Image credit Leavell

Oracle has announced that it has named IBM a strategic HR Business Process outsourcing provider. That this was an Oracle rather IBM press release is interesting. It demonstrates perhaps that there is a limit to Oracle’s ambitions. Those ambitions and more importantly focus rely on its comprehensive technology stack rather than supporting business operations.

Tony Kender, Senior Vice President, North America HCM Cloud Business, Oracle commented: “Oracle has witnessed Human Resource departments adopt Oracle HCM Cloud at an unprecedented rate. The inherent benefits of consuming HR as a service has allowed CHROs around the world to focus on strategic talent and HR direction with providing surety of high quality next generation HR operations. Increasingly forward thinking CHRO’s are recognizing that progressive Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provides a significant quantitative business case for HR transformation. Oracle is excited to collaborate with a globally recognized BPO provider and world-class consulting partner such as IBM, who is superbly qualified to provide our clients a seamless transition on that journey.”

IBM has a long history of working with Oracle. It is a diamond partner of Oracle and now a Cloud Elite partner. It was placed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Oracle Application Implementation Services and for Managed Services, Worldwide in 2015. IBM can deliver implementation and transformation services for Oracle HCM but also continues to deliver HR operations services to business.

For some companies using the Oracle Global Business services to transform their HCM operations is enough. The law firm Ashursts is one such company. Interestingly they improved the strategic input of HR by moving to cloud. Claire Townshend, Head of HR, EMEA and US at Ashurst commented: “Our ultimate goal is to empower every member of the firm, wherever they are, to own their personal data. We strongly believe that enabling employees to enter their data into a single, shared system will help ensure that our records are up to date, and deliver the clean, consistent data we need to generate highly granular, accurate reports that can be trusted by the business.”

IBM will now offer an outsourced process to Oracle HCM customers. This enables them to not only transform their businesses but continue to have HR support. The endorsement by Oracle is a good business opportunity that IBM should capitalise on. It will be interesting to see which customers take up the offer.

What will IBM bring

Dan Eybergen, North America Oracle Service Line leader within IBM (Image credit Linkedin)
Dan Eybergen, North America Oracle Service Line leader within IBM

Without specifically mentioning it IBM also brings several additional technical benefits to the table. The first is IBM Kenexa a competitor to Oracle’s Taleo it delivers more than just applicant tracking. Possibly of greater interest though is the cognitive computing stack that IBM offers in Watson. While Oracle has just launched its augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities IBM already has some point solutions such as IBM Watson Talent. It will be interesting to see which customers use IBM’s BPO services with Oracle HCM Cloud.

Dan Eybergen, North America Oracle Service Line leader within IBM commented: “We look forward to the opportunity to successfully bring our clients live on the Oracle HCM Cloud platform to continue to transform the way HR services are delivered.”

What does this mean

Oracle HCM is winning customers quickly despite Workday winning some big names. This announcement will see IBM help Oracle migrate more customers across to the HCM cloud in the future. What is interesting is that with a cloud solution in place there should be less need for BPO. With many of the HCM tasks no longer required because of self service. Once the first case study is developed it will be interesting to see exactly what services IBM offers. Additionally, how senior the supporting role is to the business.


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