Thursday, 13 April 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Update Manager Change Packages

PeopleSoft 9.2 applications have been following a continuous delivery model since March 2013. Selective Adoption is the term used to describe this model and is characterised by the ability for customers to choose what updates they apply and when they apply them (a key differentiator between PeopleSoft and cloud SaaS applications).

PeopleSoft Update Images (often referred to as PIs (PeopleSoft Images), PUM Images or just Images) are the delivery mechanism for all PeopleSoft application updates (fixes, regulatory updates and new features).  

PeopleSoft Update Manager is a tool within the PUM Image which is used to select updates and define Change Packages for deployment.

Change Assistant tool is then used to take these package definitions and build the physical Change Package.

I'm presenting at the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow in London on 26 April on Selective Adoption and the Oracle Cloud so come along to join in the discussion.

Until then... here's 5 things about Update Manager Change Packages:

1. PeopleSoft Update Manager Change Packages are used to deploy application updates to a target PeopleSoft system.  The package itself is a single ZIP file containing all* files necessary to apply one or more application Updates to a target PeopleSoft system (*see thing 4 below for exception to this).
2. You create a PUM Package using the Define Appliction Package menu option in the PUM Dashboard.  This can be found in the PUM Image: PeopleTools > Lifecycle Management > Update Manager
3. You apply a PUM Package to your target PeopleSoft system using Change Assistant (a Windows based tool which orchestrates the execution of predefined actions such as SQL and DataMover scripts, App Designer Projects, etc).
4. The first time you apply a package you apply it in "Initial Pass" mode.  This will add to the Package ZIP file any additional files necessary to apply the package in "Move to Production" (MTP) mode - additional files such as Datamover DAT files for loading messages and other meta data along with customised Application Designer objects if any customisations had to be re-applied.  In Initial Pass mode Change Assistant must have access to the same PUM Image as was used to create the Package and must have access to the target PeopleSoft system.  Change Assistant is expecting to not only reference the PUM Image for application data but also is expecting to find the defined Change Package in the PUM Image.
5. After Initial Pass you end up with a new ZIP file that contains everything you need to deploy the Updates to your target PeopleSoft systems.  Once you have this final ZIP file Change Assistant does not need access to the PUM Image again.

Friday, 31 March 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Cloud Manager

PeopleSoft Cloud Manager was announced at OpenWorld 2016 . On Feb 14 it became available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace.  

  1. Cloud Manager is a PeopleSoft application which can define and manage instances of PeopleSoft in the Oracle Cloud.  
  2. PeopleSoft Cloud Manager only runs on Oracle Compute Cloud infrastructure and you can get it from the Oracle Cloud Marketplace .  Just search for Cloud Manager.   
  3. Cloud Manager is written in PeopleTools using the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub and needs it's own standalone instance just like any other pillar (HCM, FSCM, CRM, etc). 
  4. You can subscribe to software updates that you have an interest in which will be automatically downloaded for you.  This includes:
    • PeopleTools patches, 
    • application PRPs, 
    • PUM Images 
  5. Cloud Manager software is free for PeopleSoft customers but you pay for infrastructure used on the Oracle Compute Cloud.  OCC is charged on the basis of how many OCPUs you use and how much storage you use (there are other chargeable items which you can read more on here). 

Useful Links:

Monday, 20 March 2017

5 things about Fluid Page None Search Type

There are 3 search types you can specify for a Fluid component : None, Standard (also known as Pivot Grid ) and Master /Detail (on page, left side, persistant search results).

Here's 5 things about None:
  1. None is the default Search Type for a Fluid Component and is set in the Component properties Fluid tab.  It is often found in self service applications where the search data is  known and already exists in the database (e.g. employee id)
    Search Type = None
  2. A Search Type of None will not give you a search page (sorry to state the obvious here but some aspects of Fluid development are not always obvious).  However, the component still requires a search record.  This can be a record with no search keys such as the INSTALLATION table or a record with multiple search keys such as HR_SS_PERS_SRCH.  
  3. Even though the Component search record may have search keys a Fluid component will not present a search page.  Instead you must set search keys either in SearchInit PeopleCode event as the component loads or in a parameter record in a TRANSFER(...) function or  as parameters in the URL. 
    Set search keys in SearchInit

    Transfer with keys in record

    Search keys in URL parameters

  4. Use  SearchInit PeopleCode event  SetSearchBehaviorMode(0)to automatically execute the search and land on the first page.  
  5. If you need to open a Fluid Component in Add mode then append &action=A parameter to the transfer URL or use the "A" parameter in the TRANSFER function.  This is not as easy as it sounds with a Fluid component set to search type None and so if you need add mode it might be better to set search type = Standard (more on this in a future blog).

Friday, 3 March 2017

5 things about PeopleSoft Page Composer

  1. Page Composer creates Fluid pages through configuration.  At the moment this is only available for Fluid Approvals (introduced in HCM & FSCM Images 020 and CRM 012 and ELM 015) but as a general framework for page construction you can see where Oracle is taking this.  It is part of Enterprise Components NOT PeopleTools. Although you will need to be on at least PeopleTools 8.54.27 or 8.55.10 (See Doc ID 2166359.1

  2. Page Composer pages are based on a Page Composer Registration in which you define the sections of the page (summary, header, detail, etc) and the data sources and custom business logic.  You can define up to 5 header and 5 line sections.  
  3. There is currently only one Page Composer composition type of APPROVALS.  The approvals pages are all based on the same component EOAWMA_MAIN_FL.  Page definition EOAWMA_RSLT_SBF renders the initial summary list view and page definitions EOAWMA_TXNHDTL_FL (header) and EOAWMA_TXNLDTL_FL (line) render the Detail you see when you click one of the summary list items.  (TOP TIP:  Of all the pages delivered with PeopleSoft I think I would try and avoid customising this page due to a) it's high complexity and b) the likelihood of it changing with each image release.  
  4. When defining the Page Composer Registration it takes a bit of trial and error to identify which page fields can be referenced and used.  Suggest looking at delivered Page Composer definitions in Image 020 and cribbing these for your own definitions.  
  5. You can assign custom PeopleCode to page field events.  Create an App Package class which extends class EOPC_RUNTIME:pcFieldEventAction and assign to a field in the Page Composer Registration Field Event page.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

PeopleSoft in the Oracle Cloud

In 2016 Oracle released the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture in 8.55, PeopleSoft Update Images on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and produced a significant amount of tutorials and guides on running and managing PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud.

Exciting times.  There are some real opportunities here for customers to take advantage of the benefits of cloud - including cost savings, converting capital expenditure to operational, infinite on-demand compute capacity, performance improvements, ease of management, subscription based costs, simplification of database and operating system licenses, and more.

I wrote an article "PeopleSoft and the Cloud" which was published in the December edition of UKOUG's Oracle Scene magazine and I wanted to begin a series of discussions on the benefits and practicalities of running PeopleSoft in the cloud.

Let's simply start with "What is the cloud?"

My definition is quite simple.  When a vendor claims to provide compute infrastructure, platform (database and middleware) and application services they should exhibit these key characteristics:

1) Infinite On-Demand Compute Capacity.  If you need more compute capacity (servers or storage) then it's got to be available immediately.  If your "cloud" provider needs a few weeks or even a few days notice to provision additional servers then it's not cloud... it's hosting.  Compute capacity must be available on-demand.

2) Pay As You Go.  Subscription based pricing where you only pay for what you use is another characteristic of cloud.  If you can't quickly and easily add a few more servers because "it's not in your contract" then it's not cloud.

3) Automated Routine Operations.  Relocating one piece of server hardware in my data centre for another similar piece of hardware in someone elses data centre may still give some benefit in terms of cost saving, performance improvement and increased security.  However, what I really want is a cloud service that provides automation of routine operations such as server monitoring, operating system and application upgrades and patches.  SaaS typically provides this service but IaaS and PaaS should too.

