Oracle CloudWorld 2023: Continued Innovation, Momentum and Leadership

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

Oracle CloudWorld 2023: Continued Innovation, Momentum and Leadership

Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish Steed

Guest: Yvette Cameron, Senior Vice President, Global Product Strategy, Oracle Cloud HCM

Today, we spoke with Yvette Cameron, live from Oracle CloudWorld 2023 about their current HCM product strategy and what exciting innovations are on the horizon.

– The latest product innovations and customer adoption rates

– Adopting a skills-based approach to talent management

– Generative AI and the potential impact on HR

– How AI and HR technology support the employee experience


Learn more about Oracle HCM here

Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:28
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Show, recording live from Oracle CloudWorld. I’m with Trish Steed. Trish, how are you?

Trish 0:34
I’m good. It’s great to be here and with you in person.

Steve 0:37
It is fantastic. We are having a wonderful event, CloudWorld is like must attend event for me and has been for years. And they’re killing it this year.

Trish 0:46
They really are. I was thinking this is it’s probably like my ninth or 10th one I think I’ve attended. I never got to attend as a customer. I wish I would have, you know. I was at a small to midsize company though so it wasn’t really like something we were on top of but yeah, it’s great to be here I feel like can I admit even before we bring our guests on like I was in the keynote yesterday and I still look at the product very much like with customer eyes because I know what my looks like I was Oracle EBS just for the record. I loved and adored it right but seeing what progress has been made and what you can do now with the solution literally almost cried. Could also be because I’m over 50 and now I can cry at literally anything, but I did I was like tearing up. So yeah, it’s really good. People should definitely follow the hashtag and look online. You know, check out anything that’s being read about the event.

Steve 1:41
Yeah. And so we’re here to get a little bit of an update from Oracle HCM which is absolutely just crushing things right now. And with us, we’re lucky to have her get her a few minutes out of her busy schedule here. Cloud world we have Yvette Cameron with us. She’s the senior vice president of Oracle Cloud HCM product strategy. Welcome back to the show. Because you’ve been with us before.

Yvette Cameron 1:59
I have it’s so great to see Steve and Trish in person. Loving being here with you.

Trish 2:05
How many times? I think Yvette is coming up on the special five times.

Yvette Cameron 2:10
Is there a jacket?

Trish 2:13
Should we tell her what the gift is? You get a really nice knife set. It’s some steak knives. That truly like there’s just a small group of people that ever that we ever asked to come back and show or prior to the show.

Steve 2:29
We were talking about some of the workplace movie hall of fame shows we’ve done and that is a reference back to a great workplace movie Glengarry Glen Ross.

Trish 2:36
That’s right, right. So you get a surprise!

Yvette Cameron 2:42
In today’s environment, which wasn’t there when Glengarry Glen Ross was there is, I can’t get them to TSA and I can carry on so you can ship them to your house.

Trish 2:51
They will be shipped to you. But yes, I think you’re probably one away. So we’ll check that out, we can get back to you.

Steve 2:55
Yvette, we’ve mentioned it’s a great event. It’s a huge event, by the way, just in terms of how many people are here. And Oracle HCM has just been really innovating winning awards, gaining customers, all the things but let’s talk a little bit just a little, maybe one year kind of overview. Some of that Oracle HCM highlights whether it’s product, whether its customers may a couple of things you love to mention, and we’ll dive into some of the specific innovation.

Yvette Cameron 3:18
Absolutely. So, you know, I think that the number one headline is innovation, for innovate, continue to innovate faster than ever before, faster than others that I’ve seen. And the solutions that we’re delivering, many of them centered around the Oracle mi employee experience platform. So we can directly drill into some of those really bringing AI forward with new generative AI capabilities. We’re seeing phenomenal customer adoption, our win rate in the field is fantastic. And what’s happening is customers are saying, you know, and prospects are saying, like you said Trish at the start, you know, we didn’t realize the the experience of Oracle was where it is, you know, it’s truly a modern cloud HCM solution. So Great products, great customer momentum. Great industry recognition. Thank you for your support there as well. It’s just, it’s been a busy, busier.

