We had the opportunity to attend the 2nd edition of Oracle’s HCMWorld conference in Washington last week. The event was well attended, the audience had more senior HR leaders than the audience we say last year in Las Vegas. Customers were generally curious and excited of things to come and using the whole spectrum of Oracle HCM products. My First Take impression of the Day #1 keynote is here.


So here are my top three takeaways:

New Learning Module - Oracle Learning Cloud  – Oracle has been sharing its roadmaps actively at HCM World and OpenWorld, but those did not contain the creation and shipping of a brand new Learning product in spring of 2015. That Oracle could keep the delivery of a new major Talent Management module under the wraps is both an indication of professionalism and the vast resources Oracle has working on its HCM products. 



New Learning - Notice - not 'What to learn' - but 'What to watch'
The new Learning product has been built from scratch, uses the Oracle HCM data and object model (formerly known as Fusion HCM) and leverages Oracle Cloud foundation functions like Oracle Social Network (OSN) to make the product more powerful from the get go. The Learning module is a good proof point of the platform capabilities, as it heavily leverages OSN to provide in context learning suggestions and access to learning content. It is unlikely Oracle would have been able to ship as quickly and as powerful a business users without that, the module is tagging to specific content and creating learning scenarios. It also supports streaming of the content to various devices even considering bandwidth optimization. So a working first version of Learning, with all the new, 21st century requirements of self-created content, cross platform delivery and in context access. The roadmap will provide necessary compliance training in fall, with SCORM capabilities, class room training and external training capabilities coming in the next releases.

Leone talks Digital Disruption
Digital Disruption meets HCM – Next to Globalization and the Workforce Retirement situation, we see Digital Disruption as a key trend enterprises need to account for. But so far even the term Digital Disruption has not been mentioned in HCM (vendor) keynotes. So kudos to HCM product leader Chris Leone to combine this megatrend in its keynote. We are still at the early stages of realizing what Digital Disruption means for the HR departments but it is clear it is a key trend to reckon with. Leone presented well on disrupters, tied in the generations of users in the workforce (something frankly we are getting tired of) and then structuring the keynote along the acquisition, the engagement, training (sic – see above) and retention of talent. Good to see a keynote not following the well-worn down paths of too many HCM vendor keynotes.
A screenshot of Career Planning
Oracle Momentum – Oracle has found momentum in cloud sales, as shared already in its Q3 earnings call. And Oracle would not be Oracle setting its sights on cloud leaders like Salesforce.com (goal is to surpass that vendor in revenue) and Workday (goal is to surpass that vendor in customer count). It is clear that Oracle has work long and hard, invested billions to get to that stage – so it’s clear that executives are proud to be there. Unheard sales incentives with significant accelerators certainly help to keep the sales force motivated, and if continued in Oracle’s traditionally strong Q4, may accelerate the path to cloud for many enterprises, as the competition cannot and does not stand still. What is remarkable and CEO Mark Hurd made very clear that his proud of this fact is – that the on premise revenue was almost completely stable. So all eyes on Q4, earnings call likely toward the end of July.


A good event for Oracle customers and the vendor, who keeps showing traction in HCM. Oracle believes, as Hurd shared that when you have the ‘foot in the door’ with HCM in the cloud – the rest of the enterprises will follow. As much as we agree that the ‘golden rule’ of enterprise software that ‘suites always win’ should remain true for the cloud era, we also know that the PeopleSoft history (on premise of course) has shown us differently. But PeopleSoft lost a fair number of HCM installs in our view because the approach how the PeopleSoft suite was different than Oracle’s and SAP’s – something that does not apply to Oracle Cloud offerings these days.

All vendors with on premise business are working hard to ramp up their cloud revenues, it is good to see that Oracle has made progress on the sales side. When I asked about the implementation phase following the sales contracts, Hurd jumped right away in the provisioning of customers in the Oracle cloud – which seems to be going well. And anything else would be a surprise if Oracle cloud not handle the scale out of these customers. What remains my area of concern is in regards of skilled ‘hands’ to implement these customers – both internally and with partners. As we all know people don’t grow on trees and getting them qualified and trained quickly will become the critical path for Oracle soon. But as Hurd pointed out – partners are ultimately only really ready to invest when sales success is there – so it is solving one problem after each other, one at a time. We will be watching.

No time to read - here is my video takeaway - Meerkat quality - skip first 2-3 minutes:

And a Meerkat quality replay of the keynote:
Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:
  • First Take - Oracle HCM World Day #1 Keynote - off to a good start - read here
  • Progress Report - Oracle HCM gathers momentum - now it needs to build on that - read here
  • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).
  • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.
Also worth a look for the full picture
  • News Analysis - Oracle discovers the power of the two socket server - or: A pivot that wasn't one - TCO still rules - read here
  • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves more into DaaS - read here
  • Event Report - Oracle Openworld - Oracle's vision and remaining work become clear - they are both big - read here
  • Constellation Research Video Takeaways of Oracle Openworld 2014 - watch here
  • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here
  • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)
  • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)
And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:
  • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
  • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
  • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
  • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
  • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
  • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
  • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
  • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
  • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here.