We had the opportunity to attend Oracle Modern Business Experience (MBX) event, held in Las Vegas from March 18th till 21st at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. A new event for Oracle, that is combining a number of separate events (e.g. HCM World) into a single event and focusses on ERP, HCM and SCM applications. Accompanied by Oracle Modern Customer Experience (MCX), the event almost felt like an AppsWorld (the event that Oracle rolled into its mega event, Oracle Open World about 10 years ago). For a first event it was well organized and attended, also showing some novel ideas, like a CEO keynote in the afternoon / early evening. But enough about the event, let's look at the HCM / Future of Work key takeaways. 





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UX push in a mobile finale – Oracle has been criticized for a long time for a laggard user experience, but the vendor has addressed this well in the last 1.5 years. What remained was a disjointed mobile experience and Oracle tackled it this MBX. Interestingly for the technologists, not with native apps, but a responsive app, that has the same look and feel across the popular Android and iOS platforms. Oracle chose an innovative and confident stance with the new mobile app, creating a mobile challenge for conference attendees as well as analysts. There is an implicit wow effect in being able to launch an application with pointing your phone to a QR code – almost instantly, that still has the rich user experience of a proprietary mobile app. Giving the analysts the app to play with is a sign of confidence by Oracle and maturity in the app. It works well, is responsive even with spotty conference Wifi and provides all key capabilities of the ESS / MSS functional realm as well as the employee and manager exposed part of Talent Management. 





Oracle HCM UX






HCM Experience Studio empowers HR – Rollout times are always a concern for software vendors, and configuration required while an enterprise system is live is often overseen. Functional departments, here HR departments, often struggle with getting systems setup and (re-) configured as needed (and possible). Often key business information gets lost in the process of bringing the technical resources up to speed (or whoever does the configuration work. Oracle attempts to stop that with the HCM Experience Studio – enabling HR professionals to configure and extend their Oracle HCM system. If the product proves itself at scale in practice, it can have a material benefit of going live with Oracle HCM as well as enabling a fast, efficient and low-cost way to keep an Oracle HCM system configured and setup as required and desired by the HR and the business. That will be a substantial contribution to enterprise acceleration, something all CxOs clamor for. 





Oracle's Top 10 investment areas in HCM






Oracle works to become more human – We have said and written before that the biggest detriment for Oracle HCM success is not its product maturity, functionality and usability anymore – but the way how Oracle has reacted in the market with customers and prospects, and the related image of that behavior. In many cases CxOs just don't 'want' to do business with Oracle. It's good to see Oracle has realized and acknowledged that (to some point even publicly) and is now trying to address this with a new, more human centric marketing campaign. The campaign and messaging are well done, but it needs to overcome years of less human and customer centric behavior by Oracle in the market. Not easy, but possible and likely necessary for Oracle to get an adequate or even better than expected return on the massive R&D the vendor has invested into HCM.





Oracle's HCM Experience Design Studio










As always good progress by Oracle, which is adding capabilities en masse to the HCM Cloud, making HCM Cloud one of the most complete and functional rich HCM suites in the market. Having now overcome the usability challenges of the past, Oracle also performs well with vendors. It now has to address 'likeability' a specific wrinkle in the HCM market, where decisions makers value the 'human' side of vendors, their 'people centricity', their Top x of something rank much more than in any enterprise automation area.

The good news is that Oracle is trying to address this, and when Oracle addresses this challenge successfully it will do really, really well in the market. But decades of 'bad buy' image are hard to overcome, but it needs to get started, and Oracle is starting the process. We will be watching.

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