Opportunities for PeopleSoft customers:

Experts in PeopleSoft and Oracle Cloud
  • Host your PeopleSoft Update Image in the Oracle Cloud
  • Lift and Shift your PeopleSoft environments into the Oracle Cloud
  • Implement PeopleSoft Cloud Manager (when it's released) to manage your PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud
  • Get upgraded to PeopleSoft 9.2.  Highly recommend talking with Cedar Consulting.  We run a very popular Rapid 9.2 Upgrade Masterclass and have completed 16 upgrades to-date with another 3 currently in flight. 
  • Implement a Selective Adoption Strategy.  Cedar Consulting are experts in Selective Adoption and can help your organisation gain the value from the continuous software delivery model that is in PeopleSoft 9.2.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

OpenWorld 2016 - Day 4 - Wednesday

The Oracle Key Message of OOW16

Day 4 of this "epic" conference began with one of the PeopleSoft big themes this year - Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft: PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface.  With lots of useful reminders and advice from Oracle's Matthew Haavisto, Pramod Agrawal and blogger/developer Sasank Vemana from Florida State University.

Here's my takeaways from this session.
  • PeopleTools 8.55 now has Fluid 
    • Activity Guides
    • WorkCentres
    • Navigation Collection pages
    • Simplified Analytics
    • Related Actions
  • Advised customers to follow the PeopleSoft UX Design Standards 
Sasank gave a useful overview of the universities mobile strategy involving a blending of various technologies including PeopleSoft Fluid, ModoLabs and PeopleMobile and ERP Firewall from GreyHeller.  

Matthew, Ramasimha and Kevin 

ElasticSearch Update

Only one session at the conference on PeopleSoft and ElasticSearch featuring Oracle's Matthew Haavisto and Ramasimha Rangaraju (Product Development) and Kevin Antoff from Wells Fargo.
Key Elastic Take-Aways

ElasticSearch is a proven, robust and high performance search engine and the PeopleTools team are committed to making the transition as easy and as painless as possible.  Wells Fargo have been working with Oracle to test performance and get the integrations ready and the results have been very positive.  Wells Fargo volumes are large enough to keep most PeopleSoft customers satisfied with over 4.5 million job applications a year indexed.  They've seen a 50% improvement in indexing speed and a "dramatic" improvement in search speed.  
Elastic Transition Steps
Customers will need to get Elastic software from Oracle as a few additional integration components have been added.  The installation will be done using a new DPK package but supported platforms will be limited to only those that are certified for Elastic - Windows and Linux (so no support for Solaris).  PeopleSoft have engineered the Search Framework configuration so you can define the new Elastic search instance and simply re-use the existing search definitions all while the existing SES search instance is operational.  The effect of this should be zero down time as transition occurs. 

All the front end search interface and index design pages all stay the same with the new Elastic search and the process of performing an initial full index followed by incremental partial indexes will also remain the same.  However, a particularly nice design change that has been made is that the Elastic search server will now subscribe to Integration Broker messages generated by the PeopleSoft indexing process.  With SES it's the other way around in that PeopleSoft pushes data to SES.  What this means in practice is that as PeopleSoft publishes data changes, Elastic will immediately subscribe to them and update the indexes.  This opens the way for PeopleSoft transaction page updates to publish a single update message which Elastic will immediately pickup.   No more out of date indexes.  

The one missing bit of information is which PeopleTools 8.55 patch Elastic will be available on.

Fluid Approvals

With FSCM Image 020 the MAP based approvals have been completely replaced with Fluid Approvals.  (MAP and Fluid are the two mobile platforms available in PeopleTools). This needs a longer write-up as there's some exciting things here but for now here's just some highlights:
  • Fluid Approvals is part of Enterprise Components not PeopleTools
  • MAP as a PeopleTools integration / mobile technology is not going away (in fact is being enhanced in 8.56)
  • Each pillar will adopt Fluid Approvals in an Update Image (HCM will come in image 020).
  • Cross pillar unified approvals view (ie showing approvals from both HCM and FSCM say) will not be possible unless both pillars are using the Fluid Approval framework.
  • Page Composer is used to configure the approvals list and detail views.  Page Composer is only supported for use with Approvals at the moment and whilst nothing has been announced by Oracle it's pretty clear the vision for Page Composer is far broader than just approvals.  Could be the way we build Fluid apps in the future (see my prediction #7 here)

Fluid Approvals is clever. But needs some explanation (coming soon)

Customer Appreciation Event at the AT&T Stadium

And then on to the home of the San Francisco Giants with 50,000+ conference delegates. Just a few photos from an interesting musical experience with Gwen Stefani and an awesome blast of nostalgia from Sting.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

OpenWorld 2016 - Day 3 - Tuesday

What will happen if I walk through the Tunnel of "O" ?
Tuesday is traditionally when you get to hear about all the new PeopleSoft stuff and today was no exception.  There's so much to talk about that I don't have time right now to anything more than just bullet some of the highlights.  I hope you find this useful.

