Decoding Oracle’s Employee Experience Platform with Deepa Param Singhal, VP of Cloud Applications

Decoding Oracle's Employee Experience Platform with Deepa Param Singhal, VP of Cloud Applications
Decoding Oracle's Employee Experience Platform with Deepa Param Singhal, VP of Cloud Applications

In the post-pandemic world, employees are redefining what success means to them by prioritizing mental well-being and balancing it with their career growth. This has forced organizations to rethink people strategy with an increased focus on employee experience.

To help organizations put their employees at the forefront, Oracle has added employee recognition and rewards capabilities to Oracle ME, the employee experience platform within Oracle Fusion Cloud’s Human Capital Management system (HCM).

The latest updates include Oracle Celebrate, a unique recognition and rewards offering that helps HR teams boost employee performance, engagement, and retention by providing workforce insights and tools to deliver a more personalized and meaningful experience.

In an interview with Deepa Param Singhal, the Vice President of Cloud Applications at Oracle, we get insights into why and how the tech giant developed an employee experience platform.

Changing Workforce Dynamics

As we settle into a conversation, Deepa draws parallels between her current role at Oracle and her previous stint leading LinkedIn in India. Her journey, a fusion of technology and human resource leadership, converges seamlessly with her current responsibilities at Oracle, steering their cloud applications roadmap.

Her experience led to a profound realization – in the modern workplace, the employees of an organization are often its most potent competitive advantage.

"The workplace has shifted completely," Deepa muses. "Employees are now in the driver's seat, redefining what success means to them. They prioritize mental health, well-being, growth, and work-life balance. All of this has transformed the workplace very rapidly."

Changing Workforce Dynamics

This realization was validated by Oracle’s AI at Workplace study. The study highlights three core findings:

  1. 85% of employees want technology to help define their future.
  2. 85% of employees aren’t satisfied with their employer’s support of their careers.
  3. 87% believe their company should do more to listen to their needs.

"From the AI at workplace study, we discovered that employees wanted to be heard more, and how we reward and recognize them needs to change," Deepa surmises.

These crucial insights for organizations and HR leaders were pivotal to the development of Oracle Celebrate, which is a part of the Oracle ME employee experience platform inside the broader Oracle HCM suite.

The Foundation for Oracle Celebrate and Oracle ME

Oracle launched Celebrate as part of Oracle ME at the Oracle CloudWorld 2023. Talking about Oracle ME, Deepa shared that the platform’s roots can be traced back to Oracle’s HCM’s foundational work in addressing data-related challenges for HR teams.

She said, "The Fusion Cloud HCM suite laid the groundwork. Organizations trust us when they are thinking about people strategy. They want a platform to link all employee data on a single platform. The Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM Suite has comprehensive capabilities, connecting every employee and every process in the organization from hire to retire."

Once Oracle had the foundation, they wanted to go one level up – focusing on productivity and understanding every individual’s aspirations, needs, and motivations. That’s why they invested in building Oracle ME, a comprehensive employee experience platform.

The Foundation for Oracle Celebrate and Oracle ME

Deepa added that the Oracle ME platform’s narrative was shaped by years of engagement with the market through the Oracle HCM suite, solving a perennial problem for organizations struggling to have a “single source of truth for HR data.”

Deepa said, "In any organization, the sales, service, marketing, and supply chain processes, with the HR at the core supporting the employees, are interconnected and have interdependencies. The Oracle Fusion Cloud has around 37 interplays that can enhance employee experience and productivity. For example, when an employee comes to your organization and gets a laptop, the system has the features to facilitate all the processes from finance to supply chain to HR."

The Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM, which encompasses the Oracle ME platform and Celebrate, gives a unique advantage to organizations because it is innately interconnected to other application suites within Oracle – from finance to marketing. Deepa says it’s also one of their key differentiating factors, making them a 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant leader.

Personalizing Employee Experience with Rewards and Recognition

Delving into Oracle Celebrate, Deepa emphasized that it is an interesting product offering because it’s very personalized. It focuses on delivering a meaningful experience for employees and, at the same time, helping organizations demand more engagement and performance.

Personalizing Employee Experience with Rewards and Recognition

"We have been empowering employers, HR leaders, and employees by giving them very tailored experiences. And it's really a journey of where they are currently and where employees want to be eventually. That's the platform that we have created. We wanted to understand the ME behind every worker."

Oracle Celebrate takes reward and recognition to the next level by tailoring it to individuals. The platform intends to make peer-to-peer recognition more timely and natural.

