Thursday, November 22, 2012

New Oracle acquisition - Instantis

Oracle has announced the acquisition of Instantis, provider of cloud based project portfolio management solutions.
Oracle has stated the intention of merging Instantis with Primavera and Fusion.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How is the personal work schedule id derived?

Work Schedules play a central role in both PeopleSoft Absence Management and Time and Labor. Work Schedules can be assigned directly to an employee and there are the following assignment methods possible:
1. Assign a pre-defined work schedule
2. Inherit a default work schedule. If you are interested to know how the default work schedule is decided, read this post.
3.  Assign a personal schedule. A personal schedule gives the user flexibility to define a work schedule pattern that is specific to one assignment of an employee.

When you define a personal work schedule, the schedule id is automatically derived by PeopleSoft and is non-editable.

The figure above, clearly illustrates that when an assignment method of personal schedule is selected, the schedule id is defaulted and greyed out.
So, what is the logic used by the system to derive the schedule id?
The system uses a combination of Employee Id and Employee Record number to derive the personal schedule id. This is done so that it will enable users to create unique personal schedule for different assignments of an employee id. The personal schedule id is derived by concatenating the employee id to a five digit number derived by adding the employee record number to 100000.
The code used to come up with the personal schedule id is given below:

EMPLID | Substring(String(100000 + EMPL_RCD), 2, 5);

The code can be interpreted as a two step process:
The first step is to derive the last five digits of the personal schedule id. This is done by first adding the employee record number to the numeral 100000. The first five digits starting from the second digit of the result is then retrieved. This new five digit number is concatenated to the employee id to derive the personal schedule id.
Let us sign off this post with an example.
What would be the personal schedule id of an employee with employee id 100000345 and employee record number 3?
Step 1:
Add employee record number to 100000. This results in 100003
Retrieve the last five digits of the schedule id by substringing the above result. So, the last five digits of the schedule id will be 00003.

Step 2:
Concatenate the final result from Step 1 with the employee id to have the personal schedule id.
This will result in a personal schedule id of 10000034500003

SelectMinds - Strengthening Oracle Talent Management offerings

Oracle announced in September this year, that they are acquiring SelectMinds - a company offering social recruitment tools. Browsing through the whitepapers available on the SelectMinds site, it is clear that SelectMinds operate in a niche space of tapping into a trusted online community of talent to source candidates using their proprietary referral marketing engine. They also have an impressive list of blue chip customers. Interestingly SelectMinds' TalentVine product already has a validated integration with Taleo Enterprise recruiting module and we also found a customer reference by Macgraw-Hill for this integration.
This acquisition indeed brings interesting solution options for customers using Oracle Talent Management/Taleo and again underlines the thrust organisations are putting on social (a quick look at the recent applications acquisitions by Oracle shows that most companies operate in the social/cloud space) and HR technology (especially Talent Management).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PS Gotcha - Group Build and Aggregate functions

Group Build is a commonly used functionality within PeopleSoft HCM (I prefer Dynamic Groups in Time and Labor better for the extended flexibility, but that does not extend to the whole HCM product line). We had documented a limitation of the Group Build framework, earlier in this post.
And here is another gotcha while working on Group Build. The PS Queries that you use as an input to a Group definition cannot contain an aggregate function or unions.
Another interesting tip is that you can give Group build security access to only those OPRIDs that have an EMPLID attached to the OPRID. So, next time you login with a maintenance super-user id (like an id used to run scheduled batch processes) and do not have access to Groups in the Security by Group page, you know what is wrong!

And if anyone has questions on where to define a Group Build group, here is the navigation:
Setup HRMS > Common Definitions > Group Build

Extra reference document (requires Oracle support login):
Troubleshooting Group Build issues

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 - Time and Labor new features Part 2

In a previous post, we had discussed enhancements to existing features for PeopleSoft Time and Labor in v9.2. In this post, we want to examine and evaluate some of the brand new features being delivered as part of v9.2 for Time and Labor. Here is the list:

1. Time and Labor workcenter: v9.2 will see separate role based work centers for managers as well as Time and Labor administrators. This work center should act as the one-stop page for activities related to Time and Labor. Analytical reports using the new pivot grid functionality and alert aggregation will also be part of the work center. The work center will further have a collection of commonly used links as well as processes. We would like to note that a similar work center will also be available for Global Payroll and Absence Management in v9.2.
Our opinion: This is an excellent addition to the product as workcenters go a long way in increasing the usability of the product. Administrators of Time and Labor should especially find this feature appealing as it will add to their operational efficiency and increased productivity.

