In-App Guides #1 – Oracle Guided Learning

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Last month I started looking at in-app guides and Fusion – with the aim of finding the best service to increase user adoption and decrease the need for training.

The first that I’ve managed to see working is Oracle Guided Learning. It’s a product that they’ve acquired (Iridize was one of the market leaders pre September 2018’s acquisition) and I’ve been lucky enough to speak to one of the key people from Iridize who is now forging ahead within Oracle. I’ve also managed to speak to some of the people within Oracle University – as Oracle Guided Learning (OGL from now on) is a service that is now part of Oracle University. Here’s a taste of what I’ve learnt:

How does it look?

It looks good.

Here’s an intro popup upon logon:

OLG1

This can either appear every time or be gone for good once dismissed. This welcome can be multi-step and contain content such as video:

OLG2

The main selling point is the interactive guides that step the user through key tasks however. These are triggered from the drawer on the right-hand side:

OLG3

The users can select which process they want to be guided through, thus:

OLG4OLG5

There are some other nice bells-and-whistles, such as the ability to add information beacons and helpful messages beside certain fields:

OLG6

All considered, a very slick offering.

How is it implemented?

Technically, it’s embedded via a JavaScript ‘hook’ into the Fusion application. What is interesting is the model that OGL is sold in. Instead of selling the application with a monthly/annual price, it’s sold as a managed service. Oracle University has a library of pre-built process walkthroughs that they deliver, but you’re not stuck with vanilla as the client is able to customise some of the flows.

What could be important is that OU look after the maintenance for you, so that if a field changes they will perform the changes to ensure it still works. And as they’re part of Oracle they get the releases early so will make the changes in good time.

How is it sold?

It’s sold as a Cloud service product – so you’d subscribe to it in the same way you would your Cloud apps – and the cost is a percentage based off of your Fusion contract value.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more please do get in touch.

 

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Hands-on with Chatbots (part 1)

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I spent two days last week with a couple of colleagues in Oracle’s city office looking at Chatbots – or ODA (Oracle Digital Assistants) to give them their correct name. It was a really useful workshop.

chatbots

I had been under the misapprehension that chatbots were earlier on the hype cycle than they actually are. Yes, a chat interface will replace most self-service UIs, but that’s 3-5 years off, right? Maybe not.

The growth of messaging apps over the last few years has been incredible. With 6 of the top 10 downloaded apps on the App Store being messaging apps and the spread of chat beyond just the workplace to groups of friends and families – spanning all generations – it’s a technology that almost everyone is comfortable with.

The workshop started with some case studies of companies who already have chatbots live. Examples included:

  • The State of Geneva chatbot allowing citizens to access election results
  • Hermes chatbot allowing users to track parcels
  • Danish Technical University helpdesk chatbot provides FAQs, helpdesk tickets and passwords resets, plus a finance chatbot for expenses, procurement and invoices (integrated with EBS)
  • Pernod Ricard chatbot integrated with JD Edwards
  • Engie (2nd biggest utility company in the World) has a chatbot for Taleo to speed up the hiring process
  • plus about 8-10 more covering government, gaming, sports, brewing etc

So it’s pretty clear that there are many examples of chatbots live, but were they working? It seems like the answer was ‘yes’ there also. Some of the examples above also gave success metrics. The Hermes chatbot has achieved a 50% deflection of customer enquiries away from service agents. They receive 17,000 calls a day and even when a chatbot cannot completely resolve the issue and needs to pass on to a service agent the human interaction time is reduced as the chatbot has collected much of the information needed. The payback time for the chatbot was an astonishing 3 days.

So, after convincing us of the viability of chatbots in the wild already, how do we go about creating them? I’ll address that in part 2 of this post.

Photo credit: Grant Ronald

Fusion and in-app Guides

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I’ve heard a couple of clients recently mentioning that they’d like to have some kind of in-app guide setup to walk their self-service users through common tasks in Fusion, so I thought I’d investigate.

There are quite a few companies that operate in the same area, here are the ones that I found with a short googling session:

Service Cost
Appcues Varies
Iridize Acquired by Oracle, now known as Oracle Guided Learning
MyGuide $1-3/user/month
Pendo Varies
Toonimo Request a Quote
Userlane Request a Quote
WalkMe Request a Quote
Whatfix Request a Quote
UserPilot $119/mth for <2.5k users, $239/mth for up to 10k users

There are also a couple of Open Source alternatives Joyride and Bootstrap Tour. Although they’re free to use, you’re going to need to code to get anything up and running so they’d be significantly higher maintenance.

Over the next few weeks I’ll investigate some of these options and post the results.

Oracle OpenWorld London recap

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A week ago I attended Oracle OpenWorld London. I could only get one day away from client site and the event spanned two days, however the HR content was mostly on the Thursday so that’s the day I went to. Here’s what I learnt:

Macdonald Hotels

The first session of the day was the team from Macdonald Hotels. They’re a couple of phases into their Fusion roll-out already and Kevin, Lauren, Emma and Jason spoke talked through different aspects of their Core HR, Payroll and Taleo implementation.

macdonald hotels

It’s a good story – Kevin had a smart apartment block analogy for using Fusion (I won’t spoil it here, and I suspect this won’t be the last time Macdonald Hotels speak at Oracle events so make sure you catch them).

