Sunday, March 24, 2013

PeopleSoft 9.2 feature review - HR Announcements

After months of analysing release value proposition documents, videos on Oracle's PeopleSoft channel and other collaterals pertaining to PeopleSoft 9.2, finally we have a 9.2 instance up and running at HRoi Consulting. With that, we will be kick-starting our detailed analysis and feature reviews of the latest version.

First up in the series is the new "HR Announcements" framework. 

In most Time and Labor/Absence Management implementations, a common operational requirement is the need to send out notifications/reminders to those having pending time/absence approvals prior to payroll processing. Without a delivered process to support this requirement, a number of customers resort to running a query to identify approvers with pending requests and send out approval reminder e-mails. In PeopleSoft 9.2, Oracle has delivered a well thought out solution for this need - the HR Announcements framework. The HR Announcements framework provides a configurable toolset for administrators to define one time or recurring announcements to targeted employee groups. Some of the other use cases for this functionality are: a. Sending out system outage/upgrade announcements. b. Sending out company wide policy announcements. c. Notification to utilise leave balance prior to end of year d. Notification to update personal data particulars etc.
This is a common utility for all HCM modules and the main features are given below:
1. Announcements can be defined as one time events or recurring.
2. If an announcement is defined as recurring, the frequency of recurrence can be selected.
3. Announcements can be sent to targeted group of employees, i.e. to all employees in a department, workgroup, T&L Dynamic group, jobcode or even system wide. In our opinion, this feature of the tool makes the framework extremely useful and flexible.
4. Annoucements can be sent out as e-mails and/or displayed in the Announcement pagelet.
5. Links and attachments can also be sent out in the Announcement.
6. An application engine called HCSC_NOTIFY processes the announcements setup.
7. Announcements can be viewed by employees using the Announcement pagelet.

Let us take a system walk-through of configuring a recurring announcement to approve timesheets on a weekly basis. 

Step1 - Navigate to the Setup Page:
Navigate to Setup HCM > Common Definitions 
> HR Notification > HR Notification 

Step2 - Create an HR Announcement definition:

While setting up an HR Announcement/Notification, you have the option to specifiy:
a. The Delivery Method - It can either be Announcement and/or Email Notification. If Announcement is selected, the notification will be displayed in the Announcement pagelet in ESS/MSS.

b. Recipient(s) - The recipients of the announcement can be selected by clicking on the prompt button to the left of the 'To' text box. There are a number of recipient types that are pre-delivered as shown below:
c. Advanced Options - There is a button called Advanced Options in the recurrence setup page. Clicking on this button will give you options to setup the recurrence definition of this announcement.
d. Links and Attachments: Links and attachments can be added to the announcement setup as well. This is useful to provide employees with an actionable or informational link related to the announcement. In our example, we have given a link to the Approve Payable time page.

e. Subject and Message details: The subject of the announcement and the message details can be entered. The message detail will be the main text that will be shown to the employees. While subject is optional, message body is a required field. I have noticed that it helps to give a meaningful subject as well as the subject is initially displayed in the Announcement pagelet and the message is displayed only in a detailed page.

Step3 - Send/Schedule Announcements
Click on the "Send" link that is available in the setup page to immediately send out the Announcement. For processing recurring announcements, the application engine HCSC_NOTIFY can be scheduled. The run control page for this process is available under the same folder as the setup page.

Step4 - View Announcements in Self Service:
Announcements are displayed in self service in the 'Announcements' pagelet as shown below:

As shown in the screenshot, the announcement for Timesheet approval reminder is present in the announcements pagelet. Notice that only one of the announcements in the pagelet is deletable. This is controlled at the announcement setup level. On clicking the link on the announcement subject, the user will be directed to a detailed page where the message details of the announcement will be shown. 
Overall, we believe that the HR Announcements/Notification framework of 9.2 will be beneficial for most customers, especially considering the configurability of the framework. 

Looking for more 9.2 feature reviews? Click here.

Have questions or want to discuss on this further?
We have a dedicated HR Tech lab researching the new features of 9.2 as well as developing innovative solutions utilising 9.2/8.53 features. If you want to discuss further on this new feature or on 9.2 in general, mail into

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