Sunday, September 6, 2015

Project Workacation - Why your next project location has to be a resort town!

Code, Pray, Love - Working away in Bali
Few years ago, I was reading a Quora post which asked whether being homeless is a good idea while bootstrapping to cut costs. I was intrigued by the top voted response (and the question as well) which recommended working in a low cost country, quoting his own example of working in Sa Pa in Vietnam. I thought this would be a fleeting idea, until I came across articles talking Bali becoming a startup hub!

Hubud is one of the first such co-working environments providing state of the art facilities in the beautiful island of Bali. Check out one of their teaser videos below:

This article profiles four other such startup co-working locations in Bali.

While most of these places have targeted startups, it got me thinking why such a work arrangement cannot be provided or explored for traditional corporate employees. Recent advances in telecommuting and collaboration technologies, shift of enterprise systems to cloud computing and an overall shift in work-life policies of organizations (in part driven by the millenial bug that seems to be affecting everything in HR policy these days!) makes this proposition a very attractive and practical one.
ROWE has been one of the most powerful ideas in work-life organization of late and studies have shown that employees are placing a higher premium on work-life balance and meaning. Considering all these factors, I believe that this idea of a workacation can be a strong element of employee engagement and attraction in the future, especially in the professional services industry. My proposition is to allow employees to work specific number of weeks in a year in specific co-working locations in vacation spots. Like Hubud, these co-working locations will be fully equipped for work, including internet connectivity, video conferencing facilities etc.

On the other side of the coin is the business potential to build such workacation locations in low cost countries. Brings to my mind, my own little picturesque town in southern India which is home to the famous backwaters of Kerala. May be some enterprising soul reading this piece will latch on to this idea and build such working pods in affordable vacation spots.

Backwaters of Kumarakom, Kerala, India

Hopefully, sometime in the future I will be blogging from one of these locations!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Adding a Widget into the Classic WYSIWYG Page editor in Taleo Learn

With 15A version of Oracle Learn Cloud (formerly Taleo Learn), Oracle has introduced the first version of widgets. Widgets are an alternative to the existing dynamic objects, presented with responsive page design and a much more slick UI. The first (and only) widget available with 15A/15B is the widget for Learning Plans. A sample is given below.

As documented, the widgets can be embedded only into the new page designer introduced with 15A and cannot be directly embedded into the classic WYSISYG pages. But, there is a workaround for you to achieve this. Follow the below steps:

1. Create the Widget
2. Create a Page and embed the Widget in the page
3. Open up the classic WYSIWYG page, where you want to invoke the widget
4. In the HTML section, add the below code:

For Page Number - give the page number generated in step 2
For PageName - give the page name provided in step 2

A sample is given below:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Assignments vs. Enrollments in Taleo Learn

Found this quick reference table in My Oracle Support, that gives an overview of the main differences between Assignments and Enrollments in Taleo Learn. Hope you find it informative!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Capturing Training Interest in Oracle Learn Cloud

Training Needs Analysis is an integral part of most corporate learning and development strategy. While majority of the training needs are based on the overall organizational strategy and capabilities, it is important to gather individual training needs as well.

In this post we look at utilising the "Training Offerings" feature available in Oracle Learn cloud (formerly Taleo Learn) to enable training departments gauge interest for specific training items. 

Introducing the Training Offerings feature
Let's take the example of a Corporate Information Security compliance training that all employees need to complete within 3 months of joining a company. The company offers an online course as well as class room based training sessions for this. Employees can attend either the classroom training or the online course to complete the Information Security training. This is where Training Offerings come in. Training Offerings allow Learning and Development departments to bundle in multiple training methods into a single collection, giving employees the flexibility to take up the mode of training that suits them best and complete the overall training. 

Utilising Training Offerings to gauge employee training needs analysis
You can create a Training Offering without linking any learning items to it. This empty Training Offering can be opened up to employees to mark their interest in the offering. When a learning item is added to the training offering later on, the employees who showed their interest will be notified of the same. Similarly, the administrator of the Training Offering can view the employees who have shown interest for specific training offerings.

As shown in the image below, employees can indicate their interest for a potential training offering by clicking on the "envelope icon" next to an offering:

The image below shows the Administrator view of Training Offerings, where the administrator can view the employees who have expressed interest for a specific training offering

Post Note:
Driven by technology and workplace organisation changes, corporate learning is undergoing a tectonic transformation. In this new context where employees learn on the go and from sources far beyond the walls of a corporate learning system, where on-demand learning content can be generated - I would question the utility of a traditional training needs analysis itself. 

Oracle Learn Cloud - Adoption of Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle Learn Cloud (formerly Taleo Learn) introduced Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) based reports from release 15A. BI Reports are in a beta release with existing Insight Reports still available for customers till end of 2015. With the upcoming Oracle Learn Cloud 15B release, Oracle also introduces the capability to define custom BI reports. For more information on Oracle Learn Cloud 15B release, follow this link.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Disabling "Apply" functionality in Taleo career sections

Quick tip of the day
A number of customers I've worked with have requested to disable the option to apply for internal jobs in a Taleo career section. Most often these customers have unique internal mobility processes that they prefer to retain in existing systems/processes. Yet, they want to use the internal career section feature of Taleo to post jobs and drive employee referrals. 
Another user case is industries where employees do not readily have access to computers or in certain cases do not even have a company e-mail address. In such scenarios, organisations just want to use the Taleo internal career section as a job board to let employees know of the available opportunities and do not want to drive electronic self-service application by employees.

