Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

May 24, 2017

Some Critical Factors for success of HR

 

Human capital has always been the unique competitive advantage for the success of any 0rganization and innovation. It is critical in a competitive world to measure and improve the HR activities to align with the growth strategy of the organization. Companies  rely on the HR department to work on strategies that focus on recruitment, retention, development, productivity evaluation and enhancements, career progressions so that their workforce is aligned with the overall vision that accelerates their growth. A multi-level strategy needs to be developed that helps an HR organization to sell its capabilities internally and that helps to view HR from a cost center unit to a profit generating department. The coordination and synergy with different units is essential to the success of the strategic growth in today's highly competitive digital world.

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May 23, 2017

Brief Facts and Myths of Planning and Budgeting cloud service (PBCS)

Facts

  1. Less expensive
    • Compared to the on premise Hyperion Planning system setup, cloud setup is much cheaper as there are very few costs involved.
    • Some of the costs that are not required for cloud service are as follows:
      • No hardware costs as the cloud system will be maintained by service provider (like servers, switches, DR environment etc.)
      • No software (OS & other tools) costs in order to manage the planning servers as the service provider will take care of the same
      • Obviously no maintenance costs for both hardware and software
      • No costs related to maintenance of any third-party tools for the setup
    • There is no cost involved to maintain personnel (like DBAs, System Admins etc.) to support databases, software etc.
  2. Minimal time to create
    • Comparatively, setting up of an application in PBCS is far less than the on premise setup
    • Once the PBCS is enabled and a blue print is designed, it is ready to be implemented right away and hence time-to-market is very less
    • Packaged functionality available out of the box and hence short time to implement
    • Very few errors as the functionality is mostly tested and packaged thereby reducing implementation timeline
  3. Automatic updates/upgrades
    • No upgrades to the Hyperion tools as the cloud releases take care of upgrades automatically
    • No patches to servers or operating systems as they are managed completely by the cloud service provider
    • All new functionality will be available without additional development efforts which will be an added value
    • A specific schedule for maintenance is followed as per the service provider and no additional down time is needed
  4. Hassle free maintenance
    • No additional maintenance is required as the cloud service provider will take care of all the maintenance work other than application maintenance.
    • No worries about compatibility issues unless the client side changes without proper testing


Myths

  1. Everything can be automated in cloud and hence no support is needed
    • It is popular myth that everything can be automated and therefore no support is required for PBCS. This is not true. First of all, Cloud service provider will not perform any activities related to application as that falls under customer's responsibility. Hence, there is application maintenance that has to be performed even in PBCS world
    • Some of the changes like description changes, member name changes, alternate hierarchy changes etc. which are quite common in business world have to be managed by application team
  2. Data is not secure in Cloud

    • This is also one of popular myth that is lying around. Although there are certain occasions where certain programs caused disruption in data, but in general the communication protocol used i.e., https is very safe and is not easily broken
    • Any sensitive data transfer can be transferred using secure FTP protocol along with SSH
    • A normal FTP can be used where data sensitivity is not critical
  3. It is always cheaper to setup planning application in Cloud
    • This myth is something that most people think but it is not always cheaper with cloud. For example, take a scenario where multiple planning applications are designed one for each department and then all the departmental data rolls up to Corporate Planning and Analysis. In this situation creating multiple applications i.e., more than three will not be a feasible solution using one instance of PBCS. If you use multiple instances then it might mean an expensive option
    • Similarly, in a case where there are certain business processes done outside of Hyperion planning and an interface has to be built between the two which may lead to expensive solution
  4. All functionality is available in Cloud
    • This is a myth where people think everything can be done using cloud version. But not all functionality that is available in on premise system is not available yet on cloud version. This myth may become fact once the cloud service catches up to on premise on the functionality


Continue reading " Brief Facts and Myths of Planning and Budgeting cloud service (PBCS) " »

May 20, 2017

If the Terminator T-800 takes over ERP world

The other day I was watching Sundar Pichai's keynote during the I/O 2017, where he introduced Google Lens, an intelligent image computing product from Google. The first thought that came to my mind was Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator 2- Judgement Day, were the T-800, a cybernetic organism from the future looks at an object and the details of the object pops up in its vision. I imagine a day, when this technology gets more mature and the VR head gears become lighter and cooler perhaps like eye glasses, and we can all be like the T-800, where we look at people and their online profile pops up. Maybe it could tell me that the tall guy in front me in the queue is my 5th grade classmate...

Then I started thinking about what this could mean in the ERP world. We already see benefits of OCR in processing invoices with zero touch, etc. Some image processors are able to automatically process applications and detect photos where the applicant's eyes are closed or identify that the photo is not as per specification. But what Google is talking about is altogether at a different level, with machine learning capabilities. Having used some of the Google API's to generate QR code and to find geocode, I expect relatively easy to learn & use APIs from them, that would abstract the underlying complexities and return the most appropriate result for our request. My thoughts on few of its applications in the near future...

 

·         Inventory Counting - Cameras can be kept along the warehouse so all items are visible. We should be able to count each item and their location in a blink.

·         Login - May be this will give us a robust facial authentication mechanism to login!

·         Attendance - Place cameras at vantage points and the in-time and out-time of employees can automatically be recorded. I don't need to keep wiping my hands because it is wet and the biometric readers think I am an alien!

·         Field Service - Camera could watch the field service technician fixing let us say an electronic equipment and replacing a circuit board. The parts used can be re-ordered and debriefing recorded automatically.

·          Expense - System already has the field service technician's task and schedule. Let us say the technician is on a two-day visit to perform a planned preventive maintenance of a rig. On showing the lunch receipt to the mobile camera, it understands it is a food receipt, it picks the date in the receipt and understands it is within the visit's date range, gets the amount and records the expenses against the task.

·         Inspection - As part of inspection during material receiving, determine if the product meets the color specifications, if there are any scratches, cracks, defects etc. and automatically receive or reject material and record it in the application.

·         Enterprise asset preventive maintenance - Today we have sensors monitoring enterprise assets and raising preventive maintenance service requests. This can become better for e.g we can have photos taken of the asset at intervals and understand changes like color of a tube, bulging of the pump, rusting of the bend and raise preventive maintenance service requests.

 

Being an Ironman fan, I love the image processor part of Jarvis and the glasses Tony Stark wears in Iron Man 3 that does image computing and also projects images. I expect that in the next few years something similar will be so commonplace that not just Mr. Stark but all of us can experience it! 

May 7, 2017

Co- existence - A Step Towards Cloud Adoption

Nowadays, with all the buzz around the word 'CLOUD', enterprises are progressively looking at possibilities of cloud adoption which principally has become an acronym for key trends like - Digitization, Modernization and Automation. While for enterprises, looking for green field implementations, it is easier to look at cloud options, embrace them and bring forth the much needed change, the real challenge is with organizations with large scale investment into existing applications which are STILL working. So, in this blog, will provide some insight into one of the most commonly used 'co- existence' approach of embracing cloud.

Continue reading " Co- existence - A Step Towards Cloud Adoption " »

April 30, 2017

Reverse Logistics For A Forward Thrust To Sustainment Quotient

One of the key technology focus areas in Green Supply Chain Management that enables an organization to transition into a sustainable organization is Supply Chain Network.  Logistics Optimization also goes hand in hand with this. It is true beyond doubt that a responsive supply chain is also a responsible supply chain, it is more environmentally and socially responsible. Not only is it plausible it is also more financially viable resulting in a higher sustainment quotient as well as higher benefit factor. Logistics Optimization and Supply Chain Network can lead to reductions in empty and circuitous miles, and also increased warehouse capacity utilization. Organizations need to look at the process and operational best practices to improve upon their sustainment quotient. The higher the quotient, the greener the supply chain and hence the greener the dividend pastures as mentioned earlier.

