For those of you Taleoites who may have missed this year’s OHUG conference in Orlando, FL, there were a few things of note. Firstly, Taleo is now Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud (OTAC) – that’s quite a mouthful coming from such a quippy short name, but the bigger news and the purpose of this article, are the upcoming product roadmap changes.
I’ve been working with OTAC in some form for over 16 years, and during that time, the last major overhaul we saw of the recruiting center was Taleo 10, seven years ago. So I am really excited about what the latest roadmap has promised regarding a fully mobile experience for users. Now you may be thinking, that already existed. Ah ha, but this is for ALL users. The prior mobile experiences were for the hiring manager (HM) available via the HCM Cloud app (formerly Oracle Tap), and for candidates via the mobile career sections. But now, after a long wait, OTAC has teased that full Recruiter capability will soon arrive.
As with all their roadmaps, there is a safe harbor statement and no commitments to either a specific feature or the timing of the release, but they did say that the changes would be multi-phased, with some coming as soon as year end 2017.
So, what exactly is the big news? OTAC unveiled during its “Modernizing Your Talent Acquisition Experience” session a new User Experience Design (UX) that was mobile-responsive and targets HMs, Recruiters, and Candidates. We noticed they specifically said, “UX,” not “UI.” The historic Taleo changes were always labeled “UI” or “GUI,” but now OTAC is focused on the UX. The last time we saw a significant GUI change (that felt like a UX change) was when they went from version 7.5 to 10 where the entire look and feel, colors, and configuration options for Recruiting were changed; though the Career Section stayed the same.
So what’s the difference between a UI and a UX? Wikipedia defines UX as “User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product. User experience design encompasses traditional human–computer interaction (HCI) design, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by users.”
Rahul Varshney, Co-creator of Foster.fm, used this analogy “User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.” 
What does all of this mean for you? The OTAC roadmap said the following should be occurring over the next few years, though no time definition was presented:
- Better, more customized user experiences
- Candidates will have “engaging and intuitive” experiences. If OTAC can get a more intuitive candidate experience, sign me up. That’s one of the big areas the tool is lacking today – if you have mandatory fields, everyone has to answer them. Wouldn’t it be great if OTAC could present fields intuitively depending on candidate response?
- For managers, it will be “simple and fast,”
- For Recruiters “powerful and efficient.” Here’s hoping that “efficient” means less clicking.
- The career section will undergo a well-needed update to include full mobile capability, landing pages, better branding options, content blocks some of which will be customizable. And for global customers, new languages, browser language detection, and custom content will be multi-lingual.
- Hiring Managers – for standalone and HCM Suite Customers on TEE 15B, this now works on iOS and Android Devices (tablets and phones). This was already in play, but additional features are now available for the HM.
- Focused on key Hiring Manager Tasks such as viewing Reqs, Offers, Submissions and Evaluations
- Transactions such as Approve Reqs & Offers, Disposition Candidates, Add Comments, Complete Interview, Evaluations, Compare shortlisted candidates
- Create a Simplified Experience, with the ability to Efficiently Complete Tasks and Reduce Time to Hire
- For the Recruiter, the functionality will be rolled out in multi-year phases, with the primary changes being:
- Non – flash platform: This is a big deal as Flash has arguably been dying (or died depending on who you talk to) and has been a challenge for many clients because it was unsupported by browsers, with Google being one of the first. This made it difficult for some customers to access OTAC content. Additionally, there have been industry rumblings that the Flash Player may have security risks .
- Carousels allow multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, coveted space. Imagine the current real estate in OTAC where you must scroll up down and left to right to see all your data – this would be minimized, possibly even eliminated depending on what OTAC does. Carousels and conditional element displays could be more effective for some users, especially those who are more graphically oriented. However, for users who prefer a more list-oriented view, this change may not be desired.
- Improved usability: A neat little feature that I am looking forward to is the system’s ability to track where you left off on a candidate submission. Today, when you navigate from the candidate file to other screens/tasks, if you return to the candidate file, you must manually re-find your last location (think lots of scrolling and remembering.) But, the future promises that your last location will be highlighted in some way.
- Mobile & Accessible: HMs and Candidates currently have mobile experiences, but there has been a big gap for Recruiters. Because Recruiters do most of the complex work in OTAC, it was difficult for OTAC to find an elegant way to enhance that experience on the current infrastructure. Now, that dream appears to be finally here. This is a BIG win – imagine the possibilities, especially for those recruiters who are onsite at job fairs, or traveling frequently. Per OTAC, Recruiters will be able to view reqs and candidate submissions, see submission summaries to help quickly process info, have quick/high visibility actions for commonly used actions like email or CSW movement, quickly view and process applications, resume previews, all while maintaining existing user permissions/roles and coverage areas, and with 34 supported languages.
- Extensible: Generally, extensible means customers could build their own UI elements or port the Oracle UI elements into other apps, but OTAC was slim on details, so I am not sure what capabilities will actually exist here. This could have some exciting possibilities.
- Users can adopt the new UX when they want to: This part has me scratching my head a bit, as I am unsure why anyone would NOT adopt the new UX, assuming it looks and works as awesome as it sounds. However, OTAC is giving clients the ability to use both the old UI (let’s call it Taleo) and the new UX (let’s call it OTAC) simultaneously. This may be a good option for a client who has both exempt and high-volume hiring – they could use the new OTAC for exempt, and keep Taleo for high. Either way, if you use both, there will be a different link to access OTAC, possibly residing on the Table of Contents page. OTAC would require some configuration changes to adopt, as I would imagine user permissions and configuration profile changes may be needed. And if you use any deep linking or SSO, those would need to be updated. Lastly, clients would need to consider their support strategy since those teams would now have two different “systems” to maintain and troubleshoot.