Trish 4:13
Yeah. What are the customers saying? Because I mean, obviously, this event is just full of, you know, every possible size customer. And we see more of the analyst, right. So we’re the analyst side of things. And so what are your customers saying, right? They’re seeing all of these announcements in person. For us. It’s very impressive, because we follow you so closely. You’re over here. What kind of things are you hearing?

Yvette Cameron 4:34
Yeah, so a lot of customers are eager to find out how can they stay on top of all of this innovation, right, we’ve got we’ve been showcasing and I sat on a few panels with customers who have really operationalize it take a very deliberate approach to embracing innovation quickly. They’re in our early adopter programs. They’re in their testing as soon as possible. And so customers are looking for how can they take advantage of this the big theme I’m hearing in addition to Gen AI, is how do we really make sense of skills in our organization? Right, Oracle came out with its dynamic skills. years ago, we’ve infused its possibilities and capabilities throughout the majority of our suite and recruiting and talent, career management, learning, etc. And now finally, with I think, the continued turmoil of where we are with work and workforce changes, people are realizing skills really are at the heart of all of it. And so what should our strategy be? Do we, you know, go bit whole hog, we start small. And I’ll just tell you the mantra that we’re bringing forward now around skills, because it does seem very scary and daunting for a lot of people think big, start small, but move fast. And that’s really resonating. And so we’re sitting down now with customers, as they’re saying, Ah, help us help us succeed here, and really starting to take things forward rather rapidly with a lot of them.

Steve 5:53
I’m glad you brought that up, specifically veterans skills. And this makes me think of two things. One is, organizations who are trying to embrace this need a lot of help, right? Because it really means really shifting mindset and getting out of very rigid organizational hierarchy methods of managing talent, right? All certainly almost primarily, all based on job description only. Right and roles. And then it also the other reason why it’s compelling, maybe more compelling for me is it kind of resonates with a lot of what we do here, Patricia and I do, which is talk about expansion of opportunity in the workplace, to folks who maybe have previously been a little bit underserved, or a little bit on the margins. And so if organizations adopt a more skills based approach about what can people do, what have they done, what can they learn, versus what college maybe they went to, or didn’t go to, and those kinds of things that it opens up the doors of opportunity to people like maybe people who are disabled or people who have been formerly incarcerated, or people who have any number of challenges, returning people to the workplace, or maybe taking some time off to be caregivers, you name, the stories are millions. And I think that resonates a lot. And so you think organizations are adopting these approaches and seeing that, like, hey, we can get more opportunity for folks.

Yvette Cameron 7:09
Let me say first, I love that you guys are focused on this, I think these are conversations that every HR leader should be having every individual HR leader or not, should be having. I had an m&a answer that with an example of two conversations I have with customers this week. So one organization was so proud that they had just defined their six or seven core skills and competencies for every single job that they had in their organization. We were going out now to survey all of the employees in those roles, see where those skills existed and track them and report so they can understand their gaps and develop learning plans. And they’re hiring against those skills that they need composite across all of those jobs. And they were so excited to actually have kind of rationalize their skill strategy. When I asked them the question, that’s great for now. But are these jobs and skills that you’re managing the same ones? You’re going to need three, four years from now? How are you capturing the skills that the people who are coming into your organization are bringing with them, you’re bringing kids right out of college or off the streets who have been hacking their way to route really incredible capabilities, they’ve got skills on the resumes, and if you’re not bringing those in and tracking them as what’s now the influx of new skills, because they don’t align to your seven or eight per job? Where are you going to be three years from now when suddenly those skills are needed, and you have zero insight. And his his eyes and my customers eyes? Like went wide and then went sad?

Yvette Cameron 8:40
So but fortunately, we have an answer for him. Another similar story today was talking to an organization who’s very focused on sending their hourly workers, right, we really bringing forward their next level of leadership, from hourly to first line manager to second line manager and capturing the skills and capabilities is really critical, it’s instrumental piece, but also validating that those skills, whether it be collaboration and communication and critical thinking and so forth, when So, again, I think, you know, the technology can help with the tracking and most importantly, to my point of the first example, the inferring of skills and, and expanding beyond those rigid structures, but also the validation, whether it’s from from managers or from peers and understanding the levels of those skills are critical. They go hand in hand technology and people together are going to help address these skills approaches. So I guess to your question, are organized organizations thinking this way about more expansive view of skills? They are but the majority right now we’re still daunted of it seems really big. So honestly, guys, my job for the next year is to focus on redefining what it means to become a skills based organization. Don’t Don’t just say we’ve got to be all or nothing Baby steps, impact areas, show proof, build momentum, that move fast, right? Don’t keep waiting for everything to be perfect before you roll out a plan.