So, how do we achieve this requirement of being able to refer friends on the internal career site without the capability for employees to apply for jobs?

Do not attach any application flow to the Job specific application flow configuration of a career section. If no job specific application flow is attached to a career section, the "Apply" button will not be displayed.
The below figure illustrates the career section configuration to achieve the above requirement.
Leave Job specific application flow blank to remove the "Apply" capability in a career section

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fusion HCM R10 Release Highlights

Fusion HCM Release 10 documents are available now on the Release Readiness site. Check it out here for a preview of the upcoming features.
And bookmark the Release Readiness site as it's an extremely useful site.

Monday, June 29, 2015

On Oracle Taleo Career Sections

Career Sections is one of the most powerful features of Oracle Talent Acquisition cloud service (formerly known as Taleo). Career Sections are nothing but portals where open jobs are listed, allowing candidates to apply for jobs or refer friends to jobs (similar to the Candidate Gateway concept in PeopleSoft Recruitment module). Career Sections can be designed for internal and external candidates, as well as other participants in the recruitment process like staffing agencies. The flexibility of this feature lies in the fact that customers can design an unlimited number of career sections to cater to specific business scenarios. For eg. customers can have career sections for graduate and professional hires, for career fairs, recruitment events, for internal applications, for different subsidiaries etc.
Career Sections primarily control two aspects of the candidate experience: 

(1) Steps in the application process: This is called as "Application Flow" in Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud terminology. The Application Flow controls the fields that need to be filled by a candidate during the application process. Every career site offers the capability to have up to 4 application flows: (a) Flow shown to candidates while applying for a job (b) Flow shown to candidates while referring friends to a job (c) Flow shown to candidates while depositing resume or creating a general profile (d) Flow shown to candidates while referring a friend's general profile
Different steps can be attached in the application flow for each of the above business cases. It is to be noted that the Application Flow is highly configurable and has a huge impact on the overall candidate experience. It is possible for us to design a lengthy application process or keep it simple by collecting critical information that will be helpful for screening candidates. Oracle Talent Acquisition cloud also provides the flexibility to break down the application process, where data from the candidate can be collected at different points in time during the selection process. For eg. it is possible to design an initial application form that collects basic candidate data and a supplementary form that collects additional data, which is sent out only to candidates who have cleared interviews. This level of flexibility provided by the product can be used to carefully tailor the overall candidate experience.
Given below are 2 examples of contrasting application flows that can be designed. The first example shows a short application flow which has only 3 steps, while the second application flow has 10 steps collecting most of the information upfront from candidates. 
While designing your application flow, consider the industry, competitive situation of your organisation and characteristics of your potential candidate pool to come up with the optimum application process. For eg. if you are in the technology space competing for millenial talent, it would be prudent to keep the application process short and collect only the most critical information upfront. On the other hand if you are targeting blue collar workers in a region with limited internet connectivity, collecting most information upfront will be a better strategy.

Example of a short application flow

Example of a long application flow

(2) Corporate branding of the career site: Each career section can have specific corporate branding applied. The branding feature can control the header, footer, background, colour, fonts, styles of different elements on the career section like buttons, hover effects etc. Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud offers the ability for customers to upload branding files with customer specific cascading style sheets (CSS). In a number of implementations, career site branding is an area that is not given the time and importance it should be. The custom branding capabilities offered by the product is immense and can be utilised to provide a superior candidate experience. Given below are some selected examples of career sites running on Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud, with excellent custom branding:
Additional Points:
  • The standard career section URL will be starting with Oracle offers a service (called Vanity URL service) which can be used to display a customer specific domain name in the career section URL, so as to eliminate reference to
  • Career Sections also offer the capability to generate filtered URLs based on fields within the Oracle Taleo Acquisition suite. This eliminates the need to have multiple career sites for different locations or business units. For eg. let us take a requirement where you need to show jobs specific to a location, business unit or even job family to candidates. Instead of creating separate career sections for each of these categories, Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud has the capability to generate filtered URLs for these parameters from the same career site.

