HCM Transformation in Higher Education: Taking Advantage Early for Success

By: | February 28, 2020

In this piece, Joseph Clay, VP HCM Transformation at Oracle, shares insights on how institutions can launch their journey to cloud adoption, future-proof their operations, and how Oracle can support them every step of the way.

Our Commitment to Higher Education

Oracle has been a domain leader in technology for more than 40 years supporting higher education for over 30. Today, it continues to innovate with a strategic focus on providing higher education leaders the latest in HCM, ERP and Student technology. Our vision for the future infuses the innovative technologies we are developing with the partnerships we have forged along the way. Our student solutions are helping institutions meet the needs of over 11 million students; the Higher Education User Group (HEUG) may be the world’s largest independent user group with 23K users from over 900 campuses. We have over 1,600 higher education application customers spanning the globe and over 11,000 database and technology customers in over 47 countries. Sounds great, huh? But, what do these experiences and resources mean for campus Presidents and their leadership teams struggling to transform institutions? Today, Oracle is focused on meeting your needs by investing in smarter ways to help you implement, innovate and transform.

Connecting the Dots

Oracle is leveraging its experience by investing in resources to help institutions successfully implement and sustain transformative change. These teams include HCM Transformation, seasoned human resource executive talent dedicated to higher education, Oracle Consulting Services (OCS), experts with decades of experience implementing ERP and HCM systems and a newly formed change management team. Oracle also has a network of certified implementation partners (IPs) with proven track records of installing cloud systems on time and within budget. These resources are extremely valuable and can make a difference for any institution. By leveraging these resources, institutions can improve the odds of driving greater innovation and successfully transforming their institutions. Each week, I work with university leaders who want to know the best time to get their teams and other campus stakeholders started on an implementation. They want to be confident that when the system goes live, their investment will meet the needs of their Faculty, staff and ultimately students. I advise them to focus on what we’ll call the “Pre-Phase Zero” window.

Leveraging “Pre-Phase Zero”

The Pre-Phase Zero window is the period between when the final decision is made on a cloud solution and implementation partners are engaged to start the project.  This is a perfect time to partner with leaders across the institution to understand what makes the campus special for faculty, staff and students. The most successful teams use this opportunity to assess how well their current support models reflect the core values of their institution. These teams also use this time to take stock of how things work today and challenge their teams to think about the “art of the possible”.  For example: does your talent acquisition strategy provide a great user experience for internal and external candidates? Does the current performance management process feel burdensome or does it encourage on-going feedback on projects, deliverables and goals? These questions help create a safe environment to challenge assumptions and start the transformative process.

Elements of Pre-Phase Zero 

With a clear understanding of how you operate now and a perspective on what is possible in the future, your team will be better prepared to collaborate with your implementation provider (IP). One of the first challenges you may face is a request by your implementation partner to share current workflows and standard operating procedures (SOPs) you may not have. Avoid the temptation of dedicating time to creating SOPs and workflows.  Instead, use this time to focus on reviewing or creating business rules and service level agreements (SLGs) for recurring deliverables like performance management, employee transfers, invoice processing, etc. Start identifying and engaging key stakeholders across the institution.  Identify executive champions from both Faculty and Staff who understand the value proposition of the new system and are willing to provide support and direct feedback on key steps. Engage business process owners in recruitment, reporting and other key functional areas to get their perspective on the user experience in the new system. Bring in functional subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide insight on how best to configure workflow. Finally, assign a communication lead(s) to facilitate messaging at all stages of the implementation. As you engage your immediate and extended teams, you will discover other needs to manage during this time. Don’t allow this step to become overly tactical but use this time to set the stage for a successful implementation.

Bringing it together – Speed is not your friend

For many leaders in higher education, the implementation of an HCM, ERP or Student Platform is a “once in a career” event. A great deal of attention and resources will be leveraged across the institution to make the effort a success. It is important that you give yourself and your team permission to pause, listen, and where appropriate redirect resources. When you take advantage of Pre-Phase Zero planning, you will position your team to be better informed and empowered to drive your implementation to a successful outcome. At Oracle, we will continue to invest in finding ways to leverage our experiences and resources in higher education to help transform institutions.

Preparing for Tomorrow

We want our customers to focus on tomorrow, today because we invest heavily in R&D, including emerging technologies like AI, Chatbot, and IoT so that you don’t have to worry.  We know your primary focus is on running your institution and increasing student success while we handle the infrastructure, platform, and application for HR, Financials and Student. Each year, we inject $6B in R&D (supported by more than 40,000 developers) while our competitor struggles to be profitable which hampers their ability to invest at the same rate on emerging technology and incorporate customer sourced ideas.  To speak to our innovation, we have more than 17,000 patents, enabling us to stay ahead of our competition. Finally, each year 80% of our product enhancements are customer sourced.

In short, we want you to win and will continue investing in smarter ways to help you implement, innovate and transform.

We thank Joseph for the valuable insights shared in this piece. To learn more, visit Oracle Higher Education. Attending Oracle OpenWorld? Find the education and research sessions here.