Trish 10:11
I love that advice. And I hope anyone listening like writes those those things down a bit because I think having been in that position, for many years in HR were worked at a large professional services firm, we were talking about skills way back in the day, we were always talking about filling the gaps, right. But that was all done manually. It was all very much on sort of guesstimating what skills we had and what ones were going to be needed. And we never quite figured that out. Exactly. So like the the practitioner me is like loving this because I’m thinking like your first customer example. You think you know what you need? And that’s not necessarily when you actually put some rigor and some technology behind that. It’s, you might surprise yourself as to what skills are actually moving the needle in your organization today, and then predicting right and recommending what what’s coming in the future. So I loved that example. I would also just say, I think that this also to me, captures, again, back to that idea of things that HR leaders have been trying to do for the last three decades, right? We intuitively knew we wanted to capture some of the skills that people have that are not part of their job, right? I’ve used examples many time from my time at St. Louis Children’s Hospital where, you know, we’d have people from marketing helping out and groundskeeping we’d have people who were in housekeeping who were helping out in marketing, right? Because they had skills that they were using outside of the workplace. Maybe it’s helping out in surgery. Right?

Yvette Cameron 11:41
I wish I had one of those at one point.

Trish 11:45
No, but I will tell you, we had a we had a man who had been a floor finisher for 21 years, who loved to write. And he wrote in his church all the time, like all sorts of newsletters. He wanted a board like working in the marketing department just just to help out write and write things. And the President hospital loved it calls me and said, What a great thing you know, that you’ve written? I’m like, No, that’s our floor finish, or that we’ve had for 21 years. Right. So again, I think we didn’t know how to capture that. We were struggling, I was using post it notes on a whiteboard about. And now, I mentioned I get emotional, I see on the big screen, what the tools can do. And it does it in seconds. Indeed.

Yvette Cameron 12:21
And I think part of the part of the opportunity here is that we’re thinking about skills and how we’re growing them and capturing and inferring them. Not just from a top down perspective, HR and managers need to know, but employees want to present a better representation of themselves. They don’t know what opportunities necessarily are there today are coming up. But if I have through a great experience through prompting, that’s presented to me, I don’t have to go somewhere. And remember to update my profile, that’s never gonna work. But if you present opportunities to me, in in very intuitive and engaging ways, if you’re dragging the information out of feedback that I’m getting from others, right, and capturing that skill, recognition from others, and suddenly, the experience for me as an employee is I feel that I’m invested, I’m being invested in that you’re actually listening and watching for opportunities for me, what a great way to motivate people to help retain them and truly, truly to put them back into more productive work. So this is a such an area of opportunity. And, again, there’s a lot of barriers, I think and concerns about how big it is or scary or everything has to be perfect. That we’re that’s our that’s our big focus next to one of our big focuses is just to make sure we break this down into manageable pieces that have impact. Yeah.

Steve 13:46
There are kind of two big things kind of happening in HR tech writ large right now, right in the industry, whether it’s just the hype cycle, or the buzzword skills certainly is one we’ve talked about that for a few minutes. The other AI specifically generative AI, which seemingly came out of nowhere, I pretty sure we were at this conference last year. We did a couple of podcasts. I don’t think we talked about it, right? All of a sudden now it’s like everywhere, right? And I know Oracle, of course has been working with AI technology and has had AI technology in the apps for a long time. It’s not a new thing here. But certainly now everyone in the market is talking about Gen AI and and then many of the providers are talking about how we’re going to implement Gen AI into HCM solutions. I’d love for you to just give us your point of view slash Oracle HCM point of view on Gennai from an HCM perspective, and then maybe some of the highlights of what you’re you’re already doing. Yeah, and the solutions already provided.

