Oracle Gains Momentum in the HR Software Market – A Story of Patience and Focus

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  • This is a great article, Josh. The thing I like about your communications is your committment to education. I learned a lot about the evolution of the industry that I did not know previously – an industry I spent 20 years in. Just shows how much there is to learn, even when you’re in the field. Thanks!

    • Great Ryan, I wasn’t sure if people would appreciate the little history lesson. You can learn a lot about Oracle by looking at all they’ve done in the past – and where they are today is the result of a long and bold journey.

  • Great write-up Josh, thanks for the insights. While the individual pieces of software which Oracle HCM own are generally good, I have my concerns about the the “sum of the parts” being greater. I would like to see Oracle putting a lot more effort into the back-end integration, because this is where their main competitors (#Wday & #SF ) have done a better job IMO. I do agree with you that they are showing great signs of innovation with some of their apps.

    • Agree Rob, there is still a lot of plumbing behind the scenes here. But that’s the way most modern web businesses are built – even Google has many applications running behind its user interface.

      • Agreed, great job articulating the history Josh.

        Rob, regarding back end integration on Oracle HCM Cloud, there are really only 3 products to integrate (Fusion HCM, Taleo, and Learn). You could argue that there is a single enterprise BI layer that sits on top of all this, so that can be considered another integration. However, BI, Taleo and Fusion are now integrated both from a UX and back-end perspective, and Josh did a good job articulating the Learning strategy.

        SAP/SFSF have done a good job visually, but have tied together almost 10 products behind the scenes.

        Workday on the other hand having developed everything natively obviously has a strong leg up on both Oracle and SAP from an integration perspective. However, most WD customers still aren’t using them for end-to-end HR and are thus required to integrate ATS, LMS, Talent Mgmt, and often times even compensation functionality from standalone vendors.

        In the end, IMO end to end HR is still going to be a conversation revolving around integration for some time.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the informative article. I think the biggest reason why Oracle has made a big turnaround in the cloud is because they spent a great deal of effort, investment, and time building out their cloud solutions which is now paying returns. Their progress in the cloud took a long time but their big investments in Fusion and series of acquisitions have helped them build a comprehensive offering that is much easier to sell than individual offerings. Companies want connected system and Oracle has it all from CRM, HCM, Financials/Supply chain/ERP, to Marketing (in the cloud).

    SAP might pose a big challenge to Oracle as they are also building end to end, integrated cloud solutions. Workday understands this from their Peoplesoft playbook and that is why they started on their Financials early. Unfortunately for Workday, they will be at a significant disadvantage till they built out their suite including Supply Chain, Logistics etc which can take years (i.e. Fusion).

  • E2DAV

    The biggest challenge for Oracle comes from the user base. The user experience is awful on most of the products they acquired. Maybe the switch to cloud will help product innovation, but the general reputation of software companies get acquired by Oracle to gain initial market share than then get ignored is still very alive. I speak from experience on multiple systems, but Oracle still caters to the IT professional; so the back end integration of data from an ATS to an overall HRIS to Accounting and Payroll systems is relatively seamless for your IT professional. However, the user experience is horrid and should be embarrassing for Oracle.

    I am a heavy user of Taleo and it’s easily the worst part of my day. It’s awful for the experience of both the candidate and the recruiter. It’s essentially a workflow that was created over a decade ago and while recruiting departments have evolved how they contribute to the business, the ATS has lagged well, well behind and Taleo is a huge case-in-point.

    As candidate experience continues to play a bigger role and as day-to-day users play a more influential role of guiding software and application decisions, Oracle will continue to lose market share. As a user of multiple Oracle applications, I cannot wait for that to happen.

  • John Eckersley

    Josh, I really enjoyed the history stuff – I lived through much of this as PeopleSoft employee and/or consultant.

    On a small point of pedantry – whilst I agree that “PeopleSoft used the Oracle database” if didn’t do so at every customer.

    I did implementations at Banks and other customers who were IBM or Microsoft houses and therefore didn’t use Oracle at all in conjunction with Peoplesoft – even long after the Oracle takeover.

    One of the key points about Peoplesoft back in the day was that we weren’t tied to a single database. WIth that said, Oracle DB users were probably/possibly a majority.

  • Alexandre Franco

    This is a great article, Josh, with a great recap of the HCM application domain. You covered pretty much all the key players in that space. Perhaps not as big as the ones you mentioned, Link2HR was another player back in the 2000’s which was very close to Peoplesoft.

  • Cara Capretta

    Thank you for telling our story Josh! I’m proud to be part of the Oracle team.