Oracle recognizes Cedar Consulting for Expertise in Oracle HCM Cloud

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Oracle HCM Cloud Specialisation (white bkgnd - small)We are delighted to announce that Cedar Consulting has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle HCM Cloud.

To achieve this a number of our consultants had to pass a set of exams on Oracle HCM Cloud and as a business we had to have a certain amount of clients. This means that we can proudly display this logo on relevant collateral.

Graham, one of Cedar’s Directors, said:Graham (normal)

“This Specialized status, which follows extensive investment in our Oracle Cloud practice, further demonstrates Cedar Consulting’s commitment to Oracle HCM Cloud.  Having been implementing Oracle HR applications for 20 years we are very excited about the opportunities Oracle Cloud brings for ourselves and our clients”.

Will O’Brien, VP Alliances & Channels, Oracle UK & Ireland said:

“We are delighted at the effort and resources that Cedar Consulting are committing to the Oracle HCM Cloud. Having been the implementation partner for one of the earliest UK customer implementations Cedar are one of the foremost Oracle HCM Cloud consultancies and we look forward to working alongside them to make future client implementations a success.“

You can view the full press release here:

Oracle HCM Cloud Specialisation Press Release


What’s coming in Taleo 14B

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The release notes are out, and the other night I attended a webinar showing the highlights of the Taleo Enterprise Edition 14B release (provisionally due on November 24th). It was a really worthwhile hour and the presenter – who I believe was Fabrice De Carne – was very engaging. Here’s what caught my eye:

Talent Acquisition:

Evaluation Management

  • The ability to mark some questions as requiring responses (shown with a star) to ensure that you don’t receive empty questionnaires

uploadA star signifying a question that requires a response.

  • Reviewer recommendation configurability (instead of “recommend” or “do not recommend” you can add a comment field for reviewers to explain their decisions with fuller answers, or just have the comment field)
  • Expired request management (if the hiring manager misses the deadline to review the applicants the requests can be resent to ensure that their feedback is gathered)

Mobile Experience

  • New User Experience in the TAP Mobile App

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  • TAP Composer (allowing you to create tailored content within TAP, displaying UDFs within TAP, customise strings and labels etc)
  • Enhanced Candidate Compare (side-by-side comparison of candidates on pre-screening questions or competencies)

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  • Worklist parity for Android & iPhone


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Candidate Experience

  • Submission medium enhancements means that the system tracks which medium was used to apply for the role. This gives a better understanding of where the best candidates are coming from and also allows auto-progression rules for some candidates (i.e. internal candidates may not need to traverse as many stages in the application process)
  • Import file from Indeed (Indeed has been added to the CV upload page – LinkedIn already exists). This should lead to faster applications and fewer drop-outs where candidates have an Indeed profile.
  • Branding File Extension (The branding files have been split into separate pieces – one for html and one for javascript. This means that if it’s only the html that has been updated it doesn’t need to go through Oracle validation – saving both time and money.)
  • Cross-language Profile pre-population (previous applications in other languages can be used, before 14B the new application would need to be recreated from scratch)

Taleo Social Sourcing

  • TEE Integration (job feed, rerouting apply flow, runs using APIs now rather than scraping the screens)
  • Language improvements (allows you to post requisitions in multiple languages)
  • Internal Mobility (gives control over which requisitions are visible to certain populations, eg. some jobs may be external only. It also enables some details (eg. the name or contact details of the hiring manager name) to be hidden for some populations)


Showing/hiding selective information

  • Multi-brand site and email customisations (manage multiple TSS sites from within one instance)
  • Custom landing pages (create landing pages for certain locations or custom audiences)
  • Widgetization (add small parts of TSS to corporate site, intranet etc allowing you to recruit from multiple places and drive traffic back to TSS)

Performance Management:

  • Support for mid-year reviews
  • Talent Profile multi-language support (requested most often by EMEA customers)
  • Ditto for reporting as BI Publisher brings multi-language support
  • Outbound emails have a setting for email privacy/sensitivity at the notification level

Business Intelligence

  • Taleo is moving away from Business Objects and it’s time to embrace OBI EE and BI Publisher (the end of 2015 is end of mainstream support for Business Objects, so there’ll be no more updates or patches)
  • BI Publisher is now integrated with Recruiting (it has only been in Performance Management previously)
  • Administrative reporting (on foundational data like Smart Org)


  • Export job submission statuses
  • Export candidate search logs

The final note is that Oracle are properly moving the releases to a bi-annual update cycle next year (this year has 3 releases, 13C, 14A and 14B). 15A is expected to be due on 27th April 2015 and 15B on 19th October 2015.

The Billionaire and the Mechanic

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bookOne of the books I took for pool-side holiday reading this year was The Billionaire and the Mechanic – a book recounting the Americas Cup, Larry Ellison’s attempts to win it, and the car radiator mechanic that he teamed up with to ultimately succeed in his quest.

The book appealed to me in part because of my profession – Oracle Applications software – but also because I used to sail when I was younger; an interest that was recently re-energised by the 2013 Americas Cup – remarkable because of the dramatic manner in which it was won, but also because the vastly improved TV coverage and graphical overlays which made it a much more engaging sport for those watching at home.

(Personal note: When I was young I used to sail against Sir Ben Ainslie, the British Olympic yachtsman whose switch onto the Oracle boat when they were 7 points behind was at least part catalyst for the comeback to eventually winning 9-8.)

