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 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 You can find the details here -
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.