X

News and Innovation from Oracle UK and Ireland

Recent Posts

HR

HR as an agent of AI change

The benefits of AI to HR are here now. It can improve employee productivity, direct employees on where and how to grow skillsets, and boost job satisfaction, ultimately empowering the HR function to play a more crucial role in the organization. Change is the only constant. It’s a cliché, but in the business world that cliché is absolutely true – nothing stays the same for long. And when it comes to technology, change seems to be particularly fast, no more so than with artificial intelligence (AI). But to get ahead of the curve and make this change work for them, organizations need AI leadership, and the HR team is perfectly placed to take the first steps, and show the way. With the right preparation, HR can become an example – and an agent of AI change. Data-driven chatbots, steered by AI, can source new talent an organization internally or externally, as well as sharing crucial information during the recruitment process. They can also help to deal with high volumes of queries from, and interactions with, current employees. And through AI, parts of training programs can be automated, based on an employee’s particular career path, with learning recommendations shared at the best times. To find out what people think of AI at work, we surveyed 1,320 employees and HR leaders from around the world. Here are some of our findings: Work Life unbalance: Almost three times as many employees use AI in their personal lives as those who use it at work – 70% vs 24%. Outside of the office, AI touches entertainment, transport, personal finance, and our relationships. HR falling behind: Only 6% of HR leaders are actively deploying AI currently, despite the fact that 93% of employees would take direction from AI or a robot now. Career consequences: The majority believe failing to adopt AI will negatively impact their own careers, colleagues, and organization – 79% of HR leaders feel this way, and 60% of employees. The obstacle course: Around three quarters (74%) say cost is a barrier to AI adoption, while 69% said technology failures are, and more than half (56%) are worried about security risks. Fast action needed: The overwhelming majority of HR leaders – nine in ten – are concerned they won’t be able to adjust to rapid adoption of AI as part of their job. And 72% of HR leaders report that their organization provides no form of AI training program. To learn more about how HR can get ahead of the AI curve, and be an agent of change, read our full AI at Work report.

The benefits of AI to HR are here now. It can improve employee productivity, direct employees on where and how to grow skillsets, and boost job satisfaction, ultimately empowering the HR function to...

Finance

Cognitive tools that deliver for CFOs.

Cognitive tools and technologies, defined recently by Deloitte in a related blog, include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics, many of which mimic (to varying degrees) how the human brain thinks. Here is a summary of their findings and thinking with regards to the applications for CFOs Cognitive solutions can help companies get smarter and more efficient over time—just like humans do, only faster and more accurately. Far from esoteric, these solutions can have very practical uses. For instance, artificial intelligence and machine learning software can help organizations spot non-paying and late-paying customers pro-actively by tracking their behaviour over time and flagging repeat offenders. And they can help on the payments processing side by using machine learning to recognize priority invoices, discard duplicate payments, and uncover fraudulent purchasing patterns. Cognitive also encompasses the field of predictive analytics, which harnesses a variety of statistical techniques to help finance organizations effectively navigate an uncertain future. With advanced cloud-based analytics, finance can erase the line traditionally separating transactional and performance management systems. It enables both sides of finance—operational and strategic—to come together on a common system, helping financial planning and analysis teams efficiently zero in on factors that are driving (or hurting) growth and profitability. After deploying advanced analytics in the cloud, the CFO can quickly and easily get to the data that can help him add value to the organization as a strategic partner—such as profitability by product and customer. Cognitive solutions also have the potential to help CFOs conquer one of their toughest chores: producing quarter-end earnings reports for Wall Street. Increasingly, CFOs are the face of the company when it comes to explaining all things financial to investors, analysts, journalists, and regulators. It's a role that requires fast access to relevant facts and trends—and cognitive technologies can help.  Recently we showed a Fortune 50 telecom company an effective cognitive tool running on Oracle Cloud. In just minutes, the tool sifts through volumes of P&L statements going back a decade or even longer. Using machine-learning tools and natural language processing chatbot technologies, the tool creates a report in plain English summarizing revenue and growth drivers over the entire period. It’s a job that may likely have taken an army of financial analysts months to do.   Cognitive tools are just one family of tools re shaping the finance departments: find out more about how new technogies are perceived by CFOs and other leaders in our report.

Cognitive tools and technologies, defined recently by Deloitte in a related blog, include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics, many of which mimic (to varying degrees)...

IT

Could chatbots become a fan favorite?

