Thomas and I started Day 2 with a briefing on Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) for the upcoming MQ for Employee Performance Management software. Oracle continues to make progress filling in some of the functional gaps and the product remains quite good in areas such as compensation management. The adoption rate is also quite good within the EBS installed base (especially for compensation management).
Thomas and I also had some briefings with the product strategy folks for both EBS (Anand Subbaram) and PeopleSoft (Tracy Martin along with Paco Aubrejuan the new GM of the PeopleSoft BU). From a PeopleSoft perspective, I admit I was actually pleasantly surprised. Even though 9.1 is a little later than expected, they plan to add quite a bit of functionality including cascading goals in Performance Management as well as a new Succession Management capability (delivered with core HR -- so no additional licensing required). In addition, Oracle is revamping compensation management in 9.1 (re-writing and adding to the existing capabilities and better integration to ePerformance), adding new Talent Management Dashboards to its Workforce Analytics product (the one based on OBIEE), and bringing out a new employee survey tool (tentatively called Workforce Connect) which leverages customer survey tools from the Siebel CRM solution. Also, in terms of leveraging Siebel CRM, Oracle is creating what it termed "Fusion Edition" applications the first of which will be what is called Talent Pool Management (TPM). Fusion Edition applications are edge applications meant to work with PeopleSoft, EBS, and Fusion. The name is a bit of a misnomer as it is really focused on Candidate Relationship Management (marketing and communicating with passive candidates) not talent pool management as one would think of it in Succession Management. The next Fusion Edition application expected is Talent Review (sometime in 2009).
Speaking of sometime, that is when PeopleSoft 9.1 is expected in 2009 (though indications were that it would not be the beginning or end of 2009 so expect it to be released over the course of Q2/Q3 for new customers). However, some of the most interesting things going on were with PeopleTools. PeopleTools 8.50 includes a number of noteworthy features, but the one with the most immediate impact is the new Ajax-based User Experience. PeopleSoft 9.1 is built on PeopleTool 8.50, but it is backward compatible to previous application releases. So, 8.9 and 9.0 customers that want to enhance the user experience can do just a PeopleTools upgrade to get the necessary capabilities.
For those EBS customers out there, things are a little more definitive. Version 12.1 is coming in Q109. It too will include new succession management functionality (as well as Profile Management based on the design from PeopleSoft 9.0). There are a number of incremental enhancements across the rest of the product line from interview management in iRecruitment to setup enhancements and better market data integration in Compensation Workbench.
I also went to Gretchen Alarcon's presentation on Oracle's HCM vision. She did a good job laying out the trends (thanks for the plug) and how Oracle is looking at opportunities around workforce planning and modeling and predictive analytics. It was a pretty good size crowd and it was a little surprising to see no one was really doing anything with predictive analytics. There is tremendous potential business value in the right applications of planning and analytics. What do you think? Will the hype around social software and HCM overshadow the emergence of workforce planning and analytics?