Sharing HCM Cloud Project Plans Effectively

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One thing that’s different in the world of Oracle HCM Cloud is that there are more, quicker projects than in the ‘old world’. Instead of an 18-month upgrade we have shorter initial implementations, often with a smaller scope, and then return for subsequent phases where extra modules are added. Frequently these are fixed price projects too. A result of this is that the projects have to be much more tightly controlled.

In the ‘old world’ the Project Manager wouldn’t dream of sharing their project plan as it was a monstrously complicated beast of gargantuan proportions and wouldn’t be understandable or useful to anyone outside of the PMO (Project Management Office). Instead, they’d carve up smaller work packages and share those instead.

In the ‘new world’ – with smaller, shorter projects – it seems that it’s increasingly common for Project Plans to be shared around as they’re far more comprehensible. MS Project is expensive, so few people have it installed and, as a result, the Project Manager exports the plan to PDF and emails it around.

The problem is that MS Project’s export to PDF is horrible. Any project with even a small level of detail spans multiple pages and it’s impossible to line up the project items on the left with any of the Gantt chart lines, and working out dependencies is impossible.

The solution is an easy one, and it is to export to an image instead. It only takes a few minutes and exports the complete view to something that’s easily readable by everyone.

  1. Select Copy Picture:2015-09-03 21_03_12-Project Professional - Data%20Migration.mpp [Compatibility Mode]
  2. On the resulting dialog leave the top radio button selected as ‘for screen’2015-09-03 21_06_06-Copy Picture
  3. Choose ‘Selected Rows’ (this allows you to control whether a segment of the plan or the whole plan is output). It is best to select the rows you want before choosing ‘Copy Picture’
  4. Choose the timescale that you need. This sets the left and right edges of the Gantt chart so it’s best to choose the start and end of your project.
  5. Click OK.
  6. If your project is massive you might get the option of whether you want a large image, or just to zoom out the on the Gantt chart.
  7. The image is on your clipboard, so you can paste it somewhere. Maybe in a graphics package, or a Word Doc. If you want it to go straight to a file then select GIF in the top box of the dialogue above.

The resulting image file for a 250 line project might look something like this:


Everyone’s computer contains an image viewer of some kind so it’s accessible to all. It’s a single file so people can scroll around it easily, and zoom in and out as required (the text looks blurry as I’ve deliberately obscured it).

If only more people would do this then MS Project wouldn’t get such a bad name …

Microsoft Edge and the Oracle HCM Cloud

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edgeThe Windows 10 upgrade was released late last week, and with it came a new web browser – Microsoft Edge. Formerly codenamed Project Spartan, Edge is the default web browser in Windows 10. Internet Explorer 11 is also included with the new OS, but is basically unchanged from the version of IE11 found in Windows 7 and 8.1.

Although it might be a while until Windows 10 gains widespread enterprise adoption, it’ll likely have reasonably swift uptake in the home so Edge will start becoming an important browser for cloud-based systems that are designed to be used outside of the enterprise within 6 months or so.

First Impressions of Edge

It’s actually pretty nice. It’s clean, unobtrusive (unlike those Firefox skins) and snappy to use. It doesn’t work for all websites however – some sites give the following:

IE is needed

This is controlled by a ‘blacklist’ of sites however, so there’s no need to worry about your Fusion or Taleo implementations giving this message.

Edge and Taleo

So, does it work with Taleo? The answer is Yes, it certainly seems to. I’ve spent a fair amount of time noodling through some ‘difficult’ pages and they look OK. I compared with Cedar’s internal Taleo 14A (TEE) environment and it looks like it renders everything well. I checked configurations pages, the Recruiting Center (which loads, even with the Adobe Flex content) and even a career section:

Edge and Taleo

edge career section

Edge and Fusion

So, does it work with Fusion? Mostly, yes. The first time I tried to log on it stalled on the sign-on page, but when I refreshed it logged straight in. I couldn’t get it to do it again, so maybe it was just a one-off glitch.

The rest seemed to perform well.

edge and fusion

Storyboarding with Oracle

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We’ve all been told that presentations and demos will be better received if we weave a story around our topic and we take the audience on a journey with us.

Taking this concept a stage further is Storyboarding. Instead of using PowerPoint as the visual aid to your story, you start with a blank dry-wipe whiteboard and build up the big picture via a series of interconnected images as you move through your session.

Last week Oracle hosted a ‘Storyboarding workshop’ for Oracle HCM Cloud partners. We were obviously present and heard about the new improvements coming in HCM Cloud Release 10, but also some first-hand accounts from Oracle staff about how they’d used Whiteboard selling with customers successfully.

My first concern was that I’m no Picasso when I’m fully concentrating, so what my drawing would be like when trying to multitask and talk at the same time I dreaded to think. However, Oracle’s deck showed that the level of artistry necessary is something that pretty much anyone could achieve:

Then we adjourned to side-rooms and each partner present began to create their own story and accompanying picture. The end result wasn’t a polished and slick spiel as we only had a couple of hours to throw it together, and it’s a little cheesy/corny, however – for your amusement – here’s our masterpiece:

2015-07-02 14.58.11The story that we told alongside it was of a client (draw house/office in the Uk with Union Jack post-it) needing to expand. In this case, the growth was to France and beyond (draw Eiffel Tower and Tricolour – unwittingly used upside-down here!). The client has an on-premise system that is large and slow (draw ferry).

The client has a number of options to adapt their business systems for the required level of growth. They can:

a) Customise and add bolt-ons to their existing system. Although this might improve things slightly (draw tug to pull ferry along) you’re still left with most of the problems that you had before. Using the ferry analogy, it’s slow, you’ve got no internet access as you go so you aren’t productive and there is a limit to your growth as the ferry has a finite range.

b) Choose a competitor product (draw EuroStar). This is analogous to the EuroStar in that it is an upgrade to the ferry as it is faster and you may have internet access for some of the trip. Like a competitor’s product however, you’re still limiting your growth (the EuroStar only goes to some cities) and your visibility of the big picture of your business suffers when you’re in a tunnel.

c) Choose the Oracle HCM Cloud (draw cloud and plane). This is obviously analogous to flying which is the quickest route (although technically I guess this depends upon where you start!). It also unleashes your company’s growth in a number of ways (adding post-its as we discuss them):

It’s Global
Just as planes fly to many more destinations than ferries or the EuroStar, the HCM Cloud has more numerous and deeper translations than competitors.

It’s Agile
In the same way that flying gives a greater choice of timetables and destinations, Oracle gives a lot more flexibility over upgrade timetables than competitors.

It’s Mobile
When you’re flying you have internet access so you can check out the Oracle Social Network which enables you to proactively see whether there are any striking workers at the ports (draw burning blockade in front of ferry), or you could use Oracle TAP to review CVs of the latest batch of job applicants and catch up with the performance reviews of your team. If you take other modules from the Oracle Cloud you could even file an expense claim for that beer you had in the departure lounge.

It’s Personalised
In the same way that airlines decorated their planes in country colours for the London 2012 Olympics, the HCM Cloud can be branded to your company’s corporate colour schemes.

It’s Insightful
When you’re on a ferry you’re disconnected. When you’re in the EuroTunnel you’re in the dark. When you’re in the air you get a great high-level view of what’s going on.

It’s Reliable
We’ve all heard the statistic that flying is the safest mode of travel. The Oracle HCM Cloud uses Oracle’s Red Stack from top-to-bottom, and 19/20 of the top Cloud companies also use Oracle’s software.

2015-07-02 15.27.01Cedar’s Simon helping deliver the pitch

The final part of the pitch was ‘why Cedar’. In this analogy Cedar are your friendly pilot. We take you on the journey, reassuringly allaying any fears at take-off, steering around any turbulence and providing a smooth landing.

It’s hilariously-cheesy, we know. In our defence, it was hastily put together and it needs a lot of finesse before we ever consider using it outside the safe environment of the Oracle offices. It was however, a great learning experience and a fun afternoon.

One Year at Cedar

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Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my start date at Cedar. The year has passed really quickly and – although during the ‘heat of the moment’ it may seem like you’re only making small steps – when you take the time to step back and reflect you can see genuine progress has been made.

I’m not in any way pretending or implying that all of these are as a result of my presence – that would be doing a real disservice to the great people at Cedar – however these are areas that I’ve enjoyed contributing to, in some shape or form.


Cedar is now Specialised (Oracle accredited, in other words) to implement both Fusion and Taleo after passing a series of exams and client success criteria.


We’ve hired some genuinely game-changing staff to take our Oracle Cloud practice forwards (and some high-quality additions to the PeopleSoft side too). We’ve also progressed a good amount of our existing PeopleSoft consultants through the Fusion and Taleo courses, giving us a much more flexible resourcing pool.