On to the book … Read the rest of this entry »

Arguments over the Semantics of the Cloud

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I read an interesting blog post by Tim Warner earlier this evening, and then watched as a strong debate over the post waged on Twitter.

Tim’s article actually has two points. The second half – the benefits of SaaS/cloud software – are pretty evident to most people now. The first two paragraphs were the ones that drew the Twitter comments.

To summarise Tim’s point, he was saying:

“Some of the more technical questions like “is it true SaaS?” often don’t really mean much to a customer.”

The counter-argument from the eminently respected Naomi Bloom was that these definitions are important, and that people shouldn’t use words like SaaS when selling software if it doesn’t meet the strict definitions of those terms. Naomi has her own definition of SaaS InFullBloom in which she spells out the criteria even more precisely.

My own opinion – not that it was requested by anyone – is that the reality is somewhere in between.

I also roll my eyes when someone obsesses over the exact meanings of cloud/SaaS/’true SaaS’ etc as I really don’t believe that customers care. They care that the price and the functionality is good, and that the systems are managed in the cloud by the vendor who also delivers regular updates rich with new functionality. Do customers worry if the database is multi-tenant or not? In the main, no, they do not.

I do differ from Tim’s opinion slightly with one of his sentences however. He says “If it’s not on-premises it’s SaaS”. I know this is me now focussing on exact meanings of definitions, but I think this one is important to the customer. There is an important distinction between the triumvirate of cloud/SaaS/’true SaaS’ and plain hosting. I could take an on-premises system and move it to some rented physical servers from Rackspace. This is plain hosting and offers few of the benefits of the other three options (eg. elasticity of resources, economies of scale cost reductions, subscription pricing etc). 

So in summary, I think there are important differences for customers between on-premises deployments, hosted deployments and cloud/SaaS/’true SaaS’ systems. However the differences in semantics between cloud, SaaS and ‘true SaaS’ are less important to most of the customers that I’ve encountered.


Productivity and Noise

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Everyone likes to be productive, however pretty much everywhere we work there’s something with the ability to disrupt our concentration. Some are necessary – like most meetings – however others break our flow of thought and it takes a while to get ‘in the zone’ again.

I’ve recently changed jobs and the new company’s office is in Kings Cross, London. In many ways this is hugely advantageous, but it can be a bit noisy. I also do quite a bit of working from home now, and that can be noisy too when the kids get in from school.

A great way of eliminating most of the distractions is to use music, however the tracks that you choose can themselves be distracting, especially if they contain lyrics. The solution is to use either noise generators or ‘programming music’.

Noise Generators

I’ve found one solution is to use ‘noise generators’, programs or sites that create an endless stream of background sound. Here’s some of my favourites:

Jazz and Rain
The webapp plays a continuous list of instrumental jazz music alongside a soundtrack of soft rain. You can adjust the volume level of both independently and let them run in the background.

Gives you a selection of noise tracks which you can combine (and adjust the volume of independently). Select from Rain, Fire, Birds, Waves and Coffee Shop. I normally take all but the latter (then tone down the birds a touch!). On the following page they also offer Night, Train, Fountain, White Noise and Playground. Night and Train are good additions also sometimes.

Simply Rain
Just rain, but you can adjust not only the volume, but the intensity of the rain. You can also control the frequency of thunder.

Rainy Mood
Just rain. Sometimes – particularly if your workplace isn’t too noisy this is all you need.

Simply Noise
Just White noise.  Or Pink Noise. Or Brown Noise.

Coding FM
This is just the sound of someone taping away on their keyboard so it’s unlikely to drown out the heavier noises, but you can vary the intensity, from ‘Monday Morning Coding’ to ‘Hackathon Coding’ to ‘Angry Dev Coding’ (which isn’t relaxing in any way!).

Programming Music

Music for Programming
A series of downloadable mp3s designed to allow maximum concentration.

Get Work Done Music
If you’re after something a little more up-tempo, this is a good choice. It contains a selection of ambient/trance music.

Natural Alternatives

Nature Sounds for Me
If you’re after something a little more natural, then this is a good site. You can select from a wide variety of sounds, combine a few others in, and then save it as a link (allowing you to easily access the combination again in the future). If you like the ambient sound of the forest, mixed with some bird tweets, a gentle waterfall and some whale song(!) then this is ideal.
Ideal if you like your atmospheric music a little more meditative.


Becoming a Fusion UX Specialist

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Following the previous post discussing the changes in the requirements for the Fusion specialisation program, I thought I’d start attacking the list of exams required.

The one that looked the most interesting – to me – was the new UX (User Experience) exam. I’ve always had a soft spot for good design and I’d loved the revamped look and feel in Fusion release 8. I also liked the fact that the Oracle UX team had released their Design Patterns to the general public. I’ve worked at a couple of clients which had internal ‘best practice’ guides and I’d often talked with colleagues about creating a community ‘development standards’ wiki for PeopleSoft, but this was the first time that I’d seen one from a vendor. It’s refreshing that Oracle is being open and contributing to the community.

The course contains online learning materials from Oracle’s UX luminaries like Mischa Vaughan, Ultan O Broin and Tim Dubois. Some of the content is still specific to R7 but even this functionality is surprisingly good. Oracle have a separate division of UX experts and the material shows that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the UX of Fusion.

Much emphasis is placed on key UX principals such as: Read the rest of this entry »