Oracle Taleo Taleo Recruiting

The Unlearning Times and New Beginnings

After a long hiatus I am back to my blogging desk. The last two years has been a time of new learning and more importantly unlearning for me. The Software as a Service (SaaS) movement turned mainstream over the last two years and it's been an exhilarating experience riding the cloud wave. 
It has been a disruptive period for me; moving from a focus on PeopleSoft HCM to Oracle HCM Cloud suite of products, from projects delivered in years to delivery in weeks, from working on one or two projects at a time to handling multiple projects and more importantly adopting a cloud mindset in delivery. This period of unlearning has left me with little time and quality content to share with you all. I've always believed that it's important for me to write posts that matter, posts that give insights deeper than what the user guides provide. That comes only from experience. Two years into the new product suite and after being part of most of the initial Oracle HCM Cloud wins and implementations in the ASEAN region, I feel it's time for me to start sharing my learning and experience on the journey so far. And to all my PeopleSoft HCM friends - it's important to realise that the shift in HR Technology business and more importantly, the shift in customer preference for HR technology is REAL. Have an open mind and embrace the change!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On Oracle delivered PeopleSoft HCM - Taleo Recruitment Integration

[Update July 2015] The delivered integration between PeopleSoft and Taleo Enterprise Edition is being deprecated and will not be supported by Oracle going forward. For customers who are currently implementing this solution, you will still be able to utilise the PeopleSoft objects related to this integration, but Oracle will not be providing product support for the same. Alternatively, you can utilise Taleo Bulk APIs or Taleo Connect Client to build out this integration.

Oracle has recently released pre-built integrations between PeopleSoft HCM and Taleo Enterprise Edition (TEE). These integrations will be available for new Taleo Recruitment customers who are on PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 and Peopletool 8.53+.
The following integration touchpoints are covered by this new feature:

1. Import of Organsations and Locations into Taleo from PeopleSoft.
2. Import of Requisition Templates into Taleo from PeopleSoft.
3. Import of Employee information into Taleo from PeopleSoft.
4. Export of 'Ready to Hire' candidates from Taleo to PeopleSoft.

Additionally, a new pagelet is also delivered in PeopleSoft, that will display open requisitions and candidate information from Taleo in PeopleSoft Manager Dashboard.

These integrations have been built on Taleo's SOAP based Web Service APIs and PeopleSoft's Integration Broker. Two new services at PeopleSoft, called -  TI_NEWHIR_CAND_DATA and TI_SETUP_EMPLOYEE_OB will handle the above integrations. 

Key Takeaways:
  • This integration is available for new Taleo customers, though Oracle will be considering controlled availability for existing Taleo customers.
  • The organisation and location structures in Taleo need to follow a specific hierarchy for this integration to work. Organisation structure has to be of 3 levels, namely Company, Business Unit and Department. Location structure has to be Country, State, City and Work Location. This rigidity in terms of the OLF structure in Taleo, may not suit a lot of customers and would be a key point in the evaluation of this functionality.
  • Customers can choose to turn on any of the available integrations in PeopleSoft. A new folder for Taleo Integration setup will be available under Setup HRMS > Common Definitions in PeopleSoft.
  • Requistion Templates in Taleo will be primarily driven out of Job Codes in PeopleSoft. Every valid combination of Company, BU, Department, Location and Job Code in PeopleSoft, that is included in the Taleo integration, will create a Requisition Template in Taleo.
  • 'Ready to Hire' candidates who are pulled from Taleo, will be populated in the 'Manage Hires' component in PeopleSoft. Creation of Personal/Job Data/Employment Instance can be carried out from the Manage Hires component.
  • PeopleSoft Candidate Gateway has the functionality to create requisitions from open positions in PeopleSoft. I did not see a mention of a corresponding functionality, where an open position in PeopleSoft triggers the creation of a requisition in Taleo. Hopefully, this should be in the roadmap!
  • This feature highlights the rich web service and file based integration capabilities of Taleo. Almost every object is exposed as a service in Taleo using SOAP based or CSV based integrations, thus greatly extending the functional capabilities of the product.
  • Considering that Taleo will be the recruitment module of Fusion Apps, a similar integration of Taleo Recruitment with EBS and Fusion HCM is also in the product roadmap.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Oracle Cloud Marketplace: The App Store for Oracle Cloud and On Premise Applications

I have toyed around with the idea of an enterprise app store for PeopleSoft in the past. Succeed Consultancy in the UK has even built out a dedicated PeopleSoft app store.
Now, Oracle has come out with a dedicated App Store for Oracle applications, specifically targeted towards Oracle cloud applications.

In my opinion, an app eco-system is critical for cloud software vendors and it is heartening to see Oracle take an early plunge in this direction. As we stand at the cusp of a transition from traditional on-premise consulting models to rapid SaaS based implementations, the app marketplace provides an avenue for consulting SIs to tap into an alternate revenue stream.
All in all, the customer will come out as the clear winner, with an elaborate menu of features to choose from.
Let the appification of Oracle cloud begin!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

SAP does a major leadership rejig - Lars Dalgaard leaves SAP

SAP announced significant changes to its organisation and leadership structure as reported here. In a move touted to simplify it's organisational structure, SAP has consolidated all technology division leaders to report to it's CTO, Vishal Sikka. The press release also announced the departure of Lars Dalgaard from SAP. Lars Dalgaard is the head of cloud applications at SAP and founder of Successfactors, which was acquired by SAP in December 2011. Bob Calderoni, CEO of Ariba (acquired by SAP in May 2012) will take over from Lars as the head of cloud applications at SAP.