Oracle CEO touts progress in human capital management software

Mark Hurd cites cloud growth but acknowledges service problems with Taleo recruitment software.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. -- Oracle CEO Mark Hurd called human capital management software vital to the company’s success over the next decade while acknowledging service problems with its Taleo recruitment software.

Speaking to reporters and analysts at the Oracle HCM World conference just outside Washington, D.C., Hurd described the role of human capital management software in the broader competition for market share with vendors such as SAP and Workday. He said it is extremely important that Oracle be early with human capital management software, stay riveted on it and get it right.

“This movement to HCM is extremely strategic to us,” Hurd said. “I want customers to know because it is important to us.” He said he wants to dispel questions from customers about whether human capital management software might be just a hobby to a huge company like Oracle.

Hurd said many companies are more willing to consider moving human capital management software to the cloud because the HR function is not seen as critical to a company’s mission.

“The reason I think HCM is so important is that historically HR has been the least served function in most companies. They typically fall behind. Why? The CEO is riveted around revenue growth. If the CEO has revenue growth, the CEO typically survives. If the CEO doesn’t have revenue growth, the CEO doesn’t survive.”

Taleo UI, integration work remain

Hurd said Oracle “inherited certain things” when it purchased Taleo in early 2012. “We are all-in on the execution,” he said, answering a question about service problems with Taleo. And while customer satisfaction with Oracle’s cloud offerings is high, there are still some issues, he said, given a broad user base with differing expectations. “We’re trying to get Taleo to a common user interface, do more integration at the workflow level, do more integration at the data structure level,” he said.

Hurd gave one of the keynote addresses at the second annual conference, a three-day event at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center that included panels on such issues as analytics and talent management.

He said the conference underscores the company’s commitment to cloud human capital management software, a category that saw significant growth in the quarter that ended in February. Oracle figures show a gain of 800 software-as-a-service customers, with 220 in human capital management software.

Hurd often harshly criticized rival SAP but said its purchase of cloud HR software SuccessFactors made strategic sense.

He took a swipe at SAP for last year’s $8.3 billion purchase of Concur, which offers expense management in the cloud.

“I don’t know,” Hurd said. “I have nothing against Concur but spending [$8.3 billion] to get expense statements in midmarket doesn’t feel that strategic to me. We could buy a Dairy Queen or a Wendy’s. It doesn’t feel that strategic.”

Hurd said it took Oracle seven years to develop its first human capital management software in the cloud.

“We are committed end to end because of the implication it has on the broader ecosystem. This is not a sprint. We want to win today but we are in it for the long run. This is probably a decade-long run.”

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