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Oracle HCM Cloud gets 'big' upgrade

Oracle is bringing consumerlike approaches to its HCM cloud applications. That includes using virtual assistants and intelligent analysis to improve recruiting processes.

DALLAS -- The Oracle HCM Cloud platform is getting a self-described big upgrade. It includes consumerlike approaches to its interfaces and intelligent virtual assistants.

Oracle wants its business applications to be as familiar as consumer apps. This includes intuitive processes, auto-fill forms, and the intelligence to engage and help users. Goals include making employees -- especially recruiters -- more efficient. The human capital management (HCM) applications will also be more uniform across mobile and desktop platforms.

The intent is "to align" the business apps with the "tools and kinds of interactions that employees have in their daily life," said Gretchen Alarcon, group vice president of Oracle's human capital management strategy. She called the sum of improvements a big change for its system.

Users chime in

Gretchen Alarcon, group vice president of Oracle HCM strategyGretchen Alarcon

The Oracle HCM Cloud upgrade rolls out this spring. Although many attendees at Oracle HCM World here have no experience with the upgrade, Oracle user Bill Ball, an HCM project manager at Sonic Automotive, which operates more than 100 dealerships and is based in Charlotte, N.C., recognized what Oracle was trying to do with some of its changes.

For instance, Oracle believes users want text fields prepopulated with the information that's most likely needed. The belief is users would rather edit information than enter it.

"They're trying to compress the time that you spend interacting [with an app], so it's gathering information and prepopulating it," Ball said.

Ball was at the conference with two other HR colleagues from Sonic, but they made it clear that they are looking at a range of HCM vendors.

"We're just in constant evaluation mode, because there are a lot of competitors out there," Ball said.

Citing a need for video training

We want to make sure that the recruiters are getting to the candidates that are most likely to be productive hires for the organization.
Gretchen Alarcongroup vice president of Oracle HCM strategy

Another Oracle HCM cloud user, Radu Ivascu, said he has seen a lot of improvement by Oracle in the consistency of HCM forms across various platforms. "The more consistent they are, the more efficiently a user can perform their job," said Ivascu, an HRIS adviser at the American Bureau of Shipping, a global classification firm based in Houston that develops safety and design standards for ships and other marine structures.

However, Ivascu said he would like to see video training embedded in the Oracle HCM Cloud applications. He has been using videos on YouTube, which he said have been very effective in helping him understand Oracle's applications.

Oracle's improvements will be evaluated by people such as Matthew Chauncey, a systems administrator for the talent management module at a financial services firm. He said he believes Oracle has work to do on its platform, but is also making an investment in them. The presentations at the conference looked good, he said, but he doesn't yet have the upgrade. "I haven't had a chance to actually use them, [or] dig into it myself."

Easing the job application process

Oracle's improvements are also aimed at creating engagement and ease of use for people interested in applying for a job, such as importing a LinkedIn profile. virtual assistants will be able to answer questions. The system, based on what it gleans from the applicant's profile or resume, may recommend additional jobs that might also be of interest.

Oracle believes virtual assistants can do a lot to alleviate the frustration that comes with a job application. In the past, an applicant may have had to turn to an FAQ or wait for a phone call from a recruiter to get their questions answered.

"We want to make sure that the recruiters are getting to the candidates that are most likely to be productive hires for the organization," Alarcon said.

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