Deepa says, "One of the things that we realized by talking to people is that the top talent in organizations are often unsung heroes. We built Oracle Celebrate to bring these hidden gems to the forefront. And that we thought will drive a unique cultural value for organizations we're working with."

Success Stories and Industry Recognition

Deepa gives concrete examples of Oracle’s transformative impact on organizations across diverse industries. From healthcare providers like Apollo Hospitals to leading banks such as Kotak and ICICI, Oracle’s solutions have revolutionized HR processes, employee health tracking, and performance management.

She says, "Apollo Hospitals use our SaaS applications for HR and financials. They're one of our first India-localized payroll customers as well. Apollo uses Oracle to introduce several employee-centric initiatives and enhance its goals and performance by keeping employee growth and development in mind. They have leveraged Oracle Learning Cloud to identify the training needs of employees and transformed from classroom teaching to online learning."

Speaking about how banks leverage Oracle, Deepa cited the example of Kotak and how Oracle managed to completely digitize and transform their processes for a huge database of more than 30,000 employees.

She said, "Kotak started their journey by implementing Oracle Taleo with us, our recruitment platform. Banking organizations have a lot of manual processes and paperwork, like setting appointments, transfers, and confirmation. We were able to transform and digitize all their HR systems. It includes change management and transforming processes like their annual performance review process. Also, when the pandemic hit, we immediately deployed the HCM health tool to help them track the health of all their employees."

Deepa affirmed that the HCM business is one of the cornerstones of Oracle’s suite of applications and has grown exponentially.

"If you look at our SaaS portfolio, our HCM is one of the fastest growing businesses with a huge year-on-year growth. The challenges we're solving for our customers today are enhancing the employee experience, automation, scalability, building a culture of innovation, fixing skills gap, managing gig workforce, and other use cases."

Oracle’s customer-centric approach to product development

As our conversation transitioned into Oracle’s customer-centric approach to product development, Deepa expounded on the collaboration with various Global Business Units (GBUs) and Oracle’s golden rule – all innovation must be driven by what customers want.

"We develop and deploy hundreds of new features in our product every 90 days. This innovation is driven by what our customers are asking. We keep our customers at the centre of our innovation and work backwards. The key guides in our product development are our mature industry GBUs. We have established GBUs in hospitality, financial services, and healthcare. So our knowledge of working with these industries, the product and the customer, comes together to influence our product roadmap."

Speaking about the immediate focus in Oracle’s HCM roadmap, Deepa stressed the need to keep pace with technological advancements and address the concerns of CHROs through forums. Since technology is evolving rapidly, Oracle learned from customer forums that a key concern of CHROs is addressing the skills gap.

"That's a key aspect of what we are building into our HR strategy and product development roadmap. We also understand employee sentiment through Oracle ME and offer contextual advice to employees and leaders to help them make decisions. That's where we invest our time and energy in the product development."

Generative AI in Oracle's Fusion Cloud HCM

Our discussion also centred around Oracle HCM and ME’s profound capabilities in generative AI, designed to discern individual employees’ aspirations, needs, and motivations.

Deepa said, "With Generative AI, we're focusing on reducing time to complete tasks, how employees can be more productive, how we can improve employee experience, give enhanced insights to our workforce, and drive business value. We're realizing these possibilities with GenAI and the areas of investments we are doing today as part of our general rollout so that all customers can take advantage of large language models."

She emphasized that GenAI will play an important role in personalized career development by enabling employers to know their employees better.

"There is a lot of potential for generative AI in career development. For example, employers need to understand employees' goals and performance review summaries to connect them to opportunities. Using GenAI, these tasks, such as drafting and writing, become so easy that the usage and adoption increases; therefore, employers can understand their employees and connect."

Deepa adds that this is an area where GenAI is definitely touching upon and transforming employee experience because it includes assisted authoring, suggestions, summarization, etc.

"Everything we're building in GenAI will get richer with data. We already have 60 use cases driven by our customers. After we roll out our solutions, we collect data feedback, and our customer success teams work with organizations post-go-live to figure out what's working and what's not working for them."

In the ever-evolving landscape of HR technology, the Oracle Cloud HCM stands out not just as a platform but as a strategic ally. It’s a beacon of innovation, unlocking the full potential of organizations’ most valuable asset – their people. As the narrative comes full circle, Oracle ME’s odyssey represents more than a technological solution; it symbolizes the fusion of human and technical elements, creating an experience that transcends the conventional boundaries of HR.

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