Mark, Maria, Amira and Alexandra

(1) Practical Recommendations for Using PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface with PeopleSoft ERP.  

A panel session with members of the PeopleSoft FSCM product management and strategy team Alexandra Masters (SRM Product Management), Amira Morcos(Director of Financials Strategy),Marc Weintraub (Director PeopleSoft Strategy) & Maria Pollieri (ESA/Projects Product Management) .  These are just a few of their recommendations:
(sorry... didn't catch everyones titles so forgive me if I get them wrong).

  • Don't wait until you're on 8.55. You can implement Fluid on 8.54
  • Roll out incrementally. Find small user group and one or two Fluid apps to start with
  • Approvals functionality is key in FSCM and Image 020 contains completely new Fluid Approvals software which replaces MAP Approvals (which, incidentally goes out of support in June 2017 so you need be quick!)
  • Use Fluid as one of the tools to show senior management that PeopleSoft has value to your organisation
  • Use the Oracle Community Ideas space to suggest and vote on enhancement requests.

(2) General Session: Todays PeopleSoft is Intuitive, Powerful, and in the Cloud. 

Paco Aubrejuan has an impossible job of cramming in all the innovations of the last year into 45 mins.  But he did a cracking job. Will write more later but for now here's the highlights with some photos. 

Fluid news

Quote of the session "we're going to make it hard for you not to take Fluid".  

(I think this was Paco's way of encouraging customers to adopt Fluid).  Over 300 customers are know to have implemented Fluid apps so far and quite a few were sharing their stories at OpenWorld including my good friends at Oxfam.  
Oxfam Logo right at the top of Pacos slide. Nice!

A new stylesheets will be available in 8.56 called Classic Plus. It'll take a Classic page and make it "look" (not behave) like Fluid. This is an obvious thing to do and one that will make a big difference to users that switch between Classic and Fluid on the desktop.  
Classic Plus

Recap of Fluid features added since last OpenWorld

PeopleSoft Cloud Manager

PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is a front-end to DPKs and the Oracle Compute Cloud written in PeopleTools and made available via the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.  Use PCM to define your instance types (web, app, batch, Elastic, etc), the size (cpu, memory, disk) and the zones it belongs to (dev, test, prod). You can then create environments from these templates, start them, stop and tear-down (delete) them all from a Fluid based management console. Nice !  very nice.  Only works on Oracle Cloud though so you won't the benefit of this on Amazon or Azure.  This could be a real differentiator for Oracle.  Paco did a live demo! Very impressive. 

Fluid Expenses

Another live demo from Paco showed new Fluid expense entry where he used SMS texting to send an image of his receipt to Twilio who process this and drop the receipt into his Expenses Wallet in PeopleSoft.  Cool integration with messaging partner Twilio.  
SMS Expenses

Employee Snapshot

PeopleSoft HCM has a dashboard for Talent Summary. This is now written in Fluid and called Employee Snapshot.  I took a photo.  It looked nice and live demo from Paco.
Employee Snapshot

Elastic Search

Long awaited news on Elastic search and .... we still don't know which 8.55 patch release it will come with.   They did announce that they had been testing Elastic with Wells Fargo and that results were very positive.  
Elastic News

Page Composer for Approvals

It's just for approval Fluid pages at the moment but this looks like it's set to be the way we're going to be building all Fluid pages going forward.   Live demo from Paco!

Page Composer.

I have just run out of time.... so I'm going to hit publish and hope to have some time later to continue Day 3.