Lauren spoke about recruitment and said that they can go from raising a requisition, through email approvals and onto the opening being published on job boards in 10 minutes. Very impressive.

Emma gave some detail of their payroll – 3,500 payees across 13 payrolls, some of which have some tricky national minimum wage offset and live-in staff fast formulae. Jason covered reporting and said that they really only use BIP if they need to, as OTBI is much more accessible so the whole team can use it and has built-in security.

They’ve gone from paper-based processes and no self-service so it’s quite a jump. The team are properly passionate about HR and have a strong focus on the end-user experience so it’d be great to see more of their implementation.

Mark Hurd Keynote

Mark was the Oracle keynote speaker and having seen him present in person before I was looking forward to seeing him talk again. He pulled out at the last minute – I guess he was ill – which was unfortunate.

He did speak remotely, however I took the opportunity to catch up with some customers who were present instead.

AXA

As you’d expect for a company the size of AXA, their roll-out has a significantly longer time-scale. They’ve been working on it for a while though so they’ve made good progress. They’re working with a blend of partners (about 5, I think).

My biggest takeaway from this session was their Quarterly Update approach. They alternate between the mandatory changes during the Oracle enforced timelines and optional changes in the gaps. They do not want to fall too far behind the curve or build up a big backlog of changes to apply so are taking optional functionality in between each of the Quarterlies. Their view is that “There’s no happy ending, it’s a neverending story.”

They also had a nice model for displaying the roadmap items to identify quick wins and high-value changes.

Chris Leone

I was looking forward to hearing Chris Leone as he’s a charismatic speaker who is always positive about new functionality. He’s also high enough in the Oracle hierarchy to be able to freely discuss the upcoming changes.

chris leone

Chris walked us through the functionality that we’ll be looking to get our hands on and then said:

“Normally, vendors show roadmap slides showing 6 to 12 months out. This is all coming in the next 3 months.”

What a great message.

Some of the functionality that he discussed was:

  • Location-based access control – roles can only be active if the user is in a particular place, so users could view self-service globally, but only see certain higher security pages when in the office.
  • HCM Experience Design Studio – making personalisation quicker and easier
  • He demoed Performance Management on mobile using voice input
  • He also spoke about an imminent ‘Mobile Challenge’. It seems Oracle are so confident that their new responsive UI is the right way to go (instead of native mobile apps) that they’re creating a mobile challenge where you can see how the pages look on your device versus other vendors.

Overall

The venue itself seemed really busy – I’ve seen estimates of 8-10,000 attendees and I guess the high turnout took Oracle by surprise as I heard that the registration queues on Wednesday were lengthy.

The demo grounds were busy with lots of exhibitors and the balance of existing customer/potential customer/vendor/partner was healthy. The lunchtime sandwiches were a bit ropey though – I might bring my own next time!

The Cedar/V1 Knowledge Day

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Every year at Cedar we hold a ‘Knowledge Day’, where all our employees come off-site and gather in a hotel somewhere to share knowledge. Although there’s significant lost revenue, it’s an invaluable way of getting everyone together and keeping our skills current. It was particularly pleasing that after being acquired our new owners were supportive of the event – with some Version 1 execs having speaking slots.

We spent the morning as a complete group for a number of sessions on Cedar integration into V1, the plans for the future etc. Graham Varley was one of our OpenWorld delegation, so was able to share many of the themes that he’d picked up upon whilst over in San Francisco.

01 - Graham Varley on OOW Themes
Graham demonstrates a ‘trap’ for a self-driving car (it cannot cross the road markings)

In the afternoon we split into streams – two for PeopleSoft (1x Func and 1x Tech) and a stream for Oracle Cloud apps.

In the Cloud track we started with Cedar’s Mel talking about the differences between Taleo recruiting and the new Oracle Recruiting Cloud module.

02 - Mel Billingy on ORC vs Taleo.jpgMel and ORC vs Taleo

We were then joined by Andy McGhee from Oracle who was kind enough to run a couple of sessions – one on the work of the HCM Cloud Development Centre of Excellence and how to work better with them, and one on the NewsFeed/Responsive UX.

03 - Andy McGhee on The HCM Cloud CoE and Newsfeed &amp; Responsive UXAndy McGhee on NewsFeed/Responsive UX

Finally we were joined by Andy Camelford and Jonathan Goldsmith who gave us a showcase of the Oracle Learning Cloud – which has come on hugely since many of us had last seen it.

04 - Johnathan Goldsmith on OLC
Jonathan Goldsmith on OLC

After that it was back together for some final words, then off to the pub for some traditional networking 🙂

 

Cedar’s Annual Executive Dinner

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We held Cedar’s annual ‘Cloud and PeopleSoft Executive Dinner’ last night in the fantastic St. Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster.

01 - Venue

We had around 50 clients present, plus attendees from Oracle, some from Cedar, and – for the first time – also our new Version 1 colleagues present too.

A venue itself was fantastic:

03 - Tables from above.jpg

We started with ‘early bird’ streams where we split the Cloud and PeopleSoft people into different areas and provided updates on their respective products from what we’d gleaned at Oracle OpenWorld.

Then we adjourned for dinner with a Cedar/Version1 update and after dinner speaker:

05 - SW top 5s.jpg

If you would like an invite for the next one, please get in touch.

HCM Cloud and Robots

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A short explainer video on the use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools with Oracle HCM Cloud.