Continue reading " Reverse Logistics For A Forward Thrust To Sustainment Quotient " »

April 24, 2017

Oracle Sales Cloud Quoting Solution

 

Common supposition assumed is that once Opportunity is accomplished in Sales Journey - there will be another application which will process details and converted order would be bought back in Oracle Sales Cloud.  Nonetheless there is something between the two which is not provisioned by Out of Box Oracle Sales Cloud platform and it is Quoting process. This article brings forth my take on how Oracle Sales Cloud capabilities can be leveraged in this façade. Impacted Audience includes SMBs to big enterprises, with intent to simplify architecture; where Sales Agents do not want to switch applications to get complete view on the Opportunity and Quote.

 

Solution involves using Oracle Sales Cloud architecture and creating an extensible object for Quote which is well linked with other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Objects. In addition Oracle Sales Cloud provides initial insight in the Sales Journey with support of entities Lead, Deal and Opportunity. In fact one of the leading eCommerce major is evaluating Oracle Sales Cloud to careful capture and plan strategies for effective conversions. There are two scenarios where quoting solution can address business requirements.

 

S.No

Scenarios

Characteristics

1

When Quoting process is simple and straightforward; this is further augmented by integration with some fulfillment system.

Ø Basic configuration with selection of direct product/product groups suffice the purpose

Ø Simple pricing necessities

Ø Simple Proposal document requirements which can be handled through BI

2

Involves complex quote management system already implemented by Business. This can be achieved by creating Quote object in Oracle Sales Cloud with external interface to Quoting tool. Solution has been provided by Infosys for one of its Sales Cloud Customer - a leading global provider of unified communications solutions where Business had complex quoting implemented on Enterprise Configurator tool.

Ø Involves complex/hierarchical product structure

Ø Complex price calculations involving discounts, manufacturing costs and competition's pricing.

Ø Proposal documents with complex conditionals spanning over multiple pages

 

 

BEST FIT SOLUTION SCENARIOS

Let's comprehend patterns when Enterprise should opt for quoting solutions within Oracle Sales Cloud

 

ØLinear Product structure: Solution will fit in for organizations not having hierarchical product structures. There is no requirement to maintain hierarchical structure of products to process for various calculations say discounts. 

ØQuicker Conversion: There are scenarios when Sales Agent are in discussion with end customer and would like to have Quote created then and there for faster conversion. Quoting Solution within Oracle Sales Cloud surely enables it.

ØBest Utilization of Oracle Sales Cloud Analytics: Of course quoting within Oracle Sales Cloud solution provides complete view using its strong analytics capabilities through Dashboards, Actual versus Quotas Report and Pipeline Analytics. Unparalleled benefit is availability of all these reports on mobile/Ipads as well. Surely it helps in following business motives.

ØEasier Managed Security Aspects: Oracle Sales Cloud provides a detailed framework with Duty Roles, Abstract Roles, Job Roles and Resource Roles which will become all the more easier in upcoming Release 12.

ØEnable Modern Selling with Omni Channel devices: Enabling quoting solution across devices is an Out of Box capability. Mobile Quoting solution could be a transforming decision.

ØOSN enabled for Optimal Business Efficiency:  Oracle Social Network enables real time topic based association with seniors, colleagues and team members. Not only Oracle Sales Cloud allows collaboration on business records but also enables reading, sharing and annotating documents. Where else you could find this feature for a quoting solution?


QuotingSolution_OSC.jpg


This section is what actually interests any organisation - Big question of WHY? Unless there are strong merits, any solution falls flat. Let's gauge through the ones for Quoting solution within Oracle Sales Cloud:

 

ØSimplified Architecture: Solution brings with it one of the greatest reason which is lower ownership costs. Important thing is to decide solution is the right proposition where smoother and optimal solutions become end target.

ØEnhanced Agent Effectiveness: Quoting Solution within Oracle Sales Cloud will provide one click Quote access.

ØUser Experience: No more swapping between applications; consistent UI feel is a definite deal grabber. 

