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Oracle HCM Software Review

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Oracle Fusion HCM Best Fit and Competitors

Sweet Spot
The early adopter program for Oracle's Fusion HCM software solution has netted primarily customers that fall into the 5K-7K employee range—a clear indication (given the nature of such "early" programs) that Oracle sees these customers as having the highest likelihood of success. However, it should be noted that through partner programs, smaller organizations are likely to find this solution more than adequate (though at times functionality overkill) at handling organizational needs. Likewise, larger organizations (i.e. 10K+ employees) will find that the Fusion HCM suite will satisfy the majority of HR software business requirements. However, it should be noted that few customers at the upper end of the market have selected and deployed Fusion applications—an off-putting statistic for many of these enterprises. Marquis customers for Fusion HCM include: Thomson-Reuters, PZ Cussons, The Principal, and Advanced Innovations.

Short list Oracle Fusion HCM software when:

  • Satisfied with current deployments of Oracle's E-Business Suite or Oracle's PeopleSoft and looking to add in-depth functionality for elements such as embedded analytics, performance management, and compensation management.
  • Your organization's IT platform/stack is already Oracle—effectively making your IT department an Oracle shop. This continuity of technology and interfaces could greatly impact user up-take and system adoption, as well as provide significant in-roads for broader Fusion ERP capabilities.
  • Your organization falls into one of Oracle's supported industry verticals—a uniquely positive position given that Oracle has taken the time to define industry-specific feature sets, processes and reporting requirements through data model extensions (rather than focusing solely on configurability).
  • Looking for best-in-class advanced business intelligence (e.g. predictive modeling) that can only be found through vendors such as Oracle, SAP, and Workday.
  • Seeking global HR software functionality for talent management that focuses on Oracle's supported geographies such as the Middle East and China markets.
  • Your organization is considering adopting and/or alternating between on-premise deployment for certain HR functions (i.e. "core" HRMS) and SaaS deployment for other functions (i.e. performance management).

Alternative Solutions
Prospective HRMS or HCM software buyers should look to alternative solutions when:

  • Needing Talent Management solutions such as Recruitment and/or Learning that are best-of-breed.
  • Seeking global functionality for talent management that focuses on geographies that Oracle has not made a priority; such as Africa, South America, and much of the European market.
  • Looking for an established HR software solution that has a mature customer ecosystem.

Oracle Customers
Existing Oracle clients are best advised to:

  • Seriously consider Fusion HCM if needing a SaaS-based HR management system that has deep integration capabilities with a broader ERP solution.
  • Understand that Fusion HCM software is built on an entirely different codebase than EBS and PeopleSoft; which means that while a migration path may have been outlined by Oracle (and coexistence between the applications is possible), a full-scale "rip-and-replace" Fusion deployment is no different than other HR software implementations (i.e. you can't simply upgrade your way to a full Fusion suite)—and should be diligently evaluated as such.
  • Talk with your dedicated Oracle rep to get detailed instructions and advice on a recommended path (e.g. an upgrade of your PeopleSoft or EBS system, a hybrid approach, a "rip-and-replace" with Fusion, etc.) given your existing set-up. In all likelihood, upgrades will be recommended, but keep in mind that your organization's best decision may not be the one that Oracle most advocates (i.e. make sure to go into the decision process well informed of your business objectives, needs and budget).

Oracle Fusion HCM Competitors

As is to be expected, Oracle HR software solutions compete directly with SAP, Infor, Workday and other major players in the HRMS market for the same enterprise dollars. However, both SAP's and Workday's in-memory analytics provide functional aspects of business intelligence that Oracle can't deliver on yet. That's not to infer that Oracle's BI functionality is lacking though. In fact, the embedded analytic capabilities that Oracle delivers in the Fusion suite are best-in-class. Further, backwards integration to older Oracle systems with those functionalities brings an element (albeit self-serving) to the HCM software market that has yet to be seen.

As is also the case for some of the larger ERP software vendors within the space, Oracle provides talent management software capabilities as well; providing some skin in that game that allows it to compete with smaller niche talent management software vendors. However, it should be noted that the advances that Fusion HCM software brings to the table (e.g. combining talent management with HRMS into a single solution) effectively knock out several of the smaller competitors such as Ceridian, NuView, Ultimate, and Meta4 who simply can't deliver the combined HR functionality that larger companies like Oracle can.

Concluding Remarks

With Fusion Applications, Oracle has proven that innovation can still come from an industry giant. That said, this innovation has taken approximately six years to get to market; a major issue for any vendor but especially for Oracle given the "wolves at the door" like SAP, Infor, and Workday. Yet Oracle's task has been infinitely more difficult than other vendors—attempting to simultaneously bridge functionality gaps with current products; develop a new 2nd-generation HR software product moving forward that ties in with existing lines; and alter a revenue model that has worked successfully for the past several decades. These initiatives are made even more challenging given the scope of Oracle's hardware and software solutions—all worthwhile endeavors that compete for finite management, development and marketing attention.

These issues have proven costly in terms of customer sentiment; thanks in large part to the consistent messaging of smaller vendors, analysts, and business executives calling for a veritable revolt against on-premise software solutions. In fact, with few exceptions, at no other time within HR technology's history, has full-scale "rip-and-replace" been as viable an alternative as it is today. As such, in many ways, Oracle's challenge moving forward reflects the same concerns that some of these challenger solutions face; develop and deliver a consistent message about the benefits of their HCM software offering—understanding that these next few months and years are crucial for the brand as it looks to secure more of a customer base on Fusion. The HR software solution itself is solid, flexible, and scalable; and has the ability to give mid-market organizations up to larger enterprises the feature sets and business insight desired for effective human capital management. Convincing new customers to come aboard and old customers to stay though may wind up being an entirely different story; regardless of how large and well-known Oracle as a company has become.

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