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Oracle to add generative AI to HR systems by year's end

Oracle is adding generative AI to its HR platform, and claims it will deliver significant efficiency gains. But the AI output will be in areas where human review takes place.

Oracle is poised to incorporate generative AI capabilities into its HR platform, which the company believes will greatly increase productivity and help with writer's block.

The integration of generative AI into Oracle's HR systems will be comprehensive. Wherever there's a chance to implement these AI functions, Oracle intends to do so, potentially affecting hundreds of facets within its HR platform.

On an individual level, the advances may seem incremental, but overall, "the improvement in productivity is going to be quite dramatic," said Rich Buchheim, vice president of product management at Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Applications.

Oracle plans to have the capability ready by year's end and added to existing applications that are part of the Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM.

HR vendors have been hurrying to add generative AI features. While generative AI's capability is well known at this point, HR's use of it is still in its infancy.

Most planned HR vendor deployments, at least among large HR system providers, are works in progress, with production dates still in the future. UKG recently set its use of Google's Vertex platform to add generative AI. Workday has discussed generative AI's potential for months but has yet to detail deployment plans.

"We are exploring different use cases," said Carl Eschenbach, Workday's co-CEO, speaking at an investors conference earlier this month. That might include a personal assistant that helps HR workers once they log into a system.

Generative AI "will rapidly become bare-minimum functionality," said Evelyn McMullen, an analyst at Nucleus Research. For prominent HCM providers, staying updated with technology trends is critical for retaining their market positioning and competitive advantage, she added.

Oracle HR and generative AI

In Oracle's case, generative AI will help HR employees write content -- job ads, performance goals, employee goals and help desk material -- and summarize content, such as performance reviews. Oracle's AI already assembles performance review data and feedback, but generative AI will summarize that data.

But there are also limits to what generative AI can do. While Oracle sees AI as a powerful tool, its output will not be applied to HR systems of record "without human curation, without human review and without the ability of humans to make modifications and changes," Buchheim said. "We see it as an assistant right now, and a very powerful one."

We see it as an assistant right now, and a very powerful one.
Rich BuchheimVice president of product management, Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Applications

The tool can jumpstart difficult tasks, or what Buchheim calls the "blank page syndrome," where starting a writing task is challenging. What generative AI recommends "may not all be right, but there are likely to be some ideas in there that make sense." he said.

Oracle also believes that generative AI will improve the quality of data. The more data it creates for a customer's system, the more refined that data will be. The customers maintain control of the data the generative AI uses, which Oracle says will keep data safe.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, said the "sooner, faster, easier and more intuitive" HR workers can find answers, the better. Generative AI has "massive acceleration potential for employees."

Mueller added that he believes generative AI's most significant impact may be in self-service, with efficiency gains "that are substantial."

McMullen agreed that generative AI can generate considerable time savings for HR departments across recruiting, development and managing employee inquiries.

She added that vendors must be clear about the security measures and "fully transparent about how data is used and protected."

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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