ØBest Exploited Analytics: Reports based on all Objects including the custom Objects provides cohesive picture with right security access to build visions for lattice analysis.

OSCQuotingSolution2.jpg

Quoting solution within Oracle Sales Cloud can be evaluated for optimal economic option. Emerging patterns can surely pave way for brighter side where Enterprises can opt for the solution based on success stories around. Thanks to yet another customer delight enablement from Oracle Sales Cloud! 

April 19, 2017

HCM War in Cloud-"Dynamic Automated solutions on mobility platforms (Part-II)

 

Welcome to last part of the series. In the first part we have discussed about availability of various HCM products under cloud technology and in this part we will discuss about a brief over customer expectation in terms of automation from HCM products.

HCM Products: - Automations & Mobility solutions

There are various HCM products available within cloud and each one has its pros & cons. Each product has its automation tool which makes them different from each other.

But, today's world has understood the importance of HR products and their solutions. Now, the organization's focus has shifted from budget to Automation. Their first and foremost priority is automated solutions which will reduce the future cost to the company.

Customer Expectations:-Automated HCM solutions

  • Integration with multiple applications:-While purchasing any HCM solutions among the various options available within cloud, clients now a days expect that it should support or that it can be integrated with the already existing software platforms, so as to create a bidirectional flow of necessary data from one application to another, without any additional cost of middleware or third party softwares. Automation/Integration tools should be available or can be developed within HCM application which can reduce further cost of integration.

For example -

  1. In the banking industry, there are multiple softwares used for various applications like Core banking solutions, Internet banking, lending solutions etc. There is always requirement for new user-id creation in each software where the employee's minimum basic information is required. HCM products once developed, contains all the user's personal as well as job information. So through automated batch solutions, these basic information can be shared with other applications so as to create bi-directional data flow which can automatically create user accounts in multiple applications as per the company policies.

  2. Similarly in many companies, there is a requirement that if the user is on pre-approved leave, the user account in highly confidential software's like CBS solution in banking should be blocked so that nobody can login with that person credentials who is on pre-approved leave. So as and when future dated leaves gets approved in HCM solutions, automated integration solutions with other software's can support accordingly.

     

  • Tools for Bulk upload & extracts: - These kind of tools are already available in various HCM solutions, but testing after upload takes times. Expectation is that- this time taken can be reduced with automated solutions other than query tools. These tools should verify at their end that the bulk data is uploaded and extracted as per the requirements.

     

  • Automatized solutions for various modules: - Here, automated tools can be used to identify issues before they arise.

  1.  Payroll & Other Modules:-Payroll is the most tedious and crucial domain of HCM applications. Automation can identify the issues which could come across once the payroll is run and processed, according to requirements and it can be sorted out without any manual intervention. Less time will be consumed for checking complete payroll. HCM automated solutions should itself authenticate the payroll results. Since all modules are, in some or another, connected to payroll, automation should be proactive in case of Core HR, absence, succession planning, talent management & all other modules. All kind of issues should be found out before any process is run and should be cleared by itself without any manual intervention.

  2. Automated solutions for Interfaces\reports:-Now a days, various BI tools and interfaces (inbound\outbound) are available with almost all HCM products which is really commendable, but these BI tools should be integrated with other existing applications within the organization .There should be two way flow which can create even financial figures\marketing charts\supply chain management etc. using HR tools. Admin can create reports without intervention of developers even at implementation stage & Automation should make it possible that these reports are flexible and can be created in any form such as presentations, RFPs etc. The dependency on vendors should reduce once implemented and front end solutions should make user's life easier & time effective which will reduce the cost for organizations as well.

  • App based HCM solution: - Since almost all applications are web based and they have the flexibility to be available on mobile, App based HCM solutions should be available at least for ESS & MSS. Notification & alerts should come once the application is downloaded on mobile/ iPad. Any reports which need to be delivered to top management can also be created at any location/time. Approvals based on mails & telephonic conversation (Concall decisions across global clients) can be stored. Any kind of rewards /re-cognition through telephone /mail can be uploaded by associate in his self-service options using the application.