Yvette Cameron 14:42
So there is no doubt that the opportunity for AI and generative AI is significant. I was quoting a research I read the other day that you know the incremental value of Gen AI on top of traditional AI is significant for the managers of loan, because a lot of their job is communication and decision support, etc. An additional 17 percentage points of value of efficiency and productivity that Jen AI can bring forward. Our team moved fast for sure. Right, I think it was November of last year when kind of chat GPT. And everything just really caught fire, and everybody’s talking about it. And here we are, you know, just less than a year later, we’ve coated we’ve got applicant capabilities in our platform 18 Plus use cases. And we are our focus here is twofold. One, we want to make sure that our experiences, they as they continue to evolve, each release continued to be as streamlined as possible, as redundant, streamlined and efficient, that they’re adding value. And they’re guiding individuals through in a very personalized and relevant way. We started to focus here at the beginning on three core use cases. So assistive technology or assistive authoring on make suggestions and summarization. And our investments there, as I said, are around efficiency. So when you think about performance review, you can have anywhere from five or 10, to, you know, possibly dozens and dozens of feedback that’s captured throughout the year. And we’re able to bring that into the performance review. As a manager, if you’re doing your annual or semi annual review, going through and trying to summarize all of that, and you get the gist of it can be very challenging me as Gen AI to do that, right. We also use generative AI to address that kind of blank page syndrome. So when the manager sits down to actually now write their own review, enter a few prompts will help, you know, summarize everything that we know, and bring that for you give you a starting point, still human in the process. But that’s one example. And that you’ll see that throughout the application.

Yvette Cameron 16:55
So where can we add value it, whether it’s writing job descriptions, if you’re creating surveys, based on the topic and things will recommend the questions, you’re going to ask all about reducing the administrative effort. And when our customers hear and see this error, they’re immediately saying, Oh, my gosh, it’s gonna save us hundreds of hours. In the job description piece alone, people are just almost weeping over. I know. That true, but that’s our So our initial strategy is to deeply embed generative AI throughout the application. AI is native, it’s part of our DNA. So embedding this new approach to AI is incredibly easy. And that’s how we can come out with you know, 18. Plus, now we’ve got hundreds on the docket. Our second vision for this is to really see how can we provide an elevation of the support that managers and HR departments need? So I think about the case of things like reporting, I truly believe that Gen AI is going to obviate the need for operational reporting. Why should HR some it have to write a report and tell me department demographics and various things? That’s what Gen AI is about, right? AI can serve as and bring this together. But now with Gen AI, through natural language interoperability, you know, tell me my headcount, where are their risks, but I actually want to elevate it even more. So my vision, and as we’re talking about opportunities, is to bring that data analysis, along with the very vast capabilities of Gen AI, to truly serve as a coach a support system. What do I have to be concerned around today? If I’m looking at a data at dashboard, about asking Gen AI? What does this mean to me? What should I do with this data? Where’s the risk, you know, using the AI to explore and understand and look for those patterns, but also using what we know about the manager, the department, they’re in their connections or projects, etc, to to pinpoint what are those those salient areas that need to focus on and that’s vision. But that’s the kind of thinking that we’re taking now I’m seeing a lot of vendors. I’m not seeing as much deeply embedded capabilities as we’re delivering. I’m seeing a lot of focus on this overall coach capability. But I’m seeing it more as a feedback type capability. But unless you have the full suite, a coach and recruiting or a coach and learning or coaching goal management alone, that siloed approach is not going to solve the day to day challenges that holistically managers and employees have across their entire business. So that’s a focus to prod.

Trish 19:34
I love that because again, I’m sort of thinking back to my last job where we, we switched to Oracle for many of those reasons, because when we were pre Oracle, we tend to just find out our headcount took six hours of one person, right so that was the big selling point of like moving to Oracle to begin with, I know if this was what did

Steve 19:54
they do call around? People that are behind?

