Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Identifying forecasting run in an Absence Management formula

It is a common requirement to apply different entitlement rules during forecasting,  in comparison to the entitlement rules that need to be applied during the actual absence calculations. This requires a method to identify whether a certain formula is being invoked by the forecasting process or not. Use the "TXN ID" or "TXN RSLT OPTN" system variables to identify whether the run is a forecasting run or not. These system elements are available only during forecasting and their values can be effectively used in this scenario.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The big news: SAP to acquire SuccessFactors

This is one heck of a merger - SAP to acquire SuccessFactors. With one single move, SAP has moved as a strong vendor in the cloud based HCM market. Follow the news here:

One of the most exciting piece of news I've read in the HCM space of late. This just goes on to highlight the importance people are placing on HCM software and more importantly, the technical shift that is happening in the market at present. Another strong indicator of a cloud based future for HCM software. Really interested in the move by Oracle now! Will they stick on with Fusion alone or go ahead to 'fuse' with another HCM cloud vendor in the market? Workday may be?!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

ERP Flashcards - Time and Labor Tables

Use these flash cards to familiarize yourself with the most important tables in PeopleSoft Time and Labor and to revise what you have learnt!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PeopleSoft HCM Fundamental Tables - Flash Cards

Presenting easy to use flash cards for revising the most important list of tables in PeopleSoft Workforce Administration

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ERP Movies: Episode II - Time and Labor setup fundamentals.

Andrea helps Jim understand the basic setup architecture of Time and Labor. She does so by introducing a generic setup framework of Time and Pay modules in PeopleSoft.

This 214 seconds long video, is intended as the very first introduction to setting up Time and Labor. This is targeted at PeopleSoft functional and technical consultants who want to start learning Time and Labor. Don't miss the quiz at the end of this post!

Take a short quiz based on the movie and see if it was time well spent!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ERP Movies: Episode I - The Right Choice

Join Peter as he helps Rachel select the right PeopleSoft modules for her company's Time and Attendance requirements. An introduction to the business scope of Time and Labor, targeted at HRIS leaders who are quizzing on implementing a Time and Attendance system in PeopleSoft. Watch on YouTube here

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

GPS for office navigation and potential for location based services in the workplace

How many times have you got lost in your office looking for an obscurely named conference room? How many times have you gone in a maze trying to locate the work cubicle of a colleague? Wouldn't it be great if the ever-helpful GPS navigation systems were extended to our offices as well? What I am envisaging is a mobile based navigation app that would help employees find their way through in an office. Well, it would also perfectly fit into the 'social/mobile' dimension that HCM applications are moving towards. Expanding on the idea, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have features of common location based services in this app. For example, the employee could indicate that he/she is in a meeting by 'checking in' to a meeting room. Stretching the idea a bit further - would be great if the mobile phone automatically switches to 'meeting mode' when the person checks into a meeting room and switches back to normal mode when the meeting ends (this would possibly require an integration with the mail client so that the meeting details can be extracted by the app).

Gartner identifies App Stores as one of the strategic technologies for 2012

An enterprise App Store for PeopleSoft is a topic I have discussed many times in this blog before. The hidden potential of that idea hit me again when I was reading the list of strategic technologies for 2012 published by Gartner. You can read the complete list here. An excerpt from the report is given below:
"Gartner forecasts that by 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads from app stores every year. This will grow from a consumer-only phenomena to an enterprise focus. With enterprise app stores, the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support entrepreneurs"
With mobile/tablet based applications becoming ubiquitous, there is no doubt in my mind that the timing is just right for an App Store dedicated to PeopleSoft applications. Considering the strong partnership Workday has with Salesforce.com, it would not be a surprise if a Workday App Store is launched soon.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Outside the walls of the ERP implementation team

"Sorry, I do not do these transactions. Can you get it done by my assistant?"