  • Version upgrades & Application Migration: - Version upgrade is a tedious process. If we need to migrate from one HCM solution to another, automation should be such that it should support version upgrade in a few days instead of few months and therefore, the cost will be reduced on time & on resources. Migration between applications would not be tedious task using automation tools.

Conclusion:-HCM solutions have created a buzz for all organizations who believe that Human resources are human capital which can transform the company growth. Since, multiple applications are available within the cloud market, it will be really difficult to choose the best for all organization HR needs. Above all, organizations expect a lot more from HCM solutions which should be highly automated and compatible for all platforms including mobility solutions and there is far more to go to make any HCM application to be highly automated as per the client's needs.

Link to Part 1:- http://www.infosysblogs.com/oracle/2017/03/hcm_war_in_cloud-dynamic_autom.html

User Experience Vs Customer Experience

Is User experience same as Customer experience? Well in the age of digital media and smartphone apps, it is very common to hear about both the terms frequently. At the core of it, they address one key aspect of human behavior- "perception" and an important organization function- "Customer Relationship Management". Interestingly both UX and CX are not separate ideas, they may work in conjunction as well as exclusions. However it will be rightful to mention here that in most cases CX is a subset of an overall UX.

In our day to day life, we interact with number of organizations either for additional information or for a service related issue. Our interactions are dependent on the number of communication channels the organization has exposed for interaction. For e.g. - it very common for cable TV operators, telecom providers, financial service providers to expose to the users the following channels

  1. Physical mails, paper applications- (mostly getting archaic due to associated costs and long response times, however still used in government organizations, rural areas)

  2. Website- Online Interaction

  3. Customer Service Numbers- Voice interaction

  4. Smartphone Apps- Digital interaction


For the purpose of analysis, we will take into account the digital channels through which we interact with a person organization for our queries. It's interesting to draw out key ideas which directly impact either user experience or customer experience.

Channel

Interaction Type

Common Feature to judge UX

Common Features to judge CX

Website/Online Application

Online Interaction

1.       Look and Feel

2.       Colors used

3.       Text Font/size.

4.       The volume of content in the page.

5.       Ease of loading of the website

6.       Payment Options available (Credit card, Debit Card, Net- Banking, PAYPAL etc.)

 

1.       Ease of loading of the website

2.       Number of clicks performed to browse to a particular section

3.       Online Chat facility

4.       Price Comparisons facility

5.       Search facility

6.       Click to chat facility

7.       Guided wizards to perform a task

8.       Setting up of alerts

9.       Dashboards to get multiple reports in one page

10.   Ease of payment

11.   Help Text as a hover

 

Customer Service

Voice interaction

1.       Quality of the phone line

2.       Waiting time in the queue

3.       Accent of the CSR

4.       Option of payment available

1.       Knowledge of the CSR,

2.       Ease of the IVR to guide to the right CSR,

3.       Resolution time

Smart Phone Applications

Digital/gesture based interaction

1.       Ease of downloading/installing the app,

2.       Look and feel of the app

3.       Text Font/size

4.       Response time to navigate to different sections of the app.

 

1.       Ease of navigation,

2.       Ease of uploading  documents,

3.       Click to call facility,

4.       Creating calendar events on the fly from any section of the app.

5.       Ease of navigating to similar topics/reviews/issues,

6.       Quick links to you-tube to check navigation etc.


Are there any metrics to measure UX or CX? Well Since ultimately both CX and UX lead to brand perception, let's put in perspective some common measurements which could be used.

UX Metrics

Success rate(number of visits to the digital media to perform a task)

Error rate(e.g. Crashes  per month-)

Abandonment rate (e.g.  Transaction started but was never completed)

Time to complete task

 

CX Metrics

CX is measured in overall experience (Net Promoter Score)

 Likelihood to use again (Customer Loyalty) and recommend to others

Customer satisfaction


Although CX and UX are different and unique, they must work together for a company to have success.


