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.
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.
Mel 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.
Andy 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.
Jonathan Goldsmith on OLC
After that it was back together for some final words, then off to the pub for some traditional networking 🙂
Oracle held a webinar tonight, unveiling their newest offering – Oracle Soar – with the strapline “the last upgrade you’ll ever do”.
The webinar started with Larry outlining the premise that if you’re an eBusiness Suite Financials customer you can ‘upgrade’ to ERP Cloud (here the term ‘upgrade’ was used in the context of moving from EBS to ERP Cloud). Then – thanks to the continuous delivery model giving you incremental improvements – you’ll never need another upgrade project ever again.
Larry looking comfortable in jeans and trainers
So Oracle Soar is the term for moving to the Cloud and ridding yourself of upgrades? No, not really.
In the next part of the webinar Larry covered ‘how’ the upgrades happen. Oracle will deliver automated upgrades from EBS to ERP Cloud (or Fusion, as Larry repeatedly called it). This part sounded very smart as the evaluator tool looks at integrations and customisations, plus there’s a configuration analyser which looks at config and memory etc. It then automatically configures your Fusion instance in the Cloud. The data is then automatically extracted, transformed and loaded. Larry claimed that it’s all completely automated, however I would think semi-automated is really the best that you can hope for here, given the complexity of some on-premises implementations (and Oracle have nodded to this by also offering consulting services alongside the automation).
Oracle are leading with EBS Financials (12.x and above), however other modules and Apps Unlimited systems (including PeopleSoft) will follow at some unspecified point in the future.
So, Oracle Soar is the automation that upgrades you from Apps Unlimited/on-premises to the Cloud? No, not really.
Next Larry brought Steve Miranda on-stage for a product demo of a very impressive extension of the base HCM Cloud offering that Oracle had built for Verizon. Steve asked Amazon Echo / Alexa for any outstanding approvals just using voice interface. Alexa read out an absence request. Steve asked for the employee’s remaining vacation balance, which Alexa gave him. Then Steve then approved the the absence request.
It was a very slick demo, and a wonderful glimpse of the future, but I was scratching my head to understand what this had to do with Oracle Soar. Maybe they just wanted a fun interlude?
In the next segment it was announced that there’s a consulting offering alongside the technical tool – Oracle Consulting Service will provide up to 30 integrations and custom reports.
There was also mention that Fusion comes with a large library of over 100 pluggable integrations (potentially reducing the amount of integration rework when moving from EBS) and – given the broader functionality in Fusion – the opportunity to retire some customisations.
Larry then returned to the Fusion sales-pitch, discussing the level of automation in ERP Cloud (automated consolidations enable continuous daily closes, invoices and expense reports are scanned with near 100% accuracy, automated fraud detection, extensibility with Visual Builder etc).
All very interesting and exciting, but it seemed that we’d meandered away from Soar again.
Beth Boettcher (SVP North America Applications Consulting) came on stage next and talked through some mock-ups of a dashboard that Oracle will use to help walk clients through the process.
It looked very slick as a templated project delivery and there will be some clients who can work within the bounds of the template that’ll find it useful. Beth also did well to fit all of the offerings (including Oracle University, Customer Success Manager etc) into an aviation theme.
I’m sure when the marketing material arrives the service will be a lot clearer, but the initial announcement was a strangely structured 40 minute session, with Larry unveiling the technical wizardry, a couple of interludes where the product was highlighted and the services offering bolted on the end.
So what is Oracle Soar?
Oracle Soar is the umbrella term for a set of services that migrate on-premises customers to the Cloud by:
- helping with the difficult parts of implementation by automating them (requirements gathering, integration, migration), and
- providing a templated project structure and consulting services to accelerate the move to the Cloud
There will be an on-demand replay posted here if you wish to see the announcement for yourself.
Cedar’s annual Oracle Day was held earlier this week in London. It had a good mix of content across 4 streams and we had about 80 people in attendance so some sessions were standing room only.
I was particularly pleased as this was our strongest year yet in terms of content and speakers for the Oracle Cloud stream.
Gender Pay & Robots, What Does the Future of HR Look Like?
We started with Andy Campbell’s session. In addition to the topics in the title he also talked about gig workers, diversity, millennials and we all played a game called “How likely is it that a robot will take my job?”
