots still have their place but it's hard to beat graphical representations that walk you through a process end to end. You can also drill down into each step or explore the additional resources we've posted. We're adding more content all the time.

Here's another example. Click on the image to learn more.



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.


Tuesday Dec 16, 2014

Career Paths: No Regrets?

No, this isn't a picture of Jim Lein

When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

High School? College? Still pondering that question? Do you have any regrets about your career choices?

Generally I don’t have regrets because a) they serve no purpose and b) every choice has a ripple effect. For example, had I not chose to be a low paid ski bum in my twenties I never would have met my wife.

After reading this piece by Bernard Marr, Career Choices You Will Regret In 20 Years, I took a few minutes to reflect on my own career choices. I had 5 careers before settling in to the enterprise software industry for the last 16 years. Happily, I can say that I have not experienced the example regrets Marr offers but for one. And I’m not gonna tell you which one it is.

Today’s workforce—and future workforce—seems to know what it wants. For example, the 2013 National Society of High School Scholars Millennial Career Survey showed that respondents—primarily primarily female (68%) and current high school students (61%)—know what they want most from their future employers.

The responses reflect a maturity of thought and awareness that certainly didn’t exist amongst most of my generation. When I was in high school, I don’t know that I could have even answered these survey questions. My parents always told me, “You can be anything you want to be?”. And my reply was always, “Great. What do I want to be?”

Granted, the life experiences young people go through after they leave high school that will influence their career decisions. Not everyone can be a high paid doctor or engineer. But I’m hoping they keep those values and aspirations in place as they enter the workforce.

In any case, companies that succeed in hiring the best talent today are those who best understand what today’s workforce wants. If you’re talent sourcing, onboarding, and management processes don’t exploit enabling technologies—social, mobile, analytics, big data, IoT—then chances are you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to hiring and retaining the best talent.

Here’s a short video explaining how modern HR in the cloud can help you adopt Modern Best Practice for HR and Talent Management.


Learn more:

Oracle.com: Is Your HRMS Attracting a Modern Workforce?

Oracle.com: Adopt Modern Best Practice for HR & Talent



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Jul 28, 2014

7 Questions for Tony Kender, Head of Oracle North America HCM Sales

Tony Kender, Senior Vice President, leads Oracle’s sales operations for HCM solutions in North America, including an organization dedicated to the unique needs of midsize companies.

Q: What is the most exciting thing happening with growing midsize companies and HCM solutions?

Kender: Midsize companies are often ahead of large enterprises on the technology acceptance curve in terms of HCM cloud. Oracle offers cloud solutions across the entire applications footprint, including ERP, Supply Chain, EPM, and CX, but what I’ve seen is that HCM is often the first cloud application adopted by a midsize company.

Q: Why are midsize companies ahead of large enterprises in adopting cloud applications for HCM?

Kender: Generally, larger enterprises are not quite as agile as midsize businesses and take longer to make the move to a new platform. Often, they have big investments in existing HCM processes—a lot of inertia with people and systems around it. Midsize companies are lighter on their feet due to the way they need to operate. They’re eager to adopt HCM cloud technology because it lowers their cost, helps them innovate faster, and helps them focus on core competencies which are usually not HR and Payroll.

Q: Are midsize companies adopting HCM cloud in a piecemeal or suite strategy?

Kender: We’re seeing that midsize companies want the entire suite, not a piecemeal approach, whereas large companies are more open to a piecemeal approach. Midsize companies don’t have time to deal with three, four, or five vendors across HCM. What they want is a complete solution. If a company looks at some of our competitors across the midsize space they won’t see the full breadth of the solution spanning the whole HCM suite. For example, maybe one has a great core HR but a weak talent product. It takes years to develop a really, really strong recruiting suite. Oracle is unique in that we offer the best of breed functionality that companies require across the entire HCM lifecycle.

Q: Why is Oracle HCM Cloud so popular?

Kender: It’s simple. Oracle is driving new HCM innovation and product functionality faster than anyone in the HCM market. We have an amazing amount of investment in the development of cloud HCM founded on the experiences we’ve gained via our JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite HCM customers. We have the knowledge and experience of what an HCM system should do and we combine that with the best cloud technology.