Continue reading " User Experience Vs Customer Experience " »

Mergers and Acquisitions - Oracle SaaS to the rescue!

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) are time-tested strategies adopted by companies small and large to strengthen their market position and beat competition. In this process, parents usually acquire or merge with entities that are smaller or larger than themselves or of comparable size as theirs. Companies that get acquired could operate in niche areas, possess rare skills and be winners in their business arena. For the consolidation to be successful and yield results, business objectives & strategies need to align/complement, corporate/work cultures need to harmonize and business process synergies need to be realized

Continue reading " Mergers and Acquisitions - Oracle SaaS to the rescue! " »

April 12, 2017

THE PROMISE OF EINSTEIN AI


Dreamforce event last year was almost all about Salesforce AI "Einstein" and its promise. The promise of AI solution that will:


• Will Reside inside the SFDC platform
• Will be able to analyze the huge quantities of data generated like, sales, emails, activity data, e-commerce, calendars, social strings, and connected devices (IoT) and
• Will Implement logics through machine learning and predictive analytics algorithms and
• Will offer crisp insights after analyzing huge data and provide recommendations and perform business functions across the SFDC platform.


For example Sales Cloud Einstein's feature of "Predictive Lead Scoring" will help sales folks to focus on the most promising leads. "Opportunity Insights" feature will suggest sales folks to set next priorities. This will also take into account the inputs of another Einstein feature "Automated Activity Capture".


Service Cloud Einstein will help optimize how calls are routed through the new feature called "Einstein Case Management". Machine Learning will enable cases  to be automatically assigned, escalated and classified once they are raised, and also automatically recommend the resolution based on historic data. It will also ensure that high priority cases are serviced quicker and assigned to the best equipped and available agent. The platform will automate much of the initial information gathering, mostly via chatbots, so that service agents are equipped with background information before the eventual customer interaction. Another value add feature of Service Cloud Einstein will be Case Closure Date Prediction. 


Similarly, Commerce Cloud Einstein promises Product Recommendations and Commerce Insights and Predicitive Sort for the best and next best product to be offered . Marketing Cloud Einstein will provide Predictive Scores and Audience Predictions to enable marketers for campaigns to be focussed and successful and deliver the best content available. Other Einstein features are summarily depicted below:
 


(From www.salesforce.com)

Though, the promise of Einstein is immense but Salesforce has taken a tactical and faster time to market approach for releasing features.  The focus is right now is on using the existing capabilities built through acquisitions like BeyondCore and existing Wave Analytics. The intent is to start building Apps using the existing capabilities and then add on later. By the end of year Salesforce will be releasing around 45 AI features across clouds.


And the results are showing. Last week Transamerica (insurance firm) announced its plans to adopt Einstein AI for transforming the way it manages the relationships with clients and households by:
• Providing Insights through sentiment analysis, competitor references by clients etc. Einstein will provide notifications to reach the customers at the best time for conversion
• Provide Relationship tools to consolidate clients and their households in one structure. It will provide functionality to Group multiple related businesses, households, trusts etc.
• Once consolidated it will map relationships and provide insights and correlations of their financial ecosystems

Further, this week Salesforce announced Service Cloud Einstein and Amazon connect integration.


Oracle also announced launch of "Adaptive Intelligent Apps" last year and due for release later this year. The key Apps and associated SaaS clouds are as follows:


• CX Cloud: Adaptive Intelligent Offers and Adaptive Intelligent Actions
• HCM Cloud: Adaptive Intelligent Candidate Experience
• SCM Cloud: Adaptive Intelligent Planning &Bidding
• ERP Cloud: Adaptive Intelligent Discounts


It will be very Interesting to see how much Oracle and Salesforce capture the promising AI space (Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts AI market to be $153 billion by 2020). Pricing may be feature based and it will not be surprising if its priced per use (per prediction or data analysis). In my opinion quicker release, target segment focus and pricing will eventually determine who captures larger market share in this space.

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