Oracle Steps Up Its Low-Code Development Approach
Oracle Cloud HCM extended its approach to guided employee actions with the launch of Journeys, a platform HR can use to create and deliver customized workflows to address personal and workplace tasks.
The platform represents a step along the path toward adoption of low-code development tools, and puts Oracle in the company of other HR technology vendors, including ADP and PeopleGoal, in leveraging an approach that’s heading rapidly toward the mainstream of business computing.
Low-code platforms allow professionals outside of IT to design and develop solutions specific to their work. According to Gartner, the global market for low-code development technologies will rise to $13.8 billion in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 22.6%. Gartner expects that growth to continue, empowered in large part by a surge in remote development that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses are attracted to low code because of its advantages in terms of money and time. For example, according to consulting firm 451 Research, low-code systems can save 50% to 90% of the time needed to develop a software solution compared to good old-fashioned coding. Among the reasons: Applications using them take less time to prototype, test and deploy.
Besides that, advocates say low-code tools allow subject matter experts to take the reins of development, leveraging their understanding of the issues they are trying to solve and the processes they intend to adapt. Given the intricacies that go along with many of HR’s responsibilities — areas like compliance, enrollment and onboarding — this can be particularly advantageous, they believe.
Related Article: Low Code Finds Its Place in the Digital Workplace
What's In Oracle's Journeys Solution
By using Oracle Journeys, HR can help employees access resources and complete tasks across the organization. Users can access Journeys, customized pathways to navigate work-related tasks that are tailored to their needs, on any device including desktop, mobile, chat or Oracle Digital Assistant. The platform’s main components include:
- LaunchPad: a single destination for employees to examine, launch and share Journeys based on their needs. It can host any Journey applicable to an employee, assigned by their manager or recommended by artificial intelligence based on previous actions, events or career progression. For example, newly promoted employees may see a New Manager Journey, while those planning to return to the office may be prompted to navigate a Journey on coming back to work safely, or those assigned to a new facility will be guided through next steps as part of a Relocation Journey.
- Creator: a tool that allows managers and HR teams to build and assign Journeys across the enterprise. A library of templates, which can be tailored to the organization’s needs, aims to allow Journeys to meet specific company requirements, policies and brand guidelines without the need for IT help. Companies can also include cross-enterprise tasks such as managing expenses or launching a new product. Among the available templates are onboarding, parental leave, illness or injury and return from leave.
- Booster: helps integrate HR processes and other business functions such as finance, operations and facilities management with third-party systems and applications. The module also automates requests and services across HR, IT and other systems, and can be expanded when additional support is needed within workflows.
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Amping Up Employee Experience
Oracle introduced the Journeys concept in September 2020, but “what’s different about this announcement is we’re turning Oracle Journeys into an employee experience platform,” said Emily He, senior vice president of Oracle’s HCM Cloud Business Group. Since the initial launch, she said, “what we learned is there are a lot of changes in the marketplace that HR needs to respond to, and they need to launch new experiences to employees all the time to guide them through all the changes.”
Creator is a low-code way for HR teams to create experiences and deploy them to the workforce, He said. Managers can use it to tailor experiences that HR has created so they’re more customized for their team members, down to the individual level.
So, for example, a manager may be onboarding two employees, one who’ll work in an office and the other who’ll work from home. Using Creator, the manager can access the onboarding Journey, delete tasks in one case, add tasks to the other, then launch a separate Journey for each of the new workers. Using Booster, the manager could bring third-party applications into the experience, as well.
The platform is less about new technology and more about new capabilities, He said. In addition to offering new product features, Oracle is responding to a general evolution as HR technology moves from systems of record to systems of engagement to, now, systems of design. “What our customers are telling us is they want the ability to curate an experience quickly, without having to rely on IT,” she said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to introduce new things.”
Just as YouTube channel managers can launch videos without coding behind-the-scenes, she said, Oracle’s customers want more control and flexibility in providing HR solutions to their employees.
“We for years have been talking about consumerizing the employee experience, but now we’re consumerizing the HR experience,” He said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to introduce new things, new processes, new experiences to the employees.”