Knowledge Sharing

We’ve presented at multiple UKOUG events, Cedar’s own ‘Oracle Cloud and PeopleSoft Day’ and have much more lined up to give (including OpenWorld if we’re selected). We view sharing with the community as a vital part of our place in the Oracle ecosystem. The Fusion/Taleo and PeopleSoft newsletters have gone from strength to strength – the Fusion/Taleo subscriber base has more than tripled, and the PeopleSoft list has grown from 650 to more than 1,000.

We’ve also launched our much-improved website, with lots of content and case studies.


We came away from the UKOUG Partner of the Year awards with a Gold and a Silver, in PeopleSoft and Taleo respectively, which we were very pleased with as it’s voted for by end-users.

Client Wins

For obvious reasons I can’t mention details here, but we’ve had some very satisfying gains in the last 12 months and the pipeline currently looks very strong for further Fusion and Taleo work.

We’ve also got a handful of really great initiatives coming up that we think will be very well received in the market.

Oracle Relationship

We now have much stronger links with Oracle. On the PeopleSoft side, we have a great many good links at all levels, and we’ve a much better understanding of the ever-shifting landscape on the Oracle Cloud side.

Had Fun

In addition to the hard work, we’ve also had some fun along the way. From cocktail nights, to team days in the sun, to exploring our new office and the surroundings, all while getting to know a new group of colleagues has been a real privilege. We’re all off to Paris for our Summer Team day later this week where I’m sure the laughter will continue.

I’m looking forward to a second great year.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2015

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Every year Mary Meeker (partner at Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers) publishes her take on the prevailing Internet Trends. It’s a lengthy read, but always absolutely engrossing. I’ve pulled out a few slides below, but encourage you to find the time to read her presentation as I’ve surely missed gems that others will spot.

1) Internet use is unsurprisingly increasing (by about 30 mins a year), but this increase is all coming from mobile devices. This means two things. Firstly, mobile internet usage is becoming hugely important (it’s now overtaken desktop/laptop use in terms of hours per day). Secondly, and most importantly, the increase in mobile usage is in addition to, not at the expense of desktop/laptop use.

2) Vertical video is now ‘a thing’

3) Messaging Apps are increasing their functionality (using the messaging functionality as a base to build from to create a cross-platform information hub for messages and notifications). Examples include Hangouts, WeChat, Viber, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook messenger. People are using multiple apps to cover all of their diverse communities (work, family, hobbies etc).

4) Millennials – 87% say that “my smartphone never leaves my side, day or night”. They are now the largest generation in our workforce (35%, versus 31% for Gen-X and Boomers).

Cedar at the Oracle Modern Business Summit

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Last week Cedar was one of the partners exhibiting at the Oracle Modern Business Summit. Naturally our focus was on the HCM Cloud and Simon, Greg – our new Taleo guru – and myself were on hand to demo the HCM and Talent Clouds to customers.

Duncan and Simon

We also benefited from attending some of the sessions – by Oracle staff and end-user thought leaders.

The highlight for me was Stewart Monk’s session on the HR Technology choices facing us now and for the workplace in 2025. He had some great facts and figures on technology adoption and usage. What’s the World’s #2 search engine? (Clue: it’s not Bing!) …. highlight here for the answer >YouTube<. He also shared some hilarious videos, including one particularly memorable one about wearable computing and tracking of employees that was so invasive and creepy I’m convinced it must have been an April fools joke.

Stewart Monk

Other highlights included customer sessions from Elizabeth Arden and Macmillan, plus a panel with JT Group, Endeva, Cheshire Council and others.

Cedar at the Modern Business Summit

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Cedar will be at Oracle’s Modern Business Summit at the end of April. Come and see us if you want to learn about all things HCM Cloud.

It’s a 3 day event held at the Hotel Pullman in London, just a short 5 minute walk from our Kings Cross office. (We actually have some exciting news about a new office coming, but that’s for another entry.)

Cedar are Gold sponsors of the HCM day (there are also days for Financials and Marketing/Sales), we’ve got an exhibition stand and we will be discussing how our services can help you.

I attended last years’ event at the ExCeL convention centre in the London Docklands. It was really, really busy and there was a lot of great content to take in. This year is only going to be bigger. If you’d like to attend please get in touch and we’ll help you to register.