If an ERP rollout went smooth, but the culture of the organization did not change - do you declare the project a success or a failure?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

T&L New Features: Templates Made Available

Oracle is rolling out the feature to create new Time and Labor rule templates as part of PeopleSoft HCM9.1 Feature Pack 2. PeopleSoft Time and Labor has a number of delivered rule templates that allow business users/functional consultants to create time related rules with minimum effort. One limitation of this feature was that it was never possible to create user defined templates which could be reused (Do not confuse this with the ability to create new rules. T&L has robust tools that can be used to create custom time and labor rules). Dubbed as "Templates Made Available", the new features allows the creation of new rule templates. Significant technical effort is required though in create a new template, including creation of a new record/page which will be used as the template's UI as well as additions to the TL_RULETEMPLATES application package. One real good enhancement I saw was the flexibility to use a number of Application Engine actions while define the steps of a rule. Earlier, we were constrained by the use of only SQL while creating a rule, but now actions like Do Select, Do While etc. are supported by the Templates Made Available Framework.
This is a great feature from the point of view of a consultant/consulting organization - this tool can be used to create re-usable templates which can be used to enhance the service offering as well as reduce the time of implementation. Visionary organizations should be creating templates for common Time and Labor rule requirements that are not catered by the delivered templates and should make it part of their service offering.
But, from the point of view of a customer and general product strategy, I am really looking forward to better features from Oracle for Time and Labor.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sneak peek into Fusion HCM

Got to attend a Fusion HCM demo couple of days back and I have to say that I was left extremely impressed with the features on offer. Here are some of the points that struck me, which I feel will go a long way in establishing Fusion as a strong contender in the HCM marketplace:
1. Excellent inbuilt and graphical analytics including predictive analytics with a first of its kind module called Workforce Predictions.
2. A wide variety of hosting options including on-premise, public cloud, private cloud etc.
3. Excellent User Interfaces and integrated web2.0 features. As we all know, the fusion team has put a lot of research and emphasis on the UI and it really looks very impressive.
4. Plug and use compatibility with other Oracle HRMS suites like PeopleSoft, e-biz, JD Edwards etc.
5. The various modules seemed to be integrated with respect to analytics and presentation rather than being individual silos - thus giving organizations a comprehensive view of it's people.

All in all, the features on display in the demo (need to put the disclaimer that it was just a prepared demo!) were extremely impressive and somehow I feel that Fusion HCM is going to make a sizeable dent in the HCM market space.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

PeopleSoft App Store: Expanding the idea

I had talked about the idea of a PeopleSoft app store in two previous posts. You can find them here and here. I went on to expand the idea a bit on the prodding of Ryan Martiny of iResume. Some key areas from the thesis is presented below. The below details represent my intellectual property and anyone wanting to quote this or expand on this can do so after consulting with me.

We already have proven and working models around us with regards to an App Store, so my ideas around this is nothing radical. The basic concept would mirror the already existing App Stores, in the sense that it will serve as an online marketplace, providing a common platform for developers and customers to interact. But considering that PeopleSoft is an on-premise enterprise software, we will need to tailor the App Store to best suit the requirements of PeopleSoft customers as well as to come up with a delivery model that will be ideal for an enterprise software.
As I look at it, there can be 3 distinct categories of content that can go in this store: (a) Apps (b) Database scripts (c) Books/Training guides/Red papers etc. Delivery of this content will vary depending on the nature of the content. For example, database scripts and content like books etc. can be directly downloaded from the app store. But, it will be interesting to think how best to deliver the apps themselves. I foresee that the installation of a lot of apps will require an impact analysis from customer to customer and this presents us with two options. One option is to let the customer download the app directly from the store and the customer itself takes up the impact analysis and installation of the app. In this case, the app store nor the developer(s) of the app would provide any ongoing support and the customer would acknowledge that they will be downloading and managing the app at their own responsibility. The second option is to let the customer download the app from the store, but leave the impact analysis and installation to the developer(s). In this case, the customer would be provided with the contact details of the developer(s) such that the two parties can interact for further installation and support. The app store will house all items required for the installation of an app, i.e. PeopleSoft project, DMS scripts, all necessary documentation, any necessary installation guides etc. Any app purchased through the app store will have to be downloaded from the app store itself and it will be illegal for participating developers/development houses to directly deliver the installation package of an app to the customer.

Posting content in the store
Considering the nature of software we are dealing with, it will be required to enforce strict quality control on the software that will be posted in the store. The credibility of the developer is extremely important in this case as it will be required for those who generate the content to provide on going support to customers. Considering all these factors, only those developers/development houses that pass certain criteria will be allowed to post content in the app store. Any content that is posted in the app store will have to go through a review process and has to be supported by all necessary documentation like functional design document, technical design document, installation guide, installation objects like project, DMS scripts etc. and detailed test cases. Minimum coding standards will also have to be maintained. Only those developers/development houses that can adhere to these restrictions will be able to post content in the store.

The following categories can be provided in the app store. Each app posted in the store can be put under these general categories and customers will be able to search for apps under these categories:
1. HCM 2. FSCM 3. CRM 4. Campus Solutions 5. Security 6. Reporting 7. Integration 8. Portal 9. Mobile Apps 10. Upgrade

General website features:
The following general features can be provided in the app store:
1. Utility to rate an app by customers.
2. Utility to ask for peer customer feedback on a certain app.
3. Feature to share an app with a friend.
4. Feature for customers to suggest apps that they would like to have.
5. Feature to compare apps so that customers can compare apps with similar functionality for price, customer rating, number of times downloaded etc.
6. Utility to find an app that the customer wants. This can be done by a series of questions which the customer can answer and at the end of the process will be presented with a list of apps that suit their requirement.
7. List of top rated developers/development houses.
8. App of the week.
9. Regional focus - I think it will be great to have apps that have local/regional focus and even apps that cater to local language. This will greatly enhance the attractiveness and compatibility of apps to customers.

All of this can be supplemented by having offline conclaves of developers, providing an app challenge etc. that should help foster the developer community.

Revenue sources:
A percentage of sales of each app can be withheld by the app store management. Relative pricing should be adopted. That is, the fee withheld will vary with the price of the app - with lesser fee being taken for cheaper apps and more for costlier apps.
A flat fee can be charged to qualify as an app store certified developer/development house.
Ads of development houses can be put on the web or if this might dilute the usability/branding of the store, a separate section/link can be provided where featured companies/products can be displayed. This is more like a pure advertising page of PeopleSoft companies/products.  Sure that there will be takers for this as the app store will generate good amount of traffic.
Developer platform - independent developers who do not have sufficient support/infrastructure to qualify as a certified development house could be provided a platform/environment for developing apps. The store will retain a higher percentage of the sales proceedings of such developers.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random Idea: Using Wikis for project documentation

Disclaimer: The idea being detailed below is not new and I am sure is in practice in a number of organizations, but documenting it as I am yet to come across companies that have used this.

I strongly feel that it would be great to adopt wikis as the primary medium of project documentation, especially when it comes to support/maintenance projects. The features and convenience offered by a wiki product is much more and superior to the conventional practice of using word processing documents as the documentation media and a content management site like sharepoint as the central documentation repository. The major advantages of using a wiki are:
1. Easier access (or discovery) to documentation as a wiki is web based and no need for users to remember folder navigations and file names.
2. Easier editing and maintenance.
3. Pages can be logically linked to each other - this is the biggest advantage that I see. The major drawback I experience with traditional documentation is that one document does not link to another and it doesn't provide a continuous reading experience. In a wiki, linking of interconnected documents/pages is possible and this will lead to a far improved user experience.
4. Tagging would be possible in wikis.
5. Wikis are much 'lighter' than traditional documents and would take up much lesser storage space.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Q&A: Creating default payable time for exception time reporters

Q: "I have some question on the setup of the exception time handling. Our req is to default the hours for all salaried employees and only report their vacation and sick days. We used the WorkGroup and setup a schedule and defaulted the hours. And ran the time admin process..Is there something we are missing. can you please throw some light"

A: "You are missing a rule in your rule program to default all hours to a particular TRC. When you setup Exception time reporters and assign an Elapsed schedule to them (or to the workgroup), Time Admin will generate the hours, but there will be no TRC attached to it. Unless there is a TRC for the rows in IPT1, Time Admin will not generate payable time.
Use the delivered Default Hours rule template to create a rule to default all hours without a TRC to a particular TRC and add this rule to the rule program of the workgroup"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DMS script to export T&L rules

 Time and Labor rules can be moved from one environment to the other using DMS scripts. Oracle support site has a complete DMS script listed for the same purpose. For quick reference I am documenting here the list of scripts that I commonly run to migrate rules. Do remember to append necessary 'WHERE' conditions for each statement.


