Applaud’s solutions for the Higher Education sector
E-Business Suite HR and Payroll was developed with a strong localization framework embedded in the core product. This architecture helped Oracle deliver top of the class support for features that have strong legislative requirements such as Payroll and Absence Management. Combined with this, Oracle’s Core HR system came out of the gates with support for multiple assignments, position hierarchies, grade step progression – Higher Education must-haves that are only just now beginning to appear in Oracle’s 5 year-old Cloud HCM system.
It was a good tactic: Oracle E-Business Suite continues to be used by local authorities and Governments around the world including some of the largest, such as the NHS, Ministry of Defence, Department of Work & Pensions in the UK; US Air Force, Department of Defense in the US; every significant Ministry in Saudi Arabia and more.
As I wrote in my first blog, our first ever product was an Absence Calendar; a neat little Self Service bolt-on that helped managers view the availability of their team in a wall chart type view. It was a hit with the UK Higher Education sector where many of our early customers were local authorities who had deployed Absence Management to their supervisors and employees.
As Applaud has evolved and started to focus on user experience and mobile, we continue to have success with higher education organizations but we occasionally hear the question, “Why should we pay for fancy screens?”
In the early days of our user experience solutions, it was a fair challenge. Now, we’ve built a huge number of additional features into Applaud that you can’t get in standard Oracle, many which help Higher Education bodies to save costs, putting Applaud firmly into the ‘Spend to Save’ bracket.
Our Time and Absence offering has evolved from our early Absence Calendar and we have terrific and comprehensive support, far exceeding what you can achieve in the standard product. If you’re a public body, sickness recording is likely your #1 requirement; any solution that helps you manage, track and reduce sickness is a ‘spend to save’ item. Applaud has the follow features which can help:
- Manager Calendar: give the supervisor a view of their team’s absence and training across a weekly, monthly or annual view. Spot trends, like an employee who takes off 6 Mondays a year and make sure you always have coverage in your team
- Sickness Dashboards: in addition to regular sickness reporting, out of the box support for the Bradford factor (an algorithm that gives people a ‘score’ based on recurring short term absence). This lets managers and HR pick out any people who take the most damaging form of sickness – lots of unplanned one day sicknesses
- Mobile absence: typically 50% of a Higher Education worker population won’t work at a desk. Paper based processes are still prevalent for these workers – move them online for process efficiencies and cost savings.
Many High Education customers ask about reporting dashboards or ‘analytics’. This is not the same as reporting. Reporting is something like getting a list of all people that work in a certain grade into an Excel spreadsheet. Analytics gives you business intelligence, so KPIs like ‘Overtime costs broken down by department’, ‘Time to fill open posts’, ‘Sickness costs per directorate’ etc.
This is intelligence that your leaders can use to make decisions for the financial health of the organization.
On premise Oracle software is expensive and many organizations won’t have anything in place. In 2018, Applaud will release a new based Analytics platform coming out which uses the very latest Cloud based ‘elastic search’ services to process, report and visualize hundreds of thousands of records and embed the results in your Self Service pages on mobile and desktop.
Most High Education organizations will have some requirement to track time for at least some of their part time workers. Applaud has its own product called Time and Payments. Unlike some of our other products, it does not have to sit on top of the corresponding Oracle product (Oracle Time and Labor). So the benefits depend on whether you use OTL or not:
- You do not license OTL. Applaud Time does not have to use OTL so you don’t need a new expensive Oracle license. If using an old timekeeping system or a paper based one, Applaud Time is much cheaper than OTL, integrates directly into Core Payroll, has mobile capability and can be deployed quickly (<3 months). Save money supporting a legacy system or digitize a paper process.
- You do use OTL. Applaud can be configured to interact with Oracle Time and Labor. The benefits of using Applaud with OTL are: mobile access, manager dashboards, mass approval, mass entry, manager calendar view of time; Clock in / Clock out facilities (not available in OTL); manager dashboard to help manage exceptions and errors.
Applaud has full coverage for all Employee and Manager Self Service. So processes like Payslip, Absence, Personal Changes, Approvals, Employee Directory, Time Entry, Assignment Changes (Change Pay, Change Supervisor, Transfer, etc.), Performance Management, EITs and SITs. No other mobile solution in the world (including anything from Oracle) has such a wide coverage.
How does your non-desk workforce currently interact with your HR system? There is a high chance that there is a lot of ‘paper based’ processes going on, usually the manager entering all the details in on behalf of the employee who passes them information via emails or forms or phone calls. Sometimes an expensive HR Service Centre will provide this support. Mobile HR can reduce these time sinks & costs and introduce efficiencies.
And if you are still mailing out paper pay advice, obvious cost reductions can be realised with Mobile Payslip.
Applaud supports all those lovely Higher Education constructs
We know how important it is for us to support the following Higher Education must-haves:
- Multiple Assignment Support: we fully support workers holding down multiple ‘jobs’. All our pages can support multiple assignment information if you have configured them in standard Oracle
- Position Hierarchy: We have an Org Chart component that visualises a ‘position hierarchy’; something used by most Higher Education organizations. We support Position Management for all processes where Oracle does, for example, approval routing and security
- Localized support: Out of the box, we support UK & US Payslip, UK & US Bank Details / Payment methods, UK & US Holiday rules and more.
- Translation: Not using English language for your installation, for example, are you a Government organization in the Middle East using Arabic? In 2018, we’ll be releasing automated translation facilities using a new Cloud based service. We also support Hijrah calendar – the only mobile solution around to do so.
Historically, Performance Management was a touchy subject in Higher Education as performance couldn’t be related to pay (or discipline!). Now, however, organizations are under increasing pressure to get the best out of their workers.
Oracle E-Business Suite has a Performance Management solution that is a bit rubbish. Oracle Talent Cloud is Oracle’s new system which can be pricey for a large Higher Education body and is interfaced, not integrated.
Applaud Performance doesn’t require the underlying Oracle Performance Management product to be licensed and so is a good, cost effective option for a prospect looking for a decent appraisal system that integrates seamlessly with Oracle and can be deployed quickly.
Reducing calls into HR / Service Desk via chatbots
Born from a recent hackathon, in 2018 we’re introducing Chatbot / AI functionality into our product. This is not a separate purchase, it comes as part of the same products described above. The Artificial Intelligence will be able to handle questions like ‘What’s my holiday balance?’, ‘What’s my hourly pay?’, ‘When will I next get paid?’
Mention Artificial Intelligence and many High Education clients will naturally think this is some fancy future tech that isn’t for them but actually, chatbot functionality like this will be a great cost saver if you have an HR Service Centre that spends time answering calls that could be automated.
Was there ever a time that Higher Education organizations didn’t have tough budget constraints? We can help you evaluate our products risk free:
- We offer a free trial environment to have a play on
- We can do a free Proof of Concept on your own development system.
- We license our software by user with a minimum purchase of 250 users. So you can take a nibble, make sure it works and then extend your investment once proven. Low upfront investment required.
- Deployment is quick – our average project now gets you a sandbox in 2 days, a first ‘hands-on’ build within 2 weeks and a deployment within 3 months or less.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to Applaud, get in contact to talk about how we can help you spend to save.