What can an application like Oracle HCM Cloud do for your organization?
If nothing else, at a very high level, organizations with a high rate of HR technology adoption among their users have “doubled the gross revenue per employee” and “a 12% increase in their overall HR, Talent, and Business outcome metrics.” At least, that’s what the 2017 edition of the highly respected Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey found.
Specifically, with Oracle HCM Cloud, companies like Stolt Nielsen have improved HR efficiency by reducing HR processing time by 50% and external IT support by 80%. That’s impressive, to say the least.
When it comes to HCM technologies, Oracle HCM Cloud is in a tug of war with Workday and SAP SuccessFactors. Nearly 2400 enterprise companies hold a Oracle HCM Cloud subscription, as of May 2018, according to Gartner. Of these, almost 1700 have already gone live. Workday is not far behind. More than 2200 companies have purchased its license and 1600 are already live.
Good numbers. It may also be added that majority of the Fortune 500 organizations are concentrated in the hands of these two companies.
In an ideal world, you could be forgiven for saying both Oracle HCM Cloud and Workday are doing pretty well. But this not an ideal world. The business side talk of Oracle HCM and Workday is best reserved for another day. For now, the emphasis is on implementation and the challenges that follow, specifically with regards to user adoption.
To be fair, Oracle HCM Cloud implementation challenges come in two phases. One which is prior to go-live and involves logistical and technical challenges like data migration, data conversion and integration. The second is people related and is about user acceptance and adoption.
A 2015 study by Panorama Consulting found 21% organizations categorized their ERP implementation “as a failure.” KPMG found last year that 63% HR leaders expected more from their cloud HCM software than they had achieved. But many companies don’t go that far. Poor user adoption can result in implementation failure as was the case with a manufacturing client Panorama Consulting was working with. Another recent study found that companies going for HCM applications are high in number but satisfaction is extremely, extremely low.
Panorama reported that some departments in the manufacturing company completely abandoned the ERP software and reverted back to their legacy processes. This is a classic case of software implementation failure, something that is also a common occurrence in Oracle HCM deployments.
Users can abandon new software systems like Oracle HCM Cloud if they don’t instantly understand how to use it effectively. Traditional training can be forced upon them but delivers little value in the medium and long term. In reality, traditional training also doesn’t work because it is not on-the-job.
And, if users don’t really utilize Oracle HCM Cloud, they can never really find the value that it can offer. If users don’t utilize Oracle HCM Cloud, they can never generate double the revenue they were generating earlier.
The success of Oracle HCM Cloud is squarely dependent on adoption at the user level. Poor adoption results in failure while high levels of end user adoption of Oracle HCM Cloud would result in success and value realization for companies who deploy it.
In some ways, HCM software is unique. Applications are Oracle HCM Cloud are big ticket buys because HCM must always be centralized in any organization. Someone like a Cummins can only have one HCM Cloud across the entire organization even though the manufacturing giant has offices in more than 190 countries. And all the employees across all these geographies have to be on one Cloud HCM application.
That’s very much unlike a CRM software which can be isolated within one department or geography.
And so, such a mandatorily organization-wide deployment brings its own set of challenges before companies can actually realize the benefits that the likes of Cummins and Stolt Nielsen have realized. The technical side of the implementation can be done if you have the right personnel and implementation team. Failure is possible but factors that contribute to success are largely under control.
The people side of implementation is when the real challenges spring up and things start getting a little tricky. With Oracle HCM Cloud, challenges could range from the most obvious to the most unexpected.
A recent Mercer study found that 29% of their internal users didn’t have any HCM technology knowledge while 37% had deep trouble with using certain functionalities like reports and analytics. Be prepared for just these two problems and risk factor comes crashing down to the safe zone.
Nevertheless, there are some persistent challenges that companies must solve or plan for during implementation to improve their success rates.
If you are going live with Oracle HCM Cloud, there is obviously a case of organizational change. You would know from experience that the toughest part of change management is communication. Telling users that change is necessary, or more importantly, why a switch to Oracle HCM Cloud is absolutely necessary. So, how does one communicate the necessity and importance of change to a globally distributed audience? Just an email? A generic webcast? How? That’s the challenge.
Geography brings huge challenges. To ensure users across 190 countries accept and adopt a new cloud HCM platform is a mammoth task. Even if HR function users aren’t located in across all those countries, they would still be distributed across multiple time zones and continents. Yet, you want to ensure all these HR functional users utilize Oracle HCM Cloud effectively. Which means you must arrange for all of their training. And that’s a logistical nightmare you don’t want but can’t avoid.
Oracle HCM Cloud has very frequent feature releases that are auto-pushed to the entire base at the same time. Now, that challenge can be broken down to two sub-challenges. One, where your HR function user base needs to have access to renewed and updated training on how to use the product. Second, you need to somehow train the non-HR functional users who only login to Oracle HCM Cloud once in a fortnight or a month. They login once, file a check their leave balance for the year and logout. The next time they login, the interface is all different and now they are clueless. So, the problems is to help them in realtime so they are not mentally invested in a task as simple as checking their leave absence.
Providing support isn’t a challenge. Providing support that doesn’t eat into employee productivity is the challenge. No matter how easy to use the Oracle HCM Cloud interface is. No matter how well it is implemented, users will always be puzzled when they actually interface with the system for a different task. The key is to really provide support post go-live that improves the user experience by way of quick and simple resolution. Support is also a good opportunity for companies to train their employees. That’s since support is task-based and training should essentially be task based. Think about the efficiency you can generate when you do both.
In the long run to value realization on Oracle HCM Cloud, these are the biggest hurdles. At the same time, there are a lot of other challenges which are comparatively easier to resolve. Some of them are:
The problem is often more important than the solution.
Different companies could think of different ways in which they can solve. If you observe, almost all of these challenges are hurdles to long term user adoption of Oracle HCM Cloud. And user adoption can be improved with the right guidance. Guidance that helps end users in a way that is aligned with their expectations and learning habits. For instance, employees like knowledge to available precisely at the time of need, they want to learn at work in their processes.
What employees don’t want to do at all is spend time away from work in training trying to learn HR processes they will not really remember anyway. Digital guidance is a great solution here that can help companies solve these major challenges:
We are going to be talking about about a really good way to solve these challenges in a webinar on December, 4th. Once the webinar is done, we’ll sum it up here and post the recording as well. You can register for the webinar here.