Oracle5:Live session recap
For those who missed our session at the Oracle 5 Live event, here is a shortened summary of the session.
Leona Chauhan, CEO of Magia Consulting, was joined by Blessing Skermer from BEIS and Cat Smith from UK SBS to demonstrate how any ERP solution can be extended to cater for your HR and Finance use cases using the innovation of Oracle Intelligent Advisor.
The theme of the session was small steps, big impact.
What is Oracle Intelligent Advisor?
Oracle Intelligent Advisor is rules engine technology that:
- Is purpose built for automating complex policies
- Creates tailored online applications
Started as a rules engine…
Leona started with explaining that the way Oracle Intelligent Advisor works is you put all the knowledge from legislation, policy guidance, process documentations, human knowledge and any other source of knowledge into what we call a “policy model” and then any person or system that interacts with the policy model can make decisions like an expert with all the knowledge needed at their fingertips.
…and developed into intelligent online forms
Leona then described how Oracle has developed Intelligent Advisor over the years to create user-friendly forms. With the rich rules engine functionality in the background, only the information needed is collected, decisions can be made on the spot and intelligent validation can be displayed to the user to drive an intuitive user experience.
Leona then provided a summary of the basics of OIA - key features, how it runs, and when it is a good fit, in 3 key quick reference slides.
BEIS OIA story
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are leading the UK’s recovery from coronavirus and are building a stronger, greener country.
Following the Machinery of Government (MOG) change BEIS together with a couple of other Government departments have has been reconstructed to form 3 new Government Departments:
- Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
- Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
- Department for Business and Trade
Reason for HR automation
Blessing Skermer, HR Innovation and Continuous Improvement Lead talked about the 2 key drivers for the automation project at BEIS - simplification and user journeys.
As BEIS is a sizable organisation, they wanted to create intelligent digital solutions that could simplify the user journey for HR processes such as applying for parental leave.
By incorporating policy guidance into digital processes, the aim was to collect information based on the specific circumstances of the employee at the first interaction point, both significantly streamlining the process later down the line and creating a better, faster and more intuitive user experience.
BEIS HR Use Cases
Blessing described the roadmap for BEIS on their Intelligent Advisor implementation programme:
- Started small with digitization of a single form, T1 Recruitment Form.
- Then automated for 4 Parental Leave policies creating digital processes that both advised on entitlement and submitted requests to Oracle EBS.
- Keep In Touch next to automate which are related to Parental Leave processes
- BEIS is changing! The automation is staying and rebranding to the relevant new departments.
What the services looked like
Blessing then gave an overview of the new digital services, describing the key features such as: dynamic sections within the form to mandate the necessary fields and collect only the information needed; intelligent approval checklist based on the job role; and the ability to down a Word or PDF version of the form, or transfer to a colleague to edit at any time.
Flavour of the feedback
T1 Recruitment Form: “The feedback is endless” says Blessing as she shows a flavour of the feedback from the T1 form which included the following.
- For myself and the recruitment team, the form has greatly improved the process and the flexibility that OIA gives us is much appreciated.
- Clear instructions and I found the form very easy to navigate. The auto feature to add a requirement to explain reasons for selections, e.g. approving official and rationale for de-selecting part-time, is a helpful simplification.
- The structure of the form seems very easy to navigate. I like the + to find out more details around certain questions - very helpful for someone who doesn't recruit often!
- Very easy to use and navigate.
- It's easy to navigate although very different from that has come before!
Blessing also shared feedback from digitising Parental Leave processes including:
- Embedded guide/FAQs helps the user know what they need to complete the forms before they start.
- Support increased accuracy rate as each policy rules are embedded in the respective forms.
- Ease of completion and requesting approval without leaving the page/forms
- Ease at pushing out any update to the form while form is live.
- Overall, easy to access and use.
UK SBS OIA story
UK Shared Business Services Ltd (UK SBS) is a trusted public sector partner of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), providing HR and Payroll, Procurement, and IT business services and specialist expertise.
Cat started her section of the presentation with context:
- Two On-Prem Oracle ERPs - one of the most complex/customized eBS installations in UK
- Minimal automation -customized Oracle flows, a few single solution APIs
- Limited sharing for a Shared Service Centre - many client specific customizations
- Manual Forms in free format (Excel, Word), little/no input validation, user & back-office re-keying
- Multiple, non-integrated Systems resulting in poor quality data & consistency
Cat then described the solutions implemented, in the UKSBS OIA journey, with 3 categories:
1. Digitization of forms.
2. Part automation of processes
3. Full automation of processes
Digitization of forms
Cat discussed how OIA was an ideal fit to replace their existing Word and Excel forms where there were defined workflows and for policy clarifications where decisions were black and white.
The OIA features that were particularly useful were field and page validations, conditionally mandatory fields, relevant contextual drop down lists and pre-populated data. This helped ensure the correct data was collected at the first interaction point and resulted in less back and forth in getting forms completed correctly.
A consistent user experience was developed by implementation of Government Digital Standards (GDS) and standardised processing, so that things look the same and always containing the same information as a minimum. Cat described how this increased quality and speed of processing.
Cat then talked about how UK SBS further built upon digitization by adding relevant integrations. This included both connection to OKTA authentication for pre-population employee and manager data, and integration to existing systems. Part automation further reduced data and input errors by loading in contextual data at the start of a process.
Getting things right the first time with automation meant: less interaction points to get the data right; quicker resolutions; meeting SLAs; requests being sent to right teams or queues upfront; and removing use of multiple processes and systems.
Cat discussed integration of such as automatically creating a ticket in E-Business Suite. By using their existing ticketing system, users can track progress in the same way they previously did, using known processes. This allowed automation of processes without a large digital change programme, as these new digital processes could fit with their existing technology.
A step further still is full automation. Here, Cat described how UK SBS removed manual processing entirely for some of their processes. Monotonous tasks were removed and the processing teams only dealt with the exceptions.
This enabled experts to concentrate on value-add, complex tasks, allowing their service to add real value and speeded up completion of requests.
There did, however, need to be sufficient efficiency gains for processes to be fully automated, therefore the return on investment was first evaluated and then it was determined whether a process would be digitized, part automated or fully automated.
What the digitization looks like
On the left is an example of an existing form and the others are examples of the newly developed forms.
Cat described how manual Excel & Word forms were transformed into digital only forms. Simple digital only finance request forms that submit a request for manual action. Use cases of partially automated forms include annual leave cancellation request, onboarding, email change request and parental leave requests.
Integration framework - OIA workflow engine
Cat described their journey and considerations of building an integration framework around OIA digital forms. It took a year in total to create all the “lego blocks” and they followed a Scaled Agile (SAFe) methodology.
Cat talked through some of the integrations and how they were implemented as part of the framework to manage access, identity, APIS and approvals.
One example Cat talked the audience through was OKTA integration to manage identity. They pull in identity data from OKTA identity system, then use OKTA data to call additional related data from other systems- e.g. Oracle E-business. Examples of loaded include:
-Line Manager hierarchy
-Annual Leave taken to-date
-Employee HR record data
-Post code lookups
Cat ended the session by talking about the agility UK SBS now enjoy with Intelligent Advisor in place as their strategic tool for digitizing forms. They are able to develop new forms within days and, with the integration framework in place, automate processes within weeks. She described that because OIA builds components using Word, Excel and a Low Code interface, it is very fast to make changes. They have the flexibility to implement changes in house, by engaging specialists at Magia, or allow business users (like BEIS HR) to maintain their own forms following training from us.
Thank you for reading our summary. There was a lot more detail discussed in the session itself. If you would like further information, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to Leona at email@example.com.