Sport and technology have a long history, but 2018 marked a significant milestone: Video Assistant Referee tech finally made its World Cup debut. Tennis embraced Hawk-Eye years ago, but football was much slower to adopt this kind of technology to help athletes and officials. But it isn’t just those on the pitch, or court, who are seeing the impact of technological change. Mobile apps can improve the fan experience, whether you’re at home or in the stands, by sharing match info and stats. And for those lucky enough to be attending matches in person, chatbots have now entered the scene. Welcome, chatbots While we soak up the atmosphere, match organizers are starting to use chatbots to make our experiences more enjoyable, more personal, and less stressful – all through the device we each have in our pockets. The word ‘bot’ may conjure images of impersonal machines, but with the right data and learning capabilities, bots can deliver highly personalized fan experiences. They’re can be ‘digital assistant’, responding quickly and accurately to questions, so fans can focus on the action. And they’re already out there: At the latest Mutua Madrid Open, a chatbot, fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), made communication with tennis fans faster and easier. Part of the Open’s strategy to engage younger fans and be more innovative, the ‘Matchbot’ gave attendees information on players, schedules, and results via their mobiles. But it also provided details on guest services, event access and parking. Plus, with its machine learning capabilities, every interaction made the bot a little better, helping to improve answers. Heineken Urban Polo did something similar. An AI-based ‘digital assistant’ was available through Facebook Messenger, responding to questions about the match or the range of hospitality events taking place – whether that meant the bar and DJ locations, sharing timings, or providing details on players. Always learning These chatbots are fueled by data. Oracle’s Intelligent Bots software gathers information based on previous interactions with customers services, across various touchpoints, and combines this with event data on a centralized platform. The bot can then create a range of answers to questions, while its machine learning capabilities mean it will improve its responses over time. And as chatbots become more intelligent, and manage more complex requests, spectators will enjoy an even better sports experience – certainly one that justifies the price of admission. To find out all digital Innovation is delivering on its promises, read our report.

Sport and technology have a long history, but 2018 marked a significant milestone: Video Assistant Referee tech finally made its World Cup debut. Tennis embraced Hawk-Eye years ago, but football was...

Finance

Ready or not… Robotics Process Automation

Shared services centers are, by definition, characterized by process-driven, repetitive tasks. Pioneering organizations are already showing what automation can do to make them more efficient. New opportunities are round the corner. Robots are nothing new in factories. But over the past two years, many services-based businesses – and service teams – have made the connection between single-task robotic desktop automation and much deeper robotic process automation (RPA). Research shows almost half of shared services centers (SSCs) have implemented RPA at some level. We're seeing a slew of case studies shared via solution providers, conferences and online forums such as the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON). It’s still early days. And reported "failure" rates of 30% to 50% show RPA needs to be implemented carefully; and not oversold. In the dash for results, mistakes are easy to make. It’s not the “robots” The technology is the “easy” piece. Software agents will repeat tasks indefinitely at low cost and without errors. How those tasks are designed, and whether the organization is prepared to adapt to new ways of working, are bigger questions. Many providers (at least in the early days) sold business units on the idea that they didn’t need the IT department – they could make quick decisions, automate a process with next to no overhead, and get quick results. But IT does need to be involved - at the very least for governance access to systems. And when (not if) things go wrong, IT is a key ally. Seeing is believing Taking a more considered approach helps secure the benefits – and also shows more clearly how RPA can evolve. Research shows that before adoption, automating procure-to-pay is the most common objective for practitioners. RPA test sites broaden their horizons: accounts payable becomes a prime target. Post-implementation? They’re more likely to see full-blown financial analysis as RPA-ready. Where’s the catch? The first hurdle is budget. Management needs to be convinced on returns. Process standardization and resource allocation are always factors. Then change management becomes key. But our data does not show fear of job losses to be a significant factor. At a recent RPA conference, 54% of the delegates we surveyed intend to redeploy FTEs into higher-value work. What’s next? SSON Analytics’ Intelligent Automation Universe shows how RPA is delivering in finance and accounting, HR, procurement and customer service – a breadth of use-cases that highlights how far RPA has progressed. But it’s just the start. Applying cloud and artificial intelligence technologies pushes RPA’s potential even further, with SSCs playing a crucial role. Find out how organizations are leveraging new technologies in our report Delivering on the promise of Digital Innovation.

Shared services centers are, by definition, characterized by process-driven, repetitive tasks. Pioneering organizations are already showing what automation can do to make them more efficient. New...

HR

4 Steps to winning with the Cloud.

Recruiting, retention, and the employee experience can all be improved with better access to data. Most HR leaders know this, and see cloud-based human capital management (HCM) as the way to deliver on this promise. But convincing other stakeholders can be tricky. According to Matt Richards, MD at KPMG, around half of proposals to upgrade to HCM cloud technology are denied. So how can HR leaders deliver a proposal that succeeds? Structure the business case The C-suite receives constant requests for funding. You’ll be competing with plans for new facilities, or strategies to move into new markets, and most of these proposals will have clear profit projections. This means using common language and KPIs as the finance department for example. If you can tie your request back to the company’s bottom line then you can avoid your case being moved to the bottom of the pile. Stress that this is an investment that will shape the future of the organization, and underpin development in other areas. Then show how results will be tangible and trackable too, in both the short and long term. Urgency After asking why an investment should be made, the second question will probably be ‘Why now?’. There’s natural caution surrounding any major change, so set out why the investment should happen immediately. Without this, it’s unlikely that anything will happen, even with agreement that it’s an important project. Be clear that postponing the move to the cloud could cost the business. The right problems A good investment solves problems. While HR leaders are aware of the challenges their teams face, and how cloud HCM can help, things may not be as clear to other execs. In your business case, explain how business challenges will be met – not just HR concerns – in order to convince others your project is a worthy one. Think specifically about increased revenue, decreased costs, or improved productivity, and use plenty of data to back up your points. Planned success Moving HCM to the cloud is a significant change, and one that will be disruptive. So, the final element of the business case is to plan how that disruption will be minimized over time: A clear narrative that includes change management, business readiness, and process audits should show that this project is both doable and valuable. It also investing in new skills: HR staff that have strong analytical skills or project and change management experience will be an invaluable asset in the roll out of new systems, ensuring their success. To learn more about building a business case for the cloud, download our guide or read more about how AI is also a key technology to transform and empower the HR function.

