Highlights of Oracle CloudWorld 2018 - Human Resources Stream

The promise was huge, an event that could deliver everything ALL IN ONE place. Everything a business professional would want to know about how technology can truly enable people to embrace the digital landscape and culture, drive business strategy and deliver results. The stuff dreams are made of. So did they deliver? 

We were here as a Gold Sponsor of the HR stream, so after our booth was ready for action it was all systems go for the official Opening Keynotes. The event kicked off with a ‘bang’ with global and local heavy hitting ‘Chiefs’ from Oracle, ANZ, Westpac, NSW eHealth and Deloitte.

Digital is different, and it’s changing fast

Ashish Mohindroo (Vice President, Oracle Cloud) set the scene right from the start that no matter what your industry, digital is changing everything and fast. If you want to keep up you need to embrace the emerging technologies in the Enterprise Cloud Space (ie. Artificial Intelligence - AI/ Machine Learning - ML, Blockchain, Autonomous Software, IoT – Internet of Things, and Human Interface). Sounds exciting, but maybe a little overwhelming for some. The important thing Ashish emphasised is "don't just try to recreate on-premise complexity in the cloud."  

My favourite mantra at the moment is Digital is different. He also mentioned a really cool recent innovation where the cloud is self-driving, self-securing (running auto-patches without outages) and self-repairing. Although I am having flashes of scenes from ‘iRobot’ and other movies where robots ‘take over’ the world, it makes sense that we should all take advantage of the next step in autonomous automation.

Mark Sunday (CIO and Senior Vice-President, Oracle) shared Oracle’s journey in the cloud, explaining the real business benefits of implementing the cloud modules in a phased approach to drive internal efficiencies and embrace their own innovation (effectively drinking their own champagne – maybe it’s something different for those robots!). Most importantly, Mark reminded us that “to get more value out of the Cloud at a much faster pace, you don’t just take advantage of the cloud, you need to start to think and operate as a cloud company” – a subtle, but critical difference.

Are you up for the challenge?

David Curran (Group CIO, Westpac) provided a client’s perspective including “technology is the challenge and the opportunity for our generation” describing IT and HR in an epic battle for supremacy (using a tennis match metaphor that had me imagining robots on the court) that slows things down in the cloud and must disappear. A new era of collaboration demands Tech people become more business savvy and Business people become more tech savvy. He said he was already seeing this trend and expects the distinction to blur even further in the next 2-3 years (maybe not to a ‘love-all’ score, but getting closer together ...).

Back to the Innovation Showcase … Wow, just under 2,000 registered delegates (and almost half of these listing the HR stream as their primary interest). The room was packed with an engaged, energetic, excited buzz.

We still need humans (thank goodness!)

The HR Stream kicks off on the roadmap for Oracle HCM Cloud. Back to those robots … Luckily Gretchen Alarcon (Group VP HCM Strategy, Oracle) reassures us that the vision for people power, chatbots and AI is to ‘MAKE WORK MORE HUMAN’. The consistent theme of disruptive business models, digital transformation, emerging technologies is positioned as an intelligence-driven enterprise enabling connected outcomes. Business, Communication and the Workforce are changing – all at an accelerated rate, leaving a widening gap between technology, individuals and business. Gretchen identified the opportunity between businesses and individuals and highlighted that Cloud technology 1.0 wasn’t enough and 2.0 needs to focus on simplicity + intelligence.

There are some great new features that are designed to make work more enjoyable through purpose-built mobile functionality that reflects the user experience of some of the social platforms and consumer apps (a necessity for our increasing digital-native millennial workforce). These are great examples of how Oracle HCM Cloud is enabling organisations to future-proof business to help unleash the power of people.

The concept of Adaptive Intelligence as a natural evolution of Artificial Intelligence is a notable example of Oracle HCM Cloud making the future a reality. Artificial being machine learning and decision making whereas Adaptive is looking at taking other factors around what we know and using that to make decisions. Solutions are starting to incorporate adaptive intelligence to try and be more targeted in how it uses and/or pushes information.

Gretchen’s afternoon session followed on from the morning and picked up on the future of Adaptive Intelligence and where it could truly support HR in providing valuable insights into common behaviours and patterns. Learning how candidates of a certain demographic like to be engaged means we can tailor the recruitment experience for them. Learning which candidates are more likely to take a job offer based on their behaviours changes the selection process and can reduce the cost to hire.

Finally, a key takeaway was the rise of the Employee Experience as a critical differentiator from a product and time to value perspective. TICK… Perfect affirmation of our approach to digital delivery of our Oracle HCM Cloud DNA deployment options and Employee Experience services. 

Digital is different, change has changed

The speed of implementation is accelerating and the best designed solution, with all the infused AI and robotics, still needs to be used by people. The importance of a robust Change Management plan was reiterated as a critical success factor by Linda Redfearn (Head of HR, Blackmores) and Andrew Dellaposta (Group HR Operations Manager, Findex) with our very own HCM Cloud Delivery Manager, Sameer Jain.

It’s a wrap…

A quick word from our leader, Ruth Postle around our client issues, successes and top tips including our digital Employee Experience services; some VR (Virtual Reality) and a prize draw before it was officially a ‘wrap’ and some serious networking to end a jam-packed day. It was entirely fitting that there should be so much on offer to reflect the fast, complex, online world we live in.

But is it???

The real fun starts tomorrow when we all decide how we are going to make the most of all the transformation ideas and opportunities.  Can’t wait for next year ... maybe the event will be run by robots ...

Event review by Dianne East, Digital HR Transformation Specialist, Presence of IT