Human Resources | July 24, 2017

The First Steps to Your Future Workforce: Move HCM to the Cloud

By: Guest Author


By Anje Dodson, Oracle vice president of HR, Talent Development, HR Technology, and Operations

As a vice president of HR at Oracle, I’ve seen a lot of changes in executives’ expectations of HR. And it’s not just Oracle—those changes are part of a global trend. In the next 10 years, the skills and knowledge organizations need won’t bear much resemblance to what they have in place today. In a recent webcast I did with Helen Poitevin, research director at Gartner, we talked about the opportunity HR organizations have to enable those changes with the cloud. 

Forget about the traditional five-year plan for hiring the right staff. Today, a small percentage of leading-edge companies work with a six-month timeline for planning, finding, developing, and acquiring talent. They can work this quickly only if they invest in new organizational, social, and sourcing models; performance, skills, and needs assessment capabilities; and data and analytical capabilities that help predict needs and measure performance.

To meet these aggressive timelines, leading organizations are turning to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies and systems. In fact, Gartner predicts “in mature regional markets like North America—the world’s largest market and also the leading region for adoption of SaaS both for new implementations and to supplement on-premises deployments with new functionality—SaaS HCM applications are likely to represent three-quarters of HCM application spending by 2020.”*

These organizations are moving HCM to the cloud because they want globalized, consolidated, and standardized HCM processes and reporting; a single system of record; improved HCM process automation; and increased workforce efficiency. And while some organizations make the transition by adopting a comprehensive HCM suite, others take a hybrid or phased approach. 

In the webcast, I describe the process we used at Oracle as we turned to HCM in the cloud to help fulfill our mission of engaging and enabling our people to be in the best position to help customers succeed. We focused on three key areas for continual improvement: insight, employee experience, and technology integration.

1. Look for Insight 

We invested in better data and powerful analytics that could put data in the context of business needs and turn it into insight. This has helped us drive innovation, make better decisions, and identify impactful investments in the technologies, skills, processes, and metrics that support our business.

2. Improve Employee Experience 

We are continually refining every stage of the employee experience—from onboarding all the way through to meaningful career development—to deliver an experience that supports employee success and that of our customers. We rely on increased visibility into our talent pool to guide our focus and help us engage and retain the talent we already have in-house. Prior to moving to Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud, we couldn’t scale up or speed up our laborious talent review approach, which required manually building spreadsheets and pulling information from multiple sources. We now depend on Oracle Talent Review in the cloud to rapidly and comprehensively assess and manage talent across our large organization.

3. Integrate Technology

Technology integration is the key to gaining better insights and improving employee experience. We recommend our customers start by putting core HR functions in the cloud, but there’s no single right way to transition to the cloud. Often, organizations have to meet their most urgent needs first. That’s what happened at Oracle: We started with talent review, then recruiting, then succession planning, and then made a global move to the cloud.

Key Takeaways from Oracle’s Transition to HCM in the Cloud

Though Oracle implemented cloud-based talent management before core HR functions, we generally don’t recommend it. For one thing, integration is easier if you get the full picture early on, which means implementing core HR in the cloud first. Even more important, though, is the opportunity for true transformation. Move over most of your HCM activity to the cloud from the outset, and you’ll find it easier to free yourself from the constraints of your previous solutions—and easier to completely re-envision the way you manage HR. 

In the webcast, I spend time talking about the lessons we learned in rolling out our new cloud-based HCM solutions, so I won’t repeat all that here. I’ll just leave you with this thought: You can’t hire or nurture the new talent you need using your old practices, so use the transition to the cloud as an opportunity to challenge and change the way you do things. At Oracle, we learned to move quickly and fine-tune as we went rather than wait to map out a perfect solution from the outset. Through this continual trying-out of ideas, we’ve enhanced our collaborative capabilities, gained more insightful analytics, and improved talent management in ways we couldn’t have imagined before we set out on this journey. ‘

I encourage you to set out on a journey of your own. Start by viewing the webcast on “How and Why to Move HCM to the Cloud.” I hope that sharing Oracle’s journey will help you accelerate your own journey to the cloud. 

*Gartner Research: How and Why to move HCM to the Cloud, multiple authors, August 18, 2016.   


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