Oracle software forecasts a brighter future for human resource solutions

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2012, 12:00am


Many of today's top businesses manage human capital as a strategic asset. They know that success depends on aligning the workforce with business targets and having clear criteria to measure performance and gauge overall corporate progress.

A key to this is not just having the right computer hardware, but also having enterprise software products specifically designed for the needs of human capital management (HCM).

Aware of the importance of everything from recruitment and training to decision-making and profitability, leading technology companies are therefore developing a new range of integrated solutions. These cover both the administrative and strategic sides of human resources (HR) and are suitable for any size of organisation, from local SMEs to the largest multinationals.

'Some of our customers have 200 employees, others have as many as 20,000,' says Rudolf Ho, general manager for Oracle Applications with Oracle Systems Hong Kong. 'They see that moving to a more flexible talent management model facilitates transformation and can give a competitive advantage. It also helps HR executives to transition from an administrative to a strategic approach.'

At one level, the company supplies software to deal more efficiently with day-to-day functions like payroll, absence management, overtime, and 'self-service' leave notifications for staff and managers. On another, there are many more options specially designed to support strategic planning, modules for recruitment, talent management and reviews, succession planning, performance management, compensation, and HR analytics.

'For success in business, you need management agility, and the ability to execute in a timely manner,' Ho says. 'HR managers must optimise use of the talent available and anticipate future needs, despite constant change. That will help keep retention rates high and maintain a competitive advantage.'

Working closely with customers, Ho has seen many examples of HCM software leading to new operating efficiencies. In some organisations, it has reduced the risk of non-compliance and increased productivity through better workflows and data usage. Departments can define and track key performance indicators (KPIs), providing valuable insights to assist talent management, staff deployment, and all-round development. And access to the system allows employees to check personal records and update details with minimum effort.

Part of Oracle's own strategy is to continue expanding the uptake paths and options for HCM products. Significantly, each module, family or entire suite will eventually be available through a 'cloud', either public or private or a hybrid of the two. 'We provide the broadest, most complete, and integrated cloud offerings in the industry,' Ho says. 'We also have the distinction of being the only vendor offering infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).'

Basically, this lets the firm deliver servers, storage and network fabric as a virtualised, pay-per-use service. Alternatively, with PaaS, customers can have an application development and deployment platform. Under SaaS, end-users get applications on demand.

'This means that customers can leverage the most complete suite of HCM applications in the cloud,' says Bird Yip, Oracle's director of HCM and CRM for Greater China. 'The SaaS delivery model means firms have the latest release and innovations.'

Yip says customers also have the assurance of embassy-grade security, simplified integration, and reliability. The focus is on functionality and high-level performance, with the inclusion of industry-leading technology where appropriate.

'Service delivery is accomplished using processes, tooling, and automation designed for the applications,' says Yip. 'This makes our HCM solutions highly flexible and user-friendly. Users can configure the system by setting parameters and drag-and-drop. The modules don't need programming or coding.'

The Oracle public cloud is on the market and winning positive reviews. Based on a subscription model, it is a managed environment with features like built-in identity management, elasticity, and scalable applications.

'HR users don't need to be tech-savvy to take full advantage of it,' Yip says.