Friday, March 16, 2012

Microsoft Outlook integration for Absence Management in PeopleSoft 9.2: Update

In a previous post, we had talked about the integration that Oracle will be providing to Microsoft Outlook from PeopleSoft Absence Management. We had mused upon the level of integration that Oracle will provide for this feature. If a sneak peek we got has it right, Oracle has designed a bi-directional integration between Absence Management and Microsoft Outlook. This feature is bringing in the functionality to request absences from....hold your breath - Microsoft Outlook!! Now, that is one of the best functionalities I've seen in PeopleSoft Time and Attendance over the last few releases (the integration of Absence requests in Time and Labor and integration to OWS would ofcourse top my list!). Oracle would be delivering an add-in to MicroSoft outlook with fields similar to the Absence Request page in PeopleSoft, from where you can directly request for an absence.
Seeing is believing for me and I would really wait to see this in action before being excited about this functionality. There are a lot of scenarios that this integration would have to cover like:
1. Absence edit/cancel functionalities: Will we have these features in the Outlook version and will they be synchronised with what exists in the Absence Request History page?
2. Will it be possible to adjust the absence dates by simply moving the absence event in the Outlook calendar?
3. Will forecasting be supported in the Outlook add-in?
4. Will user fields be supported in the Outlook add-in?
5. Will there be support to report half day/partial hour leaves? Will there be support for a true start time/end time based absence reporting which is supported by Outlook? (Oracle Absence Management product managers - it is extremely imperative to have an absence management system where employees can report accurate Start and End time. This is a pretty common requirement outside USA and has implications to payroll calculations in many countries. It is a pity that PeopleSoft doesn't support this and defends by saying that Absence Management is not a punch time based system!)
6. Is there integration from Absence Event page to an employee's Outlook or is it only supported for self service based leaves?
7. Are translations supported in the Outlook add-in?
8. If a customisation is done to some of the fields in the Absence Request page in PeopleSoft, how will that affect the Outlook add-in?

One of the main reasons why I am upbeat about this functionality is because it brings enterprise functions to the desktops/tablets - which is the way to go. The fact that you can carry out enterprise transactions through desktop applications is greatly enabling for an employee and in turn the organisation. Another major advantage of this feature will be the ability to present a team calendar of absences. With absence events coming over to Outlook Calendar, employees can easily look up the planned absences of their colleagues, which is a commonly requested functionality during implementations.
Note to customers when you implement this functionality:
Ensure that you run through all possible use cases of Absence reporting to ensure that this add-on covers all valid business cases. Also look at how you would be keeping the ESS Absence Request functionality in sync with the Outlook add-in features.

This post is authored by HRoi Consulting - The PeopleSoft Time and Attendance Experts. Email us at to see how you can leverage ROI on your PeopleSoft Time and Attendance investments.

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