Sunday, 10 February 2019

Oracle India PeopleSoft SIG

I've been back in India this week spending time with some of our amazing Cedar Consulting India team who are based in Pune.  In this Cedar office, located in the west of this busy city, we have PeopleSoft and Cloud specialists, developers, PS admins and support people all contributing to the success of our clients around the world.
Some of the Cedar India Team

So proud to be part of this high-class team.

This is my second trip to India and I've totally fallen in love with this amazing country.  Great food, warm climate, Royal Enfield motorcycles and lovely people.  I can honestly say I've enjoyed spending some time with some quite wonderful people.



I then flew down to attend the Oracle India PeopleSoft Special Interest Group meeting. This is a 2 day event organised by Oracle to bring together PeopleSoft customers and partners to learn about PeopleSoft technology and applications and to network with the Oracle development team.

Jam packed room for the Oracle PeopleSoft SIG

Lunch with Ram, Anusha & Kamalesh - Event Mapping dev team

At the Oracle SIG I had an engaging 2 days talking with others about the exciting features of PeopleTools, discussing suggestions for enhancements, solving problems and dreaming up solutions to the challenges of the modern and evolving business world.  I count it a real privilege to belong to this global PeopleSoft community.


Nagendra Krishnappa
Cloud Manager Product Development Manager, Oracle
PeopleSoft as a Service is a very real opportunity for customers to migrate their on-premises PeopleSoft to run in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and to Simplify the Complexity of running their systems.  Moving to OCI enables an unprecedented level of automation in areas such as hardware and network provisioning, security, PeopleTools upgrades and patching and more.  PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is a key enabler in this  and I had the great pleasure to address the subject generally about PeopleSoft as a Service before Nagendra Krishnappa, Cloud Manager Product Manager, Oracle talked about the new features of PCM 08 and about ongoing investment in this exciting PeopleSoft application.

PeopleSoft as a Service - Simplifying the complexity of Selective Adoption
Never been to a PeopleSoft event where Oracle talk about a bunch of new features and then proceed to hand out touch tablets with access to live working systems (in Oracle Cloud of course) for delegates to learn how to use the new features.  Brilliant idea.  We were organised into tables and given uses cases to walk through on live PeopleSoft instances.  We did this with Drop Zones (new feature in 8.57) and Page & Field Configurator (a new Enterprise Components feature in recent images).

Rebekah Jackson (VP Product Strategy, Oracle) fronted both days first outlining Oracle's huge investment in PeopleSoft and then on day 2 opening the discussion on disruptive technology and what PeopleSoft are planning and thinking about in the realm of AI/ML, digital assistants and voice interaction.
Rebecca Jackson - VP, Product Strategy & Development, Oracle
Mark Thomas - Hays and myself talking about PeopleSoft Fluid 

Jeremy Pelley - Product Management Director, Oracle interviewed Mark Thomas from Hays and myself about our real-world experiences of Fluid deployment, development, testing and more.  This was a great opportunity to share stories about the significant value Fluid UI has in PeopleSoft and how the appearance of software systems plays a key role in determining it's popularity not just usability and mobile device enablement.






AI/ML interactive discussions
Oracle also ran an interesting session on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with interactive breakout group sessions trying to identify opportunities to develop solutions in PeopleSoft.






Other sessions included:

* HCM and FSCM roadmaps and product demos
* Data Privacy Framework in PeopleSoft
* Lifecycle Management and tools
* PeopleSoft as a Service in the Oracle Cloud
* Safer Customisations using Configuration Tools and better development practice

and so much more.

If you're in India and you use PeopleSoft then I highly recommend getting involved in organised community events by Oracle and by AIOUG 

See you again soon India.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Did you know? Home Link Now Works

Here's something I came across a few weeks ago that is so blindingly obvious I was blinded by the obviousness and simply didn't notice it.

Classic PeopleSoft pages have a New Window link.  (If you'd like to see this in Fluid vote here https://community.oracle.com/ideas/16701 )

When the user clicks the New Window link it opens a new browser window with the same URL as the original but with the _newwin string appended to site name.  This string is resolved into a new session state number by PIA servlet.  The session number preserves the state of each component in each new window.  This works fine until you click the HOME link which will reset the session number back to the original causing the session states of your multiple windows to get mixed up and confused.

However,  THIS NOW WORKS OK!   Somewhere around PeopleTools 8.55 or 8.56 (or maybe even earlier) this seems to have been fixed and I didn't notice.  Watch the video below to see this working. 

It's quite likely everyone already knows this and it was only me that wasn't paying attention.  If this blog does nothing else it'll help vote up the New Window Link on Fluid idea on the Oracle Community Ideas Space.


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

5 Things for 2019


Happy New Year !
It's 14 years since Oracle acquired PeopleSoft.  Can you believe that?  Another thing I'm finding hard to believe is that my son was only 3 years old when Oracle paid $10.3 billion USD for PeopleSoft and this month he starts driving lessons.  Where has the time gone ? 

So what does this year hold for you and me? One thing for sure is that the IT industry (a bit like our children) does not stand still.  The PeopleSoft system is no exception to this and with Oracle's vision for PeopleSoft in the cloud and continued investment in new features and functionality we all have lots to focus on in 2019.

So here's my 5 Things for 2019.  As always feel free to comment with opinion and alternatives. In no particular order but with the imminent release of 8.57 for on-premises customers this has to be #1 on my list.

(1) Get up and running on 8.57.  It was actually released back in September 2018 on PeopleSoft Cloud Manager only (see https://support.oracle.com/epmos/faces/DocumentDisplay?id=2448741.1) so the clock is already ticking on your 8.56 end of support dates.  General Patches and Platform Certifications support for 8.56 ends on 21st September 2019.  (that’s THIS year folks).    We will probably see 8.57 made available for on-premises installations this month.  If you can't wait then create an Oracle Cloud account, spin up an instance of PeopleSoft Cloud Manager, Putty into the PCM instance and access the DPKs from the /cm_psft_dpks mounted folder.
From MOS Doc ID 2238983.2


PeopleSoft in the Cloud
(2) Explore the benefits of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).   For cloud infrastructure there's  Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle OCI …. I guess … take your pick from one, all or none of these.    However, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has some nice benefits over the others if you're running PeopleSoft Cloud Manager and if your database platform is Oracle.

9.2 - Modern, Mobile, Ready for Cloud
(3) Upgrade to 9.2.  If you want an ERP system that has a strong future, committed supplier,  vibrant and enthusiastic user community,  feature rich,  extensible,  runs on mobile, is cloud ready, receives continuous updates throughout the year then don't swap out PeopleSoft for something else…. Upgrade to 9.2.  The team at Cedar Consulting have done so many 9.2 upgrades now we've lost count.  Call us if you need any advice or help.




(4) Action your Selective Adoption Strategy.  You have an investment in PeopleSoft applications that goes way beyond the initial cost of implementation or your last upgrade.  You've invested in managed and structured data, your staff are competent in using PeopleSoft, you've built secure policies and procedures to govern this critical business data and your end-users are familiar with PeopleSoft.  Action your selective adoption strategy.  Otherwise it's like buying an Aston Martin Vantage but never getting it serviced (the  cost of a nice car is more than just the original purchase price).  Get to know what's new in the latest images, run some investigations into possible optimisations and explore new features and functionality.  Get the most out of your investment.
 Oil ... essential maintenance

I would recommend starting with :
  • Get Current on latest image every 12 - 18 months
  • