Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Big Blue jumps into the HR Tech. Bandwagon: IBM to acquire Kenexa

This is indeed the big HR Technology news of the week. IBM announced two days ago that they will be acquiring Kenexa. Kenexa is a veteran in the HR Technology/Talent Management/Survey market with a strong research practice. There's a great discussion on this topic in the HR Technology group on LinkedIn. From what I gather, it does indeed look like IBM will continue selling Kenexa TM apps which clearly means one more big player in the HCM Applications space! But, this deal could mean much more than Talent Management and an indicator that IBM has a strong vision to tap into social colloboration, big data, employee behaviour patterns etc. to create applications enabling better workforce collaboration and insights.
Read more on the deal here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Workday unveils Time Tracking module in Workday 17

Workday has announced the introduction of a time tracking module in the Workday 17 release. This complements their existing Workday Absence Management and Workday Payroll solutions, to provide customers with an integrated Time and Attendance system.
This is indeed stepping up the competition in the SaaS HCM space (and ofcourse more death nails to on-premise Time and Attendance deployments!) and \I will closely watch the next move from Oracle as Fusion HCM does not have a Time and Labor solution. Bring them on, I say!
More details of Workday 17 can be read here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

HR Decibel Soundcast: Time and Attendance capabilities in PeopleSoft HCM

What are the Time and Attendance capabilities in PeopleSoft HCM? Which are the modules to be licensed and what are the various components of an integrated T&A solution in PeopleSoft HCM? In this soundcast we explore these questions and more. This soundcast covers introduction to PeopleSoft Time and Attendance modules including PeopleSoft Time and Labor, Absence Management and Oracle Workforce Scheduler (OWS)

For more soundcasts, visit

HR Decibel SoundCast: Typical Data Conversion requirements in an Absence Management implementation

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Monday, August 13, 2012

PeopleSoft HCM Fundamentals: Controlling access to country-specific sub pages in HCM

Component with Country Specific sub pages
Through this (quick) post, we want to discuss a fundamental functionality in PeopleSoft HCM. A number of components in HCM, have sub pages that are used to capture country specific information like military data, ethnicity information, religion etc. If you log into a demo database with a super user id like 'PS', you will be able to see sub pages from all relevant countries. In an actual implementation, this is less than ideal. During an implementation, you would want to limit the display of the country specific sub-pages to only those that are supposed to be viewed by a certain user. So, if you have a multi-country implementation across USA, France and Australia - you should be able to configure the display of the sub-pages in such a manner that users from USA can view only USA specific subpages, French users can view only sub pages specific to France and the same rule holiding good for Australia.
This can be controlled at the primary permission list level of a user id. The countries that a certain primary permission list has access to, can be setup in  Setup HRMS > Security > Component and Page Security > Setup Global Security > Setup Global Security.
In the above navigation, you can enter the countries that a primary permission list has access to and once the primary permission list is attached to a userid, that user will only be able to view sub pages from the configured countries.
It is as simple as that!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 RVP - Absence Management feature analysis

We had posted on the release of RVP document for HCM v9.2 in a recent post. In this post, we intent to discuss the new features planned in v9.2 for Absence Management module. 
The RVP document is surprisingly very succint on the enhancements planned for Absence Management. The documented enhancements include:

1. Desktop integration of Absence Management with Microsoft Outlook:
In v9.2, Absence Management self service will be extended to Microsoft Outlook to enable employees and managers to raise/approve absence requests from Outlook, without logging into the PeopleSoft application. Another exciting feature is that the leave status of employees will appear as a calendar event in MS Outlook, providing improved visibility on employee availability. We had discussed this proposed feature in detail here
For enterprise level customers, desktop integration of HCM transactions is as important as mobile extensions and it's great to see this rich feature being delivered by Oracle. We do have questions regarding the overall robustness and use cases covered by this new feature, which we will be able to evaluate only after testing this in a 9.2 instance (that will have to wait!). Overall, a big thumbs up from our side for this feature enhancement!

2. Absence Management workcenter:
One common observation that we made in the RVP of 9.2 is that almost every module in HCM has strongly made use of workcenters, related content and pivot grids. These are functionalities available in 9.1 as well, especially if you are on tools 8.52. 
In v9.2, Oracle proposes to deliver a workcenter for Global Payroll and Absence Management, which can be used by payroll and absence administrators to monitor the statistics and health of a payroll/absence run. It has features to monitor alerts, setup thresholds that should generate alerts, view the status of processing of calendar groups etc.
This is again a very useful addition to the overall solution and will go a long way in enhancing the usability of the application for the back office population and will help reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by reducing the total cost of maintaining the system. Another thumbs up from our side for this proposed enhancement.

