Friday, March 13, 2009

Experiences in T&L-Absence Management Integration

It's always exciting to work on cross module assignments and this post details some of the learnings I've had piloting the T&L-AM integration for my present organisation.

The integration of T&L and AM can be again divided into two distinct categories - integration with NA Payroll as the pay system and integration with GP as the pay system. One of the biggest drawbacks we found with the delivered integration is that it doesn't work if you've decided to use PI (Payroll Interface) as your pay system. This was a problem as we were not using Global Payroll and an initial design decision was made to use Payroll Interface as the pay system of all employees in job data. We had to reverse this decision and forcefully use GP as the pay system in job to ensure that we could leverage the delivered integration between AM and T&L.

The purpose of integrating these two modules is two folds:
  • Bring AM data into T&L and display the same on the timesheet.
  • Feed the absence data to NA Payroll through Time and Labor.
With 9.0, absences can be reported in the timesheet itself and is a major enhancement, but this post is about versions lower than 9.0.
There are some limitations with the display of absences on the timesheet. Absences will not be loaded on the timesheet grid, so a user cannot see an absence TRC on the timesheet grid per se. Just a greyed out row with a reported status of approved and the number of hours of absence will appear on the timesheet. This can be pretty confusing and sometimes even useless for the users. Absences are shown in the grid called 'Reported Hours Summary' that is just below the timesheet. But if it's the punch timesheet page, only the time reporting category is displayed here. This is where the TRC Category which was introduced in 8.9 plays an important part. If one creates appropriate TRC Categories for each category of absence and link the category to an absence TRC, the data appearing on this grid can be useful for the users.
Another limitation with the integration of the two modules with NA Payroll as the pay system is that the integration program can be run only for finalised AM calendar groups. This is a significant limitation as the users will be able to see the absence data on the timesheet only after a calendar is finalised which happens at the end of a period. To overcome this limitation, we had to customise the process to enable it to run for any absence calendar that is open.
On the other hand, the integration with GP as the paygroup can happen after a manager approves an absence and need not even wait till the absence calculation is run. This means that the data that is seen in T&L can be inaccurate and incomplete.
We faced interesting challenges while designing the payroll interface (custom interface to local payrolls) in taking T&L and Absence data because of the above design. There was no way we could take the entire 'payable data' from time and labor though it contained the absence data too. This was because the absence data in time and labor was inaccurate and incomplete. This necessitated the design of two interface programs - one to take T&L data from the TL_PAYABLE_TIME table and another to take AM data from GP_PI_GEN_DATA table.
Also note that any system that has the integration of these two modules will have to closely tie any setup change to one module with the other. For example, any change to the absence code setup or the creation of a new absence code etc. will require similar actions on the T&L TRC end too.

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