If I recall correctly, there’s a 77% chance that bartenders will be out of work when the robot revolution arrives.
Oracle Recruiting Cloud and HR HelpDesk Cloud
Mike Everitt followed up with two sessions, one focusing on the new Oracle Recruiting Cloud that Oracle have released which looks great and is very, very exciting – particularly for mid-size clients initially.
Mike also gave us a thorough demo of the HR Helpdesk Cloud. For those from the PeopleSoft HR world we always had to deploy CRM to get HR Helpdesk, now we can get it without having to set up lots of integration between pillars.
Lucy Group: Around the World in 30 Days
Bianca Shephard – the client-side Project Manager for the Lucy Group implementation – gave a really good session on how to implement HCM Cloud and end up with a company full of employees who love the system.
If you want to hear Bianca speak or more about the implementation there’s a 3 minute video here.
Keynote: What’s Now & Next for Oracle HCM Cloud
Excitingly we had two speakers for the HCM Cloud keynote – June Farmer and Sarah Henry.
June appeared via video link to give us a run through of the high-level themes and a bit about where AI fits into the applications (areas where we already have it, and areas that it will be added to). June did a great job, despite it being very early in her time zone and didn’t mind us beaming her face up on the 12 foot wide screen.
June was followed by Sarah who gave us great demo of how the newsfeed UI – that we’re expecting later this year – is going to dramatically improve the experience for our customers and their users. Not only is the homepage very different, but many of the application pages are being redesigned and streamlined too.
Sarah did an awesome job demoing across multiple gadgets to show how the UI adapts responsively to different device resolutions.
So, in summary, a great event with a lot to consider for customers – whether it’s future HR trends, potential new modules, how to make your users fans of the system or how the newsfeed UI will change the game.
Earlier this week Cedar held its Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud event in Oracle’s London City office. We have a really strong team of UK-based Talent Acquisition specialists within our ranks:
Jo, Prachi, Marc and Mel are all experts in the various aspects of Oracle Talent Aquisition Cloud – Taleo Recruit, Sourcing and Onboarding – and Cedar has multiple implementations under our belt covering all of the above products, so we were able to put on a seminar with strong content.
I’ve put a post on the Cedar blog with lots of photos from the day here.
Last night we held Cedar’s annual HCM Cloud Executive Dinner in a lovely restaurant atop the Gherkin, London.
It’s a fantastic setting for an event such as this, and with the late sunset we were able to walk around the top of the building and look out across our wonderful city from all directions – both in daylight and then again once the city’s lights came on.
There were – of course – customers to talk to, but the headliners were quite a coup, an Oracle double-act of David Bowin (Senior Director, Product Strategy) and Tracy Martin (Sr. Director, HCM Cloud Strategy).
David and Tracy were able to share the ‘inside line’ on the history and future direction of the HCM Cloud and some stories for smoother implementations.
Cedar held its annual Oracle Day in Oracle’s City office last Thursday – it was actually our 6th year of running the event. The attendance was great – just short of 100 – and with 3 streams of content there was plenty to choose from. If you weren’t there, here’s the highlights of the sessions that I attended:
After the opening keynote from Dan Woolstone, Oracle’s James King and myself spoke to a full room on Top 10 Tips for a Successful HCM Cloud Implementation. There was a good mixture in the audience of clients already running in the Cloud and those at some stage of their journey, and we received some great questions.
Swiftly following on was Mike Everitt peeling back the curtains on HCM Cloud R11 and revealing some of the new functionality we can look forward to.
Next up was a customer success story from one of Cedar’s recent go-lives – Chubb Insurance. The team spoke about real business benefits from implementing Oracle HCM Recruit (formerly Taleo) and how Cedar and the in-house team worked together to deliver the project within the time-frame. We’re now working with them on a phase 2.
After networking lunch I went to the payroll stream to listen to Oracle’s Andy Spencer introduce the Oracle Payroll Cloud.
The final session I attended was Merrick Hartslief and the benefits of Oracle Social Sourcing (extending Taleo Recruiting functionality).
Before we all headed off to the pub for some well-earned refreshments and sharing of learnings we all got together for a prize-giving, including an iPad, some champagne, etc:
If you missed out and would like to attend next time, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Other highlights included customer sessions from Elizabeth Arden and Macmillan, plus a panel with JT Group, Endeva, Cheshire Council and others.