The demo was going well. I had shown an Oracle E-Business Suite customer how their employee and manager self-service screens could receive an easy to use, consumer grade User Experience by deploying Applaud. By sharing my desktop, iPhone and iPad over web conference, the customer understood how all their key employee and manager processes could be available on smartphone and tablet devices using our mobile apps.
The customer was excited. Their HR team were chattering about the possibilities the new software offered. There was 5 minutes left for questions. A member of the IT team interjected:
“This is all very nice, but why should we spend our budget on pretty looking screens?”
300 Reasons to choose Applaud
A common objection and one we are used to dealing with. Over time, we’ve built up a lot of evidence and customer success stories that demonstrate the value of deploying a modern user experience that sits on top of your enterprise apps.
Perhaps what a lot of customers are unaware of, though, is the vast array of net new features our solutions deliver to customers. We recently compiled a list of ‘things users can do in Applaud that they can’t in standard Oracle E-Business Suite’. We currently have a count of over 300 features, some big, some small. We’ll be publishing the list soon.
For now, here are five of my favourite features you might not know about:
1. Touch ID Support
The mobile apps that become successful will all give you fast access. For years, I didn’t use the LinkedIn app on my phone because it asked me to enter my email address and password every single time I used it. It only took me about 20 seconds to key that in but it was enough to put me off the ‘casual browse’. Last year, LinkedIn changed their app to cache your username and password. I now use the app regularly.
We’ve had a surprising number of customers ask for us to support ‘zero sign-on’ in our mobile apps. However, for every customer that wants their users to get immediate access to their HR data, there’ll be two others that will reject entirely the concept of a native app that allows a malicious user to pick up a phone and get the same access with no controls.
TouchID is a neat way to support both sets of customers. We introduced it into our iOS mobile app last month. Logging into Oracle via a thumbprint is a gloriously easy experience. And yes: we will support FaceID on iPhone X!
Once upon a time I worked at Oracle and managed a team. I used Oracle Manager Self Service. I gnashed my teeth when filling out a performance review online for a team member, getting distracted by someone coming to my desk then returning to the page and discovering that I had lost my work due to a session time-out.
Keying in an absence again is one thing – re-keying in a job application or appraisal comments is another. When developing our Recruitment and Performance products we knew we had to solve this problem, particularly for users on mobile devices where the connection is less stable than a desk-based PC user.
All our forms, including custom ones, now support a seamless ‘auto-save’ feature that saves your work in the background every few seconds. None of this clunky ‘saved for later’ nonsense you get in standard Oracle, just a modern way of ensuring you don’t lose your work.
3. Our unsung hero: worker search
Customers rarely buy our software for the person search; everyone has an employee directory right?
Yet, when a customer deploys our solutions, I regularly find one of the best received features in Applaud is our configurable, faceted worker search. You can search for any person, across business groups using any information held against their HR record. You can then filter the results by any field or logical grouping you care to define. You can even view where they work on a google map. And once you find them, you can take actions on them from the search results page without having to swap out of your responsibility or even into another page.
Although we designed this feature for employees and managers, we regularly find that HR Administrators, particularly ones that work in a Shared Service Center, also benefit hugely from this facility. It’s surprisingly hard to find someone in Oracle if you have to work across multiple business groups and deal with ex-employees and future hires.
All of our products come with search via our Foundation suite and work immediately out of the box with a minimum of steps.
Alternatively, if you have budget and time to burn, feel free to invest in brand new servers, set them up and pay considerably higher software fees to Oracle for Endeca with its extension for Oracle Human Resources.
4. Support for your Branding
It seems a long time ago when we created a Hallowe’en theme for Applaud.
Amazingly, this was only two years ago. We’ve come a long way since then. Now customers have access to their Applaud Cloud tenant where they can modify all sorts of page component colours, upload logos and change fonts without the need of any technical work or loading any assets into their on-premise systems. We’re now handing over theming duties to web designers rather than Oracle techies.
Branding is the first thing people do when they install Applaud. It’s easy, it’s fun but it also starts the journey toward a personalized and modern user experience from Day 1. Here’s a selection:
5. Availability Calendar
I wrote about our new time and absence functionality a few months ago and we delivered a webinar to demo it last month. Now I’ve had a couple of months to be hands-on with the finished code, I’m comfortable in saying this is the most impressive single module we’ve delivered so far.
There are too many features to call out in a single blog but the one I know is going to excite all our customers is the ‘scheduler’ view which gives a supervisor or timekeeper a view of team absence, time entries and other company events in a single calendar view. This new page is so much more than a view of availability though: mass entry productivity tools and dashboards support supervisors, employees and administrators manage absence & time entry more strategically and efficiently.
Not only does this deliver functionality you can’t get in Oracle E-Business Suite, when we did the research we found out that it also surpasses anything you can get in Oracle Cloud HCM too.
Not just a pretty face
Picking out just five features was pretty difficult. I could easily have written about push notifications; support for Apple Watch; multi-assignment time entry; position hierarchy charting; out of the box integration to google analytics; geo-fencing; mobile-first job site; Hijrah calendar; embedded Business Intelligence charts; performance management plans that actually work and many more.
Those can be saved for future blogs. For now, be assured that Applaud is not just committed to making Oracle E-Business Suite ‘pretty’ but making it into the best HCM system you can buy.