OpenWorld 2016 - Day 2 - Monday

More than just a conference theme.  Oracle is fully committed to all things Cloud
"Choose Your Cloud"

Oracle Cloud Machine

Choose your cloud ... and the choices are... "Public Cloud" or "Cloud at Customer".  So, for customers who don't want their data physically leaving their own data centres Oracle now have the "Cloud Machine" or "Cloud at Customer".  This is a simply brilliant idea and as far as I know none of the other cloud vendors has a solution like this.  In a nutshell you can have any of the Oracle IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud services but they're all hosted in a "black-box" machine which Oracle supply and maintain and which is located in your data centre.  This sounds like hardware rental but it's very different in that Oracle fully manage the device(s) and the Cloud services are all charged at the same Public Cloud rate. (there's a minimum starting config and you need to commit for a specific amount of time but you still pay the same rate as if you were on the Oracle Public Cloud).  Secured behind customers own firewalls and seamlessly integrated with Oracle Public Cloud this sounds like a neat solution to security concerns or corporate data policies which restrict the movement of data.

PeopleSoft Live Talk! Marc Weintraub and Greg Parikh

This entertaining PeopleSoft opener of the conference had a simple message....

The place to go for everything you need to know about PeoplerSoft Concepts, Applications, Technology, Peoplesoft on Oracle Cloud, and so much more.

The Spotlight Series and the Video Feature Overviews are also great places to go for information on PeopleSoft apps and tech.

Mark and Greg introduced the key themes for the PeopleSoft conference stream:

Jim Marion - PeopleTools Tips and Techniques

Standing room only at Jim's session. As always Jim delivered a valuable set of tips for using Event
Mapping, POI for reading & writing binary data, D3 libraries that are hidden away in PeopleTools 8.55 and Oracle JET components such as KnockoutJS.  Jim also gave a live and crystal clear walk-through of Fluid page design, what some of the UI layout issues are and how to solve them.  Jim has blogged extensively on JavaScript and more recently on JET here if you're a code monkey and enjoy this kind of thing.  Jim's technical skills combined the GreyHeller's mobile and security innovations should make a great combination.

These are just some of my highlights from this day at OpenWorld. As always the PeopleSoft team based on the Demo grounds are on hand to talk and listen to customers.  It's hard work to man these booths and so thank you to the PeopleSoft tools and apps people who make this such a valuable space at the conference.

PeopleSoft FSCM Showcase

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

OpenWorld - Day 1 - Sunday

The sky is blue, there's not a cloud in sight and it's very hot.  San Francisco is noisy and busy and Oracle OpenWorld 2016 has started.  Oracle are making up for the absence of airborne clouds. 

Cloud is not merely the conference theme this year but Oracle's corporate goal.  They want to see everyone using their cloud platform and software.

PeopleSoft users.... do not fear.  PeopleSoft has always been able to run in the cloud and with the release of PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture in 8.55 and the Oracle Marketplace Update Image Templates there are some great opportunities for customers.  More on this on my Day 2 update.

Sunday Morning

There was a great turnout for the Life Hacks for PeopleSoft session given by top blogger Sasank Vemana from Florida State University.  He demonstrated the power of PeopleSoft Branding using Macro Sets and Themes, something he's been blogging about for some time with very useful step by step examples.  You can find them all here 

He went on to talk about the value of one of the JET components RequireJS for managing custom JavaScript modules - a simple solution to a very real problem the only JavaScript developers will know about.  He also talked about KnockoutJS (another JET component now included with PeopleTools 8.55) and demonstrated page data binding.   You can read more on this on Sasank's blog here

The code writing experience in PeopleSoft (PeopleCode, SQL, HTML, JavaScript) has improved slightly in recent releases of PeopleTools especially for the PeopleCode editor in App Designer. But writing JavaScript directly in PeopleSoft in App Designer or in PIA is not a great experience.  Sasank demonstrated a way to embed the Ace web editor into the PIA page used to edit JavaScript. Nice!  Very nice!  (and it's free).  Ace is the editor used on Cloud9 IDE which I've been using for some time for writing JavaScript and Python online.  Check it out.  You can get a free account for one workspace.

He closed this highly informative session by showing a live demo of Google's reCaptcha plugin added onto the PeopleSoft signon page.  This can help protect your site from hacking by web bots.

Sunday (part ii)

My wife, Jo Lock, is here at OpenWorld to talk about her experiences at Oxfam GB with PeopleSoft Fluid user interface and so we took the chance to enjoy some of San Francisco.

Walked through China Town to Pier 41, lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe on pier 39, hired some bikes and cycled across the Golden Gate bridge (8 miles and some BIG hills), caught the ferry back from Sausalito across the bay to San Francisco and took the Cable Car back to Powell Street.