Q: Why are growing midsize companies choosing Oracle HCM Cloud?

Kender: First, midsize companies have the same complexity as large companies but they don’t always have the same amount of resources. Oracle HCM Cloud offers the best, most innovative HCM solution, and eases customers’ worries about upgrading software or hosting it and all the IT expenses related to that. Second, we have a dedicated organization focusing just on the needs of midsize companies—marketing, sales, implementation, consulting, and training. Third, we make it easy for midsize companies to move to cloud by offering incentive programs like Customer 2 Cloud where customers can potentially redirect some of their investment in Oracle HCM on premise solutions to Oracle HCM Cloud applications.

Q: How are changing demographics of the workforce impacting HCM innovation?

Kender: Recently, I had a customer at a midsize company tell me, “If my millennial workforce can’t use this system and aren’t comfortable with it they won’t use it at all. I need the user experience to be easy and impactful. They can’t go through training.”

The Oracle HCM Cloud user experience is designed to be like using a popular social network. You don’t take a training course. You turn it on and use it. It’s like Larry Ellison said in his keynote at Oracle HCM World, “There are no classes for Facebook.”

Q: What price do midsize companies pay by not adopting an innovative HCM cloud solution?

Kender: Now more than ever, people are the key to success in midsize. And midsize companies are competing with large enterprises for talent. The ability to source the right people with capabilities like social sourcing can put a midsize company on the cutting edge of finding top talent. Often times that gives them an advantage over the recruiting practices used by larger, more established companies. Conversely, if you are still sourcing people like you did in the ‘90’s you risk losing out on the best talent. Oracle HCM Cloud helps them win the war for talent.

Then, once talent is hired, midsize companies need modern best practice for learning, development, and succession planning. You have to keep them excited, comfortable, and engaged by providing a fantastic user experience. That’s what today’s worker expects and demands and you need all that to reduce turnover because turnover is expensive and disruptive. With Oracle HCM Cloud, midsize companies can have the sophistication that large companies enjoy along the entire continuum of the HCM experience—the features and look and feel that today’s workers expect—minus the cost and complexity of on premise systems.


Learn more:

Infographic: Get Ready for a New Era of HR

Harvard Business Review Global Modern HR Survey: The Age of Modern HR

Modern HR for Dummies

Is Your Human Resource Management System Attracting a Modern Workforce? 

Oracle HCM for Midsize Companies


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. 

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

Friday Apr 12, 2013

The Growing IT Labor Shortage: Are You Feeling It?

By Jim Lein, Programs Management Senior Principal, Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies

I interviewed a number of Oracle employee and partner experts last fall for my “7 Enterprise Applications Trends for High Growth Companies in 2013.” Even though I speak with partners, customers, and Oracle experts on a daily basis, I went into these interviews with an open mind and no pre-conceived notions of what those trends might be.

With unemployment rates relatively high worldwide, I was a bit surprised to learn from many of these experts that the gap between IT skills needed and IT skills available is widening. Simply put, more and more open IT positions are going unfilled due to a lack of available candidates with the appropriate experience and skills.

People are often the scarcest resource for growing companies. Accordingly, in the coming weeks, we will be presenting a series of posts on how Oracle Accelerate Solutions, Oracle Business Accelerators, Oracle Accelerate partners, and Oracle products (such as Oracle TBE Cloud Service) are helping our growing customers utilize their existing IT resources more effectively.

Oracle’s solutions help ease the strain on resources in two ways. First, they help reduce the need to divert internal IT resources to implementation duties during the deployment. This is mission critical as your IT and business analyst staff likely doesn’t have a lot of extra time on their hands, right? Secondly, these solutions can help simplify IT functions so that you don’t need to add staff at the same rate that your business is growing. That’s a good thing since qualified people are getting harder to find and more expensive to hire.

I hope you’ll find this series interesting.

Meanwhile, here’s some food for thought:

Redesigning Knowledge Work,” The Harvard Business Review

Predictions for 2013—Corporate Talent, Leadership and HR—Nexus of Global Forces Drives New Models for Talent,” Bersin by Deloitte

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