Recruiting, retention, and the employee experience can all be improved with better access to data. Most HR leaders know this, and see cloud-based human capital management (HCM) as the way to deliver...

Marketing

Marketers – the new detectives

Customer relationships are not the sole remit of the marketing department, however marketers can play a key role in highlighting the issues that prevent a company from being fully committed to improving their customers’ experience. Up to 20 years ago, Customer relationships were the responsibility of one or maybe 2 departments within a business, often working in isolation. In recent years, new thinking has been applied to how organizations should view and build relationships. We are now firmly in the era of customer centricity, where every part of the business plays a role in nourishing and growing the link and understanding of customers. In an age of ‘Customer obsession” data, a 360 customer view, customer success is a ‘total business’ responsibility. In this context, not only has Marketing acquired revenue growth responsibility, but its effectiveness has been enabled by digital technologies. This means that Marketing now has sight and insight to provide to other areas of the business - that it previously could not support - in developing the quality of their customer relationships. By leveraging the data now at their fingertips, marketers can become the internal detectives of any organisation, helping uncover and pinpoint potential “weak” points that need addressing. Let’s take a look at a few of the issues that marketing can help fix: Product: the business is pitching the wrong, inferior or badly tested product to customers. Capture: teams are incorrectly populating CRM systems, or the CRM system itself is flawed, which means customer understanding is low. Application: teams’ inability to see meaningful outputs from the CRM, starving them of insights. Pre and After Sales: poor, insufficient on-boarding and/or aftersales support. Resolution: inadequate problem resolution, with ‘solutions’ fudged and lessons neither shared nor learned from. Technology: outdated solutions that do not meet the purposes of nowadays’ needs. Insight: a failure to ‘recognise’ customers’ behaviour and understand when and where they need support. By bringing data-based insight and solutions to these challenges, Marketing is now in a position to support and help the business as a whole transform into a fully customer centric entity. What’s more, in applying technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning, this process becomes proactive, automated and embedded into every customer interaction. See how marketing can further demonstrate the value of good Customer experience with our CX ROI Tool.

Customer relationships are not the sole remit of the marketing department, however marketers can play a key role in highlighting the issues that prevent a company from being fully committed to...

IT

Cloud cover: Avoiding the 5 most common cloud security issues

Cloud adoption just keeps climbing. Public cloud services are now used by 85% of IT and cybersecurity professionals, up from 57% in 2013. But could there be a security storm in the air? Each year Oracle and KPMG produce the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report, based on a survey examining public cloud usage and cybersecurity measures. The latest findings show there’s plenty of confidence, but we see some mistakes more often than others – here are our top 5. Responsibility Cloud services can make security easier, but there are certain things they can’t do – like keep an eye on how careful employees are with their credentials. It’s best to clear on responsibilities from the very beginning, so iron out what you’re responsible for and what your cloud provider will look after early on, to make sure there are no gaps. Training One of the most common ways an organization can be breached is through an average employee. The most common attack vectors are phishing scams, and it takes just one person making one mistake to expose your company. In this case, it’s training (and not some fancy tool) that will make the difference. Automation Detecting and reacting to cloud threats is the top challenge for security organisations. But only 14% of the Cloud Threat Report respondents said they could analyse all relevant security event and telemetry data. This lack of insight is usually due to cloud services rolling out faster than SecOps can support. By removing manual processes and automating more responses to risks, you can help to relieve this problem. Compliance Being compliant doesn’t necessarily mean you’re secure. Compliance is mainly about data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. But it’s still tricky to meet compliance goals without an expert leading the way. It’s wise to make sure there’s one person who can look at the whole picture – at a global level if necessary – and work out the best way to meet compliance responsibilities. Leadership In the name of speed, lines of business often rush rolling out cloud services, without involving security operations. And that can mean failing to meet basic security requirements. Leadership is the answer. By having one person who oversees deployments, teams can roll out efficiently while still keeping the organisation protected. To find out more about how to deliver with new technologies, please read our report : Delivering on the promise of Digital Innovation.

Cloud adoption just keeps climbing. Public cloud services are now used by 85% of IT and cybersecurity professionals, up from 57% in 2013. But could there be a security storm in the air? Each year...