3. HTML Inline Approvals: 
The third and last enhancement we spotted with respect to Absence Management in the RVP for 9.2 is the introduction of HTML inline approvals for Absence Management. This enhancement will allow managers to take an approval action for Absence Management directly from the approval email.
This is indeed a welcome enhancement, though we are not very upbeat about the priority that has been given to this enhancement over other features.

Overall, we have been disappointed with the enhancements for Absence Management, documented in the RVP document. It is difficult for us to believe that a major version release after 3 years does not have more substantial changes and do not address some of the fundamental issues with Absence Management at present. It is indeed interesting to have new features like Outlook integration, but it is equally or more important to weed out some of the core design issues with the module, that leads to customers looking down on this module during product evaluations. We would like to point out some of the top enhancements requested for Absence Management, from our experience with customers:

1. Ability to edit/cancel approved absences: Without doubt, this is the number one lack of fundamental functionality in PeopleSoft Absence Management. The module does not allow employees or managers to change absence requests once it has been approved. This does not fit with the business process of any organisation and we have had to customise this at every implementation.

2. Enhanced balance view: One of the fundamental functionalities of a leave management system is to enable employees and managers view up to date balance of various leave types. In Absence Management, the balance grid in Self Service, displays a balance as of the last finalised payroll calendar (another option is to use the Forecast Balance page, but it is not the ideal option in our opinion). This again does not satisfy the requirements of most customers. Customers want to view up to date balance and also more granular information like absences that have been approved till date, absences applied in the future etc. It goes without saying that a more robust design and framework is required to view the absence balance in PeopleSoft Absence Management.

3. Forecasting does not consider future dated absence requests:
Most customers would want to prevent employees from taking an absence request if there is a policy violation or if there is insufficient balance. This functionality can be achieved using the forecasting utility in Absence Management, to a certain extent. There is a known gap where the forecasting process does not consider future dated absence requests when determining the eligibility. 
This is again a significant drawback for customers during evaluation as well as implementation of the Absence Management product.

4. Tighter integration with Time and Labor:
As rightly mentioned by Jason Averbook here, 'no one cares for modules except software vendors'. Time and Labor and Absence Management is viewed as a single functionality by most customers, though its divided into two modules with PeopleSoft. In this context, the level of integration and reconciliation that happens between T&L and Absence Management in PeopleSoft is not advanced. We would really like to see more work and features delivered in this area.

The above are some of the key deficiencies in the current Absence Management module design, which we hope would be addressed as these affect the product adoption more than any new shining feature!
In conclusion, we believe that the Absence Management product team could have taken more feedback from the user and implementation community to enhance the existing product. Interestingly, our review of the Time and Labor features in 9.2 has shown that the T&L product team has spent considerable time listening to the issues of existing customers to bridge critical product deficiencies. We hope that the lack of functionalities in the RVP for Absence Management can be attributed to some editorial errors and that the actual release notes will give reason for cheer!

For more information on the contents of this post, get in touch with us by mailing to

PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 Release Value Proposition (RVP)

Oracle has released the RVP document for PeopleSoft HCM version 9.2. You can find the details here (You will need a support id to download the RVP). We expect more information the exact dates of 9.2 release during this year's Oracle Open World, but anticipate the release to happen during Q1 of 2013.

On similar note, Oracle had released the RVP for Peopletools 8.53 few weeks back. Here's the link for the 8.53 RVP.

We will publish our detailed analysis of the HCM 9.2 RVP shortly. Stay tuned!

Some known limitations of PeopleSoft Delegation Framework

While the PeopleSoft Delegation framework for HCM caters to most business requirements, there are certain limitations* that need to be considered during implementations, specifically with respect to Absence Management and Time and Labor. This post is an attempt to document someof the known limitations so that appropriate decisions can be made during implementations to handle these scenarios.

1. Inability for proxy to approve own transactions:
Assume that employee 'A' reports to manager 'B'.'B' is going on vacation for 10 days (ofcourse he is not working in consulting!!) and delegates her Absence and Time approval transactions to 'A'. Now,what happens if 'A' raises an absence request? As 'A' reports to 'B', the request should be routed to 'B' for approval, but 'B' in turn has delegated absence approvals to 'A'. But, PeopleSoft Absence Management/Time and Labor follows the principle that employees should not be able to approve their own transactions and thus, 'A' will not be able to approve the absence request that was raised. This is a common scenario, especially for personal assisstants who report to executives in organisations and is seen as one of the main limitations of the delegation framework during most of our implementations.