2. Alert and Notification framework: It has been proposed to deliver an alert and notification framework for Time and Labor in v9.2. This framework will help organisations setup one-time or recurrent notifications to different users in the system as well as setup alerts based on system data and monitor the thresholds. Examples where this could be used are - alerting managers of time approval prior to payroll cutoff, alerting administrators of system anomalies like employees exceeding an overtime limit etc.
Our opinion: This will go to a long way in addressing some critical business requirements with respect to compliance and measurement of Time and Attendance discipline/cost. Taken together with the Time and Labor workcenter, the alert and notification framework will augment Time and Labor operations in organisations, which in itself is a compelling business case for the adoption of this product.

3. New reports for Reported Time audit and Compensatory time: New XML Publisher based reports will be delivered for Reported Time Audit and details of Leave and Compensatory time.
Our opinion: Reporting is an area that has glaring gaps in PeopleSoft Time and Labor. Most mature Time and Attendance systems come with a number of out-of-the box reports, but the set offered by PeopleSoft Time and Labor is very limited. The new set of reports do not cover commonly requested reporting requirements and will be of limited use to customers.

Overall Analysis
 We want to give a thumbs up to the product team of PeopleSoft Time and Labor for the new features adopted in version 9.2. It is obvious that the product team has spent time listening to customers as well as practitioners to understand and address common pain areas and requirements. I cannot remember of a recent previous release which has addressed so many of real customer needs.
A lot of focus has also been put into easing the administrative operations related to Time and Labor, which is excellent! It goes without saying that for a highly transactional module like Time and Labor, the administrators are the true heores and deserve as much product assistance as possible to ease out their operations. Features like the workcenter, alert and notification framework, locking of timesheets and generation of payable time on submission of timesheet are all geared to streamline Time and Labor administration processes.
There are indeed many other areas which we hope to see improvement on, with future releases or feature packs. Some of  them are -

a. Better real time integration and validations between Time and Labor and Absence Management.
b. Mobile time reporting capabilities. Time reporting/approval are traditionally the first applications to get a mobile extension, but there has been no action from PeopleSoft Time and Labor on this front.
c. Better out-of-the-box reporting capabilities - It is extremely important to have reporting capabilities on work schedule information, payable time information, overtime analysis etc. This is an area we hope to see improvement on.
d. Country extensions/localisations - It goes without saying that most time in a Time and Labor implementation is spent analysing and configuring statutory labour rules. There would be a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership, if Oracle were to deliver statutory rules (just like its done for Global Payroll and Absence Management country extensions) for Time and Labor as well.
e. Light scheduling capabilities - Most organisations who are heavy users of Time and Labor, ask for some kind of workforce scheduling capabilities. It is not a feasible solution to suggest customers to purchase and use Oracle Workforce Scheduler (OWS), especially when they have light requirements at PeopleSoft side. We believe that a light version of a workforce scheduler that helps users to manage the availability of employees will be a great addition.

More posts on PeopleSoft 9.2 here -
For more information or questions on PeopleSoft Time and Attendance, reach out to us at

Post Script -

Making use of non-9.2 features to replicate some of the proposed 9.2 features:
We believe that a number of tools available in existing releases can be effectively used to mimic some of the features that are proposed in version 9.2. We encourage customers to investigate the use of related content, relatred actions, workcenters, pivot grids, pagelets etc. that are already available on peopletools 8.52 to provide users of the system with a superior user experience.

Given below is an example of a pivot grid designed by us in HCM version 9.1, for drill down analysis of Payable Time

Pivot Grid used to analyse payable time details - PT8.52 and PS HCM v9.1

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 - Time and Labor new features Part 1

In this two part series, we want to examine and highlight the various new features proposed in version 9.2 of PeopleSoft HCM for the Time and Labor module. We had reviewed the features for Absence Management, in a previous post. While we were disappointed with the proposed feature changes for Absence Management, Time and Labor tells a very different story.
The Oracle PeopleSoft Time and Labor product team has come up with an impressive list of enhancements for PeopleSoft 9.2, many of which have been critical pain points during a Time and Labor implementation. What impressed us the most was that, while there are certain brand new high value features like Time and Labor Workcenter, a number of features address existing product gaps - which is exactly what we have missed in Absence Management. Without taking more time, we would like to highlight the main enhancements to existing functionalities in version 9.2 of Time and Labor. In the next part, we will cover details of brand new features.