Note: In version 9.1 PeopleSoft has come up with a utility to export and import rules between environments. Using that will eliminate the need to remember and manually execute the above mentioned DMS scripts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Idea: A Facebook 'Like' or 'Share' on PeopleSoft pages

The 'Facebook share' and 'like' buttons are commonplace in most websites today. I think it will be a wonderful idea to have this feature in some of the PeopleSoft pages, especially the candidate facing pages in Recruitment. This will allow candidates to share the job postings on their Facebook/Twitter profile and should help spread the word!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Absence Management Forecasting Errors

Errors received during Absence Management forecasting process can be confusing. Utilizing this post to note some of the errors and resolution for future reference. Will keep adding to this list. Do leave a comment if you want to contribute to this post!Peoplebooks has a section on these errors, but the cause of the issue is not correctly/completely documented in most cases.

477 - No Absence event present error. Check the forecasting template and ensure that a workflow status of 'Saved' is part of the forecasting template.

480 - This error is mostly caused by an issue in the setup. Revisit especially your process list setup to ensure that all elements are present in the process list and that all formulas are validated.

487 - This issue has been resolved by adding a finalized calendar to the forecasting calendar group with a period that starts before all possible retro start dates.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

ERP App Store - The Salesforce.com story

I had mooted the idea of having an app store for PeopleSoft modeled in the lines of the apple app store. Questions were raised whether this is a practical idea and how customers would evaluate third party products and plug in applications to their existing PeopleSoft installations. Valid questions all. But, it turns out that we already have a perfect and successful example of an enterprise app store, that run by salesforce.com. You can find the details here - http://appexchange.salesforce.com/home
This is a working model from which one can take a lot of ideas. As I had mentioned in my earlier post, they have used web2.0 features like community rating and all applications come with details on live as well as offline support.
Let me re-emphasize my underlying conviction about this idea - customers badly need innovative, productivity enhancing, pre-built tools to aid their existing PeopleSoft installations. There is a real need for this (there are very few companies like Grey Sparling, SmartERP etc. who have exploited this need and I am sure that they are doing extremely well! Succeed Consultancy in the UK is another organization I have seen having some innovative tools, but not sure if they have commercialized any of them). Such an eco-system of the product and independent developers is required for products to grow and offer exceptional features to customers. I really hope that some company that has the resources to make this happen would take up this idea and make it a reality!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Integrating inclement weather prediction in Time and Attendance applications

Caution: The below post is the result of some runaway thoughts on a nice sunny Friday evening, you might want to plug your ears because I am about to think out LOUD here!

The weather has been particularly unpredictable and surprising in 2010-2011. We've seen devastating floods in Australia and extreme winters in Europe. My question is, what are companies doing pro-actively to prepare for inclement weather from a workforce management perspective? It goes without saying that inclement weather has a direct impact on the ability of employees to turn up for work - this in turn results in unplanned absenteeism, late arrival at work, early departure from work and lost productivity. So the ability to effectively manage workforce during an event of inclement weather is an important one. More so with the extreme unpredictability of weather conditions that we have been seeing over the last few years.
I have rarely seen an organization having a clear inclement weather policy, so do they have any tools that help them manage this? (Working remotely seems to be a perfect solution, but unfortunately this will not work for all industries).
My premise is that, this is an area that has great impact on workforce management and the workforce management tools should be able to aid supervisors plan their workforce in case of unfavorable weather. So what am I hinting at? My thoughts are that it would be great to have real time weather forecasts integrated with the workforce management suite (especially for locations that are prone to unpredictable weather) and alert supervisors when there is a warning of inclement weather. Here are some features that I would love to see in the WFM products:

1. Ability to integrate with weather forecasting information.
2. Ability to look at historical trends on weather and it's potential impact on workforce planning.
3. Ability to alert in case of potential inclement weather.
4. Identify employees at risk due to inclement weather. This is a tricky part as the ability of an employee to attend work in the event of unfavourable weather conditions depend greatly on the location where the employee stays (what if the weather is going to turn bad for the place where the employee stays rather than the actual work location?), distance the employee has to commute and means of commute.
5. Ability to plan and generate schedule for days with inclement weather.
6. Ability to integrate with the Leave Management/Time and Attendance systems if required to support any inclement weather policies of the organization.
7. Ability to alert employees regarding the change in schedule.

I am sure that the dollar value of lost productivity due to inclement weather is high enough to justify the adoption of formal workforce management strategies/tools to manage this ever increasing unpredictable phenomenon.