Trish 19:58
Reports and reports. We had to run all these reports. So I think that, you know, again, I’m an HR person, I’m listening to this episode. And I’m thinking like, I cannot believe this is possible. Like, it’s so futuristic, but it is possible. And I love that you gave the example of how then you’re asking it, where are our risks? Right. So even if I’m an HR, I’m sitting down with my CFO and my CEO, and we’re trying to, maybe we have a reduction of force coming up. And we need to really be looking at the business holistically. That was difficult that took weeks, sometimes to prep for those things. And, and heaven forbid, you’d miss something critical, right? Or make a wrong choice, right. As you’re evaluating things. I mean, everyday things that I’m thinking, you know, you’re talking about job descriptions, I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent with our attorneys going through every single job description and rewrite. So every single example you’re giving can literally equate to that would save a person 610 12 hours a week, right? Then we always talked about back in the day of like, Wouldn’t it be great if HR could be more strategic, but we don’t have time, and we didn’t know how to get the time back. So to me when I wrote down, like, my theme is in my notebook from yesterday, the theme for me that I’m hearing as time you’re saving people time, you’re giving them these tools to help them and support them. And to me, it takes what’s scary about Gen AI, and it sort of reduces that fear for me as a user, because it’s now a partner of mine. And that’s something that’s going to take my job, do you heard this at all? Is that still a fear out there?

Yvette Cameron 21:33
Very much a fear people, of course, are afraid to receive. I think Chris Leon called it hallucinations from the AI, right? Just data results that just don’t line up with, you know, the business or the, the questions being asked. And so we can’t we take a lot of care and how we’re designing these prompts. But that is a key fear is that is what I’m getting back accurate. But also, is it going to, you know, replace me, if I’m a writer, if I’m a coder, right, we have already demonstrated the ability to create what we call our fast formulas, again, automating things for efficiency, and it can be as complex as writing these really complex codes. And so we’ve got that in our labs, we haven’t released it yet. We want to keep refining and getting feedback. The people are afraid. But I think we’re starting small moving fast, right and thinking really big about where we’re going. So our three use cases, assisted authoring summarization, etc, are just the beginning, as we look out into the next year and beyond, of course, data visualizations and insights and analysis, again, create reports on the fly instead of having to run them use your voice to do that. But and this this coaching, right, this kind of just be my support and help me understand and drive value from the insights or additional ones. You know, we’ve there’s, there’s a series of additional use cases that are just coming that are going to blow our minds. And I’m super excited. Don’t wait, really,

Steve 23:05
It was quite impressive yesterday. And I think there’s one more area I want to touch before we let you let go and get back to her like 17 other meetings you probably need tonight. So um, we’ve talked about skills, right? The two big things that are happening in HR tech right now. And in HR really writ large right skills, Gen AI, before skills and Gen AI, though, we spent three years and we’re still talking about employee experience. Like that was the number one thing certainly in the industry for a couple of years, it’s still really important. And I think one of the things that’s really interesting about Oracle HCM and how it’s developed is like their approach to creating great experiences for the people who actually have to use these applications in their workplaces. I read the second minute or two to talk about both the approach here for our employee experience, which is kind of a fuzzy concept, honestly, we sort of productize it and operationalize it. And then some of the newer innovations that have been announced very recently around.

Yvette Cameron 24:07
So we’ve just spent the last 20 minutes talking about employee experience, if we’re capturing skills, and offering you opportunities and communications and connecting with coaches and mentors, because we understand the skills you have or the skills you want to develop that’s that’s part and parcel of the experience of the individual, how they’re interacting with the opportunities and etc in the organization. Gen AI is very much part of that experience. How are you helping me understand and get value and get faster at these processes are guiding me to, you know, various things that I need to do. So for us the employee experience is all the ways individuals interact with the business, and we have productized and operationalized a set of capabilities that are incredibly focused on those those areas. areas that help employees feel heard and seen and understood, and supported, and developed and invested in. So when we introduced Oracle, me, it’s so pervasive about 75% of our customers are using some aspect of Oracle MI, our employee experience platform. So it feels like it’s been out there forever. But when we introduce that, I think that kind of the, the heart of that was journeys, right? How do we take all the information and data attributes that we know about an individual and the processes of the organization, and craft dynamically journeys that will guide you through any process and not just an HR process, although there’s a tremendous amount that’s, that’s part parcel of what we do onboarding, offboarding changes, global transfers, life events, anything, but we’re also able to use that tool to guide individuals through enterprise processes, you’ve got to close the book. So you’ve got a tax audit, a customer yesterday was talking about how they use journeys, not just internally, but to guide their processes with their customers. So through their professional services organization, and the various pieces so So, again, what is the experience of the individual employee at work? Who are they interfacing with? What are the things they need to do? Journeys is one manifestation of that. And in our original delivery, things like communication, the digital assistant, the the natural language, interface, service, helpdesk, right, how can we make that more human, intuitive, etc. So we’ve we’ve been delivering a series of capabilities. As I said, great engagement this year, super excited that we were able to bring two I think, really powerhouse capabilities forward, one was Oracle grow, which was a top earner love that award winning or a call

