In HR space now ruled by cloud, mobile-first strategy is taking root

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Like most areas in the business world, the human resources (HR) industry is now being buffeted by two technological forces ? cloud computing and mobile ? whose transformational effect is completely redrawing the HR landscape.

Oracle's executive vice president for applications product development Steve Miranda said during an event in Singapore that the software giant  ?has gone from a product company to a services company.?
Oracle’s executive vice president for applications product development Steve Miranda said during an event in Singapore that the software giant ?has gone from a product company to a services company.?

This has not escaped the attention of US-based software giant Oracle, which has in fact underscored this radical evolution for the industry, also known by its more fancy name human capital management (HCM), during a recent conference it organized at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

For the tech titan, there is no better route for the HCM industry than to completely latch itself to the cloud model ? with a mobile tack — that is being embraced by enterprises nowadays.

Yazad Dalal, senior director for HCM Transformation at Oracle Asean, said in an interview that cloud computing has been successful because it allows everything around it to become easy ? from the acquisition, operation, management, and other things associated in maintaining an IT system.

?Every process is easy with the cloud,? said Dalal, a New Yorker recently transplanted to Singapore. ?Why would a textile maker in Bangladesh worry about a server farm? That should not be the case.?

The executive pointed out that while the cloud is a revolutionary model in general, Oracle sees it more than that. ?We treat cloud as a concept where we don?t just provide software on the Web but deliver it in a new way.?

For instance, Dalal explained that Oracle designs its cloud offerings with a mobile-first strategy. ?We make sure that it works well with smartphones and tablets before modifying it for desktops.?

Why mobile first? Dalal said it?s because mobile devices are the only things that people carry everywhere and all the time. ?Moreover, mobile is heuristic in nature ? people learn to use these devices by themselves without anyone teaching them,? he stressed.

?If you go to a website that is not mobile-optimized, there?s a big chance that your experience will not be good,? he said, even noting that in the Philippines, mobile devices exceed the number of actual subscribers.

Statistics support Oracle?s mobile-first strategy. In a report it presented at the event, the company said mobile-enhanced processes in the HCM space will almost double by 2014. In making their reports, the study said 61% of employees will use mobile devices at work.

For job seekers, the research report said 86% of them said they would use their smartphone to search for a job. Right now, 1 in 5 job searches starts on a mobile device, according to the report.

Oracle?s mobile mind-set extends to its cloud offerings. ?That?s also our model for the cloud. It should be easy to learn and provides an engaging experience to the user,? Dalal said.

He said: ?We give the user with a completely different experience from what they?re used to. In software upgrades for instance, you hit upgrade when you?re ready. We don?t force it on you.”

Dalal said the cloud, when used on a mobile device, should also be responsive and intuitive. ?A software might be housed in a remote data center, but that doesn?t make it a cloud. For us, it should be in-line with the experience that users expect from today?s usage model,? he said.

To prove that Oracle is serious in its cloud initiative, Dalal said the company is making a $5-billion investment this year to make its product portfolio clearly attuned to its cloud and mobile-first strategy.

Oracle?s cloud products contributed only $1 billion out of the total $38 billion in company revenues last year, according to Adrian Johnston, vice president of applications at Oracle.

But the company is more bullish this year, especially for the Asia Pacific region.

?This region is a sweet spot for Oracle,? said Neeraj Shaabi, regional managing director at Oracle ASEAN. ?It?s easier to leap forward to the cloud for developing markets because there?s no legacy investment.?

But, Oracle?s single-minded focus on the cloud was best summed up by Steve Miranda, the company?s executive vice president of applications product development, who said during the Singapore event that Oracle has ?gone from a product company to a services company.?

Miranda, who is based in the company?s California headquarters, said that Oracle has accelerated its cloud technology so much so that it now releases upgrades every six months from three years in the old days.

?We have a pretty track record base on our Fusion middleware upgrades. Our customers could expect that from us,? he said.

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