2. Delegation of a delegated transaction not possible:
Assume that manager 'A' has delegated her Absence Approval transactions to manager 'B'. Now, manager 'B' decides to go on vacation and intents to delegate her Absence Approvals to manager 'C'. This will not be possible in the PeopleSoft delegation framework as already 'A' has delegated Abence Approvals to 'B'. Thus, delegation of a delegated transaction is not possible in the PeopleSoft delegation framework.

3. Delegator loses control once a transaction has been delegated:
A common business requirement we have seen is that the person who delegates a transaction should be able to still approve the transaction if required. For example, assume that there are certain transactions that require the approval of HRBPs, but HRBPs have HRBP assisstants who help them with their transactional tasks and thus the HRBPs have delegated their approval transactions to their HRBP assisstants. This means that when a transaction is routed to the HRBP for approval, it will be re-routed to the HRBP assisstant as delegation has been setup. Now, assume that the HRBP is in discussions with a line manager and the line manager enquires about the status of a transaction he had raised and was pending with the HRBP. The line manager says that it is an urgent request and he would like the HRBP to approve the transaction immediately. With PeopleSoft delegation framework, the HRBP will not be able to approve this transaction because the HRBP has delegated it to the HRBP assisstant. In short, when a delegator delegates a transaction to a proxy, the delegator loses the ability to approve transactions for the period, delegation is active. It is tobe noted that through configuration, the delegator can view the status of these transactions and these transactions can also be configured to appear on the worklist of the delegator. But, no approval action can be taken up by the delegator.

4. Active delegations removed when delegator goes on LOA:
Assume that a manager has delegated certain transactions to another manager. The delegator now goes on a leave of absence (LOA). The delegations made by the delegator will become inaccessible to the proxy if the delegator goes on LOA. We have discussed this scenario in detail here.

5. Proxy will not be able to access delegated transactions if there is a change in userid:
This is a rare scenario, yet something we have seen with some past clients. Assume that manager 'A' has delegated her transactions to 'B'. Assume that the userid with which 'B' logs into PeopleSoft HCM changes after the delegation has been setup (for eg. the userid format for the customer is first letter of first name + last name. This could change when an employee gets married). Now, 'B' will not be able to access the delegations from 'A' with the new user id. This is because, delegations in PeopleSoft are recorded using userids and not employee ids, so if there is a change in the user id, that will affect delegation.

For more information on these limitations and how to handle them during implementations, reach out to us by mailing to

*A limitation is only a deficiency in the functionality and not a bug. Thus, this post does not address known bugs with the Delegation framework. We believe that while bugs will be resolved by Oracle, limitations may not be addressed by the Oracle product team and thus requires special consideration during implementations.

PeopleSoft Delegation framework and Leave of Absence (LOA)

Oracle introduced the Delegation Framework for PeopleSoft Absence Management in version 9.0*, bridging a glaring gap in absence related self service functionalities. While there are some known limitations for this framework (which we will cover in detail in another post), the functionality is robust enough to address most business requirements. In this post, we intent to discuss the impact on delegation, when the delegator goes on a Leave of Absence (LOA). 
A Leave of Absence (LOA) generally represents a long term absence of an employee from an organisation due to reasons like illness, maternity, sabbatical etc. A LOA is very different from a normal leave like vacation, bereavement or sickness due to the length of absence and due to the fact that most often, an employee on LOA undergoes a reduction in payment. 

From a business process point of view, if a manager goes on a LOA, what should be done to the employees reporting to the manager and what should be done to the approval authority of the manager?
The best practise in this case, is to have a change in the reporting structure and completely move all employees reporting to the manager going on LOA to another manager. An alternate practise we have seen is to use delegation when a manager goes on LOA. This means that prior to going on LOA, a manager delegates all of her Manager Self Service tasks to another manager, under the assumption that the proxy manager can take care of all approvals on 'behalf' of her. This is not a suggested practise as it is best to re-assign the employees to an active manager whenever a manager goes on LOA. What happens in the PeopleSoft delegation framework if a manager delegates her transactions prior to going on LOA? In this case, the delegation framework fails to recognize the delegation and the proxy will not be able to act on behalf of the delegator. It goes without saying that this will lead to serious business process issues with the transactions raised by employees reporting to the manager on LOA remaining unapproved.
This calls for a strict process of changing the reporting structure whenever a manager goes on LOA. Delegation should not be used to take care of the approvals in the absence of a manager who is on LOA.

*Time and Labor adopted the delegation framework in v9.1