Steve 26:55
around employee development, sort of helping employees connect with opportunities to hack learning opportunities, career opportunities, athletes,

Yvette Cameron 27:02
mentors, etc, everything they need to do to grow and thrive in the organization. This at this event, we unveiled our new Oracle celebrate a new opportunity within Oracle, me and celebrate is all around building a culture of recognition and appreciation and the organization really cultivating that. So organizations having the ability to set up a recognition program that’s peer to peer that is manager to anyone, etc. That’s in the flow of work at any time, the ability to surface that that feedback, whether it’s a milestone or achievement, or just hey, great collaboration today, great presentation, and also do associate rewards with it. So very common to have a Points Based System, certainly fully the budget of that integrated with our compensation, you can pay it out through payroll, but what I’m really excited about to have the flexibility of this system that’s excited about several things, but one is flexibility, right? So in addition to redeeming rewards through third parties, supporting for example, how our hospitality clients might or you know, in airlines, etc, where they might want to grant those frequent flyer awards loyalty points in lieu of some, you know, some other point thing. So we’re looking at, you know, how can we support the way our customers do business? Now, a couple of people have said, This is great, but aren’t you late to the game, right? reward systems have been out there for 10 years, there’s hundreds of vendors out there who have proliferated. And I think the difference here is that as part of the core unified cloud HCM suite, the data and the interactions with this feed into, you know, the signals that we’re receiving across the suite. So as we’re looking at performance reviews, or as we’re looking at sentiment of the organization, really understanding what’s working and what not what’s not working, the interconnectedness of all of our applications, and all of the data just really elevates the insights and the actions you can take. So this isn’t a standalone. And we’ve also been digitizes, right. So you don’t go to a page and do everything it comes to you in the flow of work. So keeping those nudges front and center to keep the programs alive and active.

Trish 29:17
I loved seeing Celebrate being announced yesterday. And, Steve, I know you’ve said many times that having everything on a unified platform is the perfect, you know, road to take. And I think when you’re in a situation where you have to have many different solutions that are kind of piecemeal together, yes, they can work but it’s it’s not that seamless flow in the flow of work as you’re talking about. And so I, I love that you’re able to address like sort of being late to the game you’re not it’s just, it’s actually being able to have everything in one place the value of that outweighs like any other negative symbols.

Steve 29:54
Then you’re here on when you can go to the purchasing department or the it or if you votes as you know that other contract tear that up, we don’t need that anymore.

Yvette Cameron 30:04
And it reduces, it reduces not just a friction, but data, you know, security and risk to privacy information. There’s just so many compliance reasons underpinning why that unified platform makes a difference.

Trish 30:17
Well, in the look and feel, I think two people use what they feel comfortable with. And so if they’re already comfortable with the other aspects of the platform, then adding in or just toggling on if you will, right, celebrate. It’s very natural. Everyone will intuitively know how to use the platform and how it works.

Steve 30:36
Yvette, this has been great. Thank you for taking a little bit of time out of your busy schedule to help us understand what’s been happening here cloud world is happening Oracle HCM, we’ve scratched the surface only. But thanks for sharing some of the successes, some of the innovation, it’s been a phenomenal event real celebration of all things. HCM for sure.

Yvette Cameron 30:56
Absolutely. You bet. Thanks so much. It’s great to see you. And thanks for having me.

Steve 30:59
We’ll put some links in the show notes so folks can learn more about Oracle Cloud HCM. And what’s going on here CloudWorld as well. So for Yvette Cameron, for Trish Steed, my name is Steve Boese. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next time. And bye for now.

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