The consumerization of IT has been the rallying cry of enterprises — or rather their workers — for some time now.
Long-gone are the tedious client-server applications with dull user interfaces. In their place are cloud-based apps with streamlined portal designs and news feeds that unabashedly have taken a page from Facebook. Another sign of this revolution? Apple's products are making steady inroads into the enterprise and even government sector.
And now so it goes for workforce training.
Oracle has unveiled its latest app at Oracle HCM World called Oracle Learning Cloud, part of Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud. It has been designed so that employees can learn contextually and socially wherever they are located.
To adapt and succeed in today’s digital workforce, HR and business leaders need to simplify the employee experience. They further need to "enable connections anywhere and via any device, personalize information and communicate it in a way that is relevant for their job, and create a culture where employees want to share their knowledge and encourage them to engage with each other in new and creative ways," Chris Leone, senior vice president, Oracle HCM Development, noted in a statement.
Then he referenced the all-important concept of IT consumerization.
The new Oracle Learning Cloud helps companies provide employees with a consumer-like experience to help retain and develop the talent they need to be successful, he boasted.
Oracle claims its approach is different from the methods typical in traditional learning management systems. Traditionally, these systems are prescriptive, usually delivering information in a silo. They aren't integrated into the core HR, talent management and social platforms.
Oracle Learning Cloud, by contrast, focuses on curated and referral-based learning, allowing management and HR to source content from a wide array of places, including internal documents or external links, YouTube and even the Massive Open Online Courses.
Employees can share and collaborate on best practices. They can also develop their credibility as subject matter experts within the company by creating valuable content and then promoting with social recommendations and discovery.
The app also features a recommendation engine that makes personalized learning recommendations based on more than 100 person, job, and enterprise attributes.
The tech infrastructure is also designed for a modern "consumerized" workforce, supporting transcoding and bit-rate adaptive stream – such as seen with YouTube and Netflix -- so that employees can publish and read the content from any device, using 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi.
Not that Oracle Cloud has abandoned all semblance of corporate tradition. The app also includes the compliance and administration features of traditional learning management systems, the company says.
Oracle is hardly the only company taking a new approach to workforce training apps. Companies are recognizing that the traditional applications were not designed to work with modern work and office processes and practices and are trying out new tactics, such as gamification. This technique is common in sales and is now making its way into human resource training applications.
But such efforts have largely been among lower tier companies. Oracle's presence in the HR software market is immense and its move in this direction will likely ripple throughout the industry.