1. Enhanced display controls for TRCs: It is proposed to bring in enhanced features to control the display of Time Reporting Codes (TRCs) in Employee and Manager timesheet pages. Using this feature, it will be possible to control the list of TRCs that need to be displayed in the ESS/MSS timesheet pages as well as the order in which it should be displayed.
Our opinion:  A big thumbs up for this enhancement as it addresses an important pain point during implementations. This is a very common requirement in a Time and Labor implementation and most customers address this through a customisation.

2. Timesheet lockdown feature: We had hinted in a previous post that there is a planned enhancement to allow administrators to lock down edits on timesheets during critical periods like payroll runs. That feature is proposed to be delivered in v9.2. This feature supposedly allows administrators to select group of employees and choose to lock or unlock timesheets.
Our opinion: The T&L product team have been listening well to the customers! This is indeed a feature requested in most implementations which need to be addressed through a customisation. One thing struck us while seeing the screenshot of the proposed page to lock down timesheets - the group of employees for whom timesheet has to be locked was identified by the 'Company' and 'Paygroup' fields. This structure is compatible only for customers using Payroll Interface or Payroll for North America products, in conjuction with Time and Labor. Does this mean that customers who are using Time and Labor as a standalone product or T&L with Global Payroll as the pay system, will not be able to make use of this timesheet lockdown feature?

3. Enhanced display control of Timesheet page: The timesheet page in PeopleSoft Time and Labor is a complex one with a lot of fields and functionalities present in it. While the Time Reporting Template allows us to configure the fields that should be displayed in the timesheet page to a certain extent, ofcourse it does not extend to all the fields on the page. In a very useful extension, PeopleSoft 9.2 will come with extended Time Reporting template configuration options, that can be used to control the display of most fields and group of fields on the timesheet page. For example, it can be decided to show or hide 'Show All Punches' field, 'Leave and Compensatory Time' section, control the options in the 'View By' field etc.
Our opinion: Very useful enhancements. Eventhough we would not call these changes as strategic or high value, they help to increase the configurability of the system and ofcourse decrease customisations.

4. Print timesheet and controls on Timesheet edits: A new link will be provided on the timesheet page to enable printing the timesheet. There will also be feature to control who can edit an employee's timesheet and also ability to send notification to employees if their timesheet is edited by another user.
We also noticed that the Earliest Change Date (ECD) is now displayed on the timesheet. Excellent that the all important ECD has been brought out of obscurity and made easily referencable.
Our opinion: Printing of timesheets is another frequently requested feature. We have seen many custom, javascript based solutions that have been implemented for this. Another very useful feature!

5. Generation of Payable Time on Timesheet submission: There will be a configurable option on Time and Labor installation page, to allow the generation of payable time (and ofcourse exceptions, if configured) on the submission of timesheet or on clicking the Apply Rules button. This clearly implies that the system can react faster to reported time changes and payable time can be in sync with reported time in a more real time manner.
Our opinion: Reported time is converted to payable time when running the time administration process. There are operational issues with this process, because this introduces a delay in the generation of payable time. With this new enhancement, it becomes possible to generate payable time, as soon as the timesheet is submitted. This should ofcourse help increase the productivity of time and payroll administrators. We do have questions on the performance impact of this process as it will be required to invoke sections of the time administration process to generate payable time and it could get a bit heavy, especially during payroll cut-off dates when there will be increased traffic on the timesheet functionality.

6. Combined view of Payable Time, Absence, Exception on timesheet: In another enhancement, there will be new sections within the timesheet page that displays Absences, Payable Time, Exception, Attendance details etc. in different tabs. This will help the user to have a consolidated view of most elements related to time in one single page, i.e. the timesheet.
Our opinion: This is an excellent enhancement and will be well received by customers and users alike.
We would like to point out to customers who are on v9.1 (and excellent if you are on 8.52 tools as there are significant enhancements to related content framework in 8.52), that they should be making use of the related content feature to build similar usability enhancements. The 'related actions' framework delivered in 9.1 Feature Pack 2,can be further used to develop enhanced usability features, even within version 9.1.

These are the enhancements to existing features of Time and Labor that we identified from the various resources available on PeopleSoft HCM v9.2. In the next part of this series, we will discuss some of the brand new features for Time and Labor in v9.2.

For more information on PeopleSoft HCM and Time and Attendance modules, get in touch with us at

More posts on PeopleSoft 9.2 here -