The 100th post: Look at the LinkedIn discussion on PeopleSoft future

A highly opinionated discussion has been raging over the last 8 months in the PeopleSoft Community group on LinkedIn on the future of PeopleSoft. You can find the details here. It's an excellent read for all PeopleSoft consultants/organizations invested in/planning to invest in PeopleSoft. I hope you enjoy reading that!
My personal opinion on the subject: The question posed is 'Is PeopleSoft Alive and kicking' and to answer that by looking at the market at this point of time, the only answer is yes. The adoption rate of PeopleSoft version 9.1 amongst customers has been phenomenal (a lot of die hard skeptics have raised the point that there are no new PS9.1 implementations, but just upgrades. This is absolutely not true) and the product is very much alive and kicking today. But, if you were to ask me about the projected future of PeopleSoft, I am convinced that the product will surely lose ground to other progressive products in the years to come. There are a number of reasons for my inference:

1. It will be impossible for Oracle to continue focusing on multiple product lines. The stated strategy of Oracle is to converge towards one single product - Fusion and this will surely mean that funding and focus on other products like PeopleSoft will surely go down. I am sure that Oracle will continue to support customers who are already on PeopleSoft long after Fusion comes out, as maintainance fees represent a healthy part of Oracle's revenue pie.

2. If you follow industry thought leaders like Naomi Bloom, it is very evident that the entire HCM product architecture/code base/data model is undergoing a complete overhaul. I do not think that it will be possible for PeopleSoft to shrug off it's entire product architecture and move towards the new HCM product model - that would be akin to developing a completely new product. This would put the product out of favour with potential customers, who I am sure would prefer the new age HCM suites rather than PeopleSoft.

3. With better integration technologies, organizations are moving towards picking the best vendor for each area of business and integrating data across the various enterprise systems. Given this, we might very well see the disintegration of one vendor providing complete HCM end to end solutions and move towards a model where niche vendors handle their areas of expertise. This would mean that companies that are agile, innovative, fliexible and specialized will gain edge in the future. I am not convinced that PeopleSoft would fit this bill.

Well, these are purely my personal thoughts, but I hope you read the LinkedIn post to gain more insights on this topic.

PeopleSoft Time and Labor/Absence Management Pagelets

Want to take a minute and introduce to you some very powerful delivered pagelets related to Time and Labor and Absence Management. These pagelets bring together actionable T&L and AM data to a single page and it's generally very well received by customers.

1. Workforce Availability Pagelet: The workforce availability pagelet is ideal for organizations that rely heavily on scheduling, time clocking and require a real time snapshot of the availability of employees on the work floor. It takes data from schedules, time and labor, absence management and even the training information interfaced from PeopleSoft ELM. The best part of this pagelet is that it directly queries the respective transaction tables and thus real time information is displayed. For example, if an employee punches in PeopleSoft Time and Labor, the 'Currently Clocked In' row will get updated. So, it's a pretty useful source of real time Time and Attendance information for shift managers. A sample screen is shown below:

2. Time Management Alerts pagelet: This one is a must have for any T&L/Absence Management implementation. This pagelet displays any pending approval that is required from a manager and is a great addition on the manager's portal homepage. Note that I have found an issue with this pagelet related to the 'Absence Approval Required' field in version 9.1/tools 8.50. The alert for the absence approval gets turned on only after an absence is approved!! I hope there is a fix coming for that sometime soon. But overall it's a very useful pagelet that consolidates approval information from both T&L and AM. A sample screen of this pagelet is shown below:

Note that these pagelets are configurable and fields that are not used/required can be hidden using a configuration page available that lets supervisors turn off rows that are not required.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dynamic Groups in T&L: Going beyond direct reports security

In a post sometime ago, I had made a blatant statement that the utility of Dynamic Groups in Time and Labor was reduced by the introduction of a flexible core HR row level security definition as well as the adoption of AWE in version 9.1. As I have been making some analysis on my current assignment, it has become clear to me that my initial analysis was premature! I had always wondered why Time and Labor adopted a security structure that was way different from all other modules in PeopleSoft HCM. While most modules have gone towards adopting the direct reports functionality for Manager Self Service pages, Time and Labor stuck to it's ground using core row level security and T&L dynamic groups. What could have been the rationale behind this design of the product and why does T&L still use Dynamic Group security when no other module in HCM uses the same? The answer could lie in the fact that time management as a business process is not done by the direct supervisor/people manager alone and thus cannot use the same security logic used by other Manager Self Service components. Let's take an example. In a manufacturing environment, shift management is mostly done by shift supervisors/shift leaders who may not necessarily be in the managerial job family. On the other hand transactions like performance appraisals, initiation of promotion, transfer and even absence approvals are traditionally done by a people manager or an employee falling in the managerial job family. The supervisor id assigned at the job data level or the reports to position used in job data is mostly that of a people manager. So, if T&L also adopted the security definitions of other modules, it would have greatly constrained the flexibility of the module. So, I have to agree that Dynamic Groups give an extra layer of flexibility to the T&L product in terms of defining the security and goes a long way in satisfying the requirement of businesses to have non managerial employees manage shifts and approve worked time.

Learning of the day: Group Build and Future effective dates

Group Build functionality in PeopleSoft HCM can be used to group employees together based on flexible parameters. But, one limitation of Group Build is that it does not consider future effective dates, even if the parameters used to build the Group is designed to return future effective date. As mentioned in support.oracle.com (or customer connection or metalink, whatever you might want to call!), Group Build is designed to only consider current and historical effective dated rows. This is an important point to keep in mind while designing any process that involves Group Build - "Group Build does not consider future effective dates".

Friday, January 21, 2011

On PeopleSoft Feature Packs

Oracle had announced the decision to come out with more frequent functionality updates to PeopleSoft during Open World 2010. These off cycle feature releases are termed Feature Packs (the first FP for HCM 9.1 has already been released last month). Feature Packs are supposed to complement Bundles and Maintenance Packs and provide customers with a direct upgrade path 9.1 with the additional features. A quick look at the 'features' delivered in 9.1 FP1 does not convince me that major functionality improvements are being delivered through Feature Packs (this is contradictory to the major marketing cry behind feature packs - customers not having to wait for 2-3 years for major functionality releases) and it leaves me with the question whether this is just a marketing fad to counter the feature release frequency of SaaS products. Well, will wait for the next release before coming to a conclusion.
Below is an excerpt on Feature Packs found in support.oracle.com site which I hope will throw more light on this topic:

Question 1:

What are Feature Packs?

Answer 1:

Feature Packs are a new off-cycle delivery mechanisms in addition to the existing off-cycle delivery mechanisms of bundles and maintenance packs. Feature Packs will consist of a roll-up of capabilities and updates previously delivered in bundles and maintenance packs. In addition, at the delivery of Feature Packs Oracle will re-cut the CD to include the roll-up of capabilities and updates previously delivered in bundles and maintenance packs as well as re-certify upgrades and integrations

Question 2:

Why is Oracle introducing Feature Packs and additional capabilities delivered off-cycle?

Answer 2:

Oracle is introducing Feature Packs as a means to:

  • Continue delivery of value add capabilities on to release 9.1 which is showing strong customer adoption and becoming the release of choice for PeopleSoft customers
  • Provide capabilities more frequently rather than having customer wait 2-3 years for the next major release
  • Allow release 9.1 customers to adopt capabilities without upgrading, because additional capabilities are being delivered off-cycle release 9.1 customers need not upgrade to get them but rather merely need to apply bundles and maintenance packs
Feature Packs specifically make it easier for net-new PeopleSoft customers to deploy to the most current point of the latest release.
Feature Packs also make it easier for existing non release 9.1 customers to upgrade to the most current point of the latest release.
If you have access to support.oracle.com, you can read more of this article here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Extended Absence functionality - Why not in normal Absence Request page?

The Extended Absence functionality introduced by Oracle in version 9.1 of PeopleSoft Absence Management is a very welcome product enhancement. It provides very powerful tools to do absence eligibility checks (especially when the eligibility rules are complex) and the much anticipated mechanism to upload documents (thanks to the new attachment framework) while requesting a leave. All said and done, I am disappointed that this functionality is not available in the normal Absence Request page. Customers really want to have features like uploading documents, having links to leave policy documents etc. on the absence request page and it defies my logic that Oracle did not think of putting this feature in the absence request page. Moreover, it is not acceptable to most customers to make employees go to different pages to report different types of leaves. So I hope that the Absence Management product development team integrates the Extended Absence functionality into the normal absence request page, so that customers can make use of this really good feature.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kronos video on the Future of Work

A distinct flavour of posts in this blog over the last few weeks has been on the changing nature of work and it's challenges on Time and Attendance systems. You can find related articles here, here and here. Here is an excellent clip by Kronos on the same topic. I love it for the questions it raises, I am sure you would too. (Double click the video to view in You Tube)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A truly mobile ERP suite - will we see that in 2011?

We had discussed previously about the imminent penetration of mobile devices in enterprise applications (refer here and here). The increased popularity of mobile devices, the level of engagement of the user with the mobile device, changing demographics of the workforce and the sheer usability and quality of mobile applications are strong drivers for enterprise applications moving to social and mobile devices. But it made me sit back and take note of the true potential of this trend as I read through the various tech predictions for 2011 and the next decade. I have to state here that invariably every single article on tech trends that I've read over the last week has talked about IT consumerization (Gartner identified this trend as early as 2005) and it's impact on enterprise applications. Sample some of the links below for details:

1. Predictions from Gartner
2. Predictions from techrepublic
3. 2011 trends in Enterprise Irregulars
4. Thoughts by Vinnie Mirchandani
5. Predictions in CIO.com

Exciting times indeed! So what does this mean for PeopleSoft customers? Interestingly PeopleSoft had launched a Mobile Agent way back in 2001 which allowed users to use the PeopleSoft application on mobile devices. PeopleSoft also offered Time and Labor on mobile agent with simple mobile specific screens to report and approve time. Unfortunately the support for mobile agent has been discontinued lately. We have not seen any announcement from Oracle on providing a mobile app for PeopleSoft HCM, but it is interesting that an iPhone app was released by Oracle for iReceipts! Most of the focus I have seen over the last few releases as well as the future direction has been on talent management and usability improvements like what we have seen with 8.50 tools - but we have not seen any guidance on a focus on mobile/social application from the PeopleSoft development team. (The Fusion HCM applications offer a module called Network At Work which I reckon is about collaboration within the enterprise and does not extend to mobile devices and the popular social networking sites). This is not enticing news for PeopleSoft customers and consultants. Is there any alternative that we can look up to as PeopleSoft customers? I reckon the answer lies in Developer Generated Content. I had briefly touched upon this topic in this post where I had talked about the viability of an app store for PeopleSoft. The core idea is for developers and more importantly for IT consulting and service providers/companies to come up with innovative mobile and smart phone applications for PeopleSoft and make it available for customers as downloadable apps. For example, here is a post from Succeed Consultancy who have created an absence management app for iPhone and other smart phone platforms - I am envisaging a new business model where developers and service providers would generate PeopleSoft related content which will be delivered over the web. Customers would further be able to 'shop' for these products online and purchase the products they are interested in. This signals a sea change in traditional enterprise software delivery models and opens up a completely new revenue stream for consulting/IT service companies. I foresee the following benefits for this business model:

1. Better and innovative products/extensions available for customers which will incrementally increase the value of their PeopleSoft investments.
2. Harnessing the creativity and innovation of developers which will lead to a large number of products coming to the market which will in turn be beneficial for all stake holders.
3. New delivery model for enterprise applications which is best suited for a market where enterprise IT is consumerized.
4. New revenue stream for consulting/IT service companies.
5. Subscription/Usage based pricing model that will be attractive for customers.
6. Democratization of enterprise products that will bring out innovation and better products for customers. With such a concept, any developer with good skills and ideas will be able to generate content and upload their product(s) to the app store.
7. Ready made products available for customers which will cut down development time and costs to minimum.
8. Leveraging web2.0 features like rating applications, 'liking' applications, tracking the most downloaded apps etc., the best applications will easily come out on top and the inefficient ones will be weeded out by the community. Moreover, customers could post a wish-list of applications (similar to the concept in Oracle Mix), which can further lead to tailoring apps required by customers.

The first questions that will be raised will be about control over the quality of the applications, impact on upgrades, compatibility with tools and application versions etc. But, these are all concerns which can be effectively addressed. If Wikipedia could do a Britannica Encyclopedia by harnessing the power of the community, why not PeopleSoft? Why can we not deliver better value for our customers and tap into the creativity of the developer community by leveraging on developer generated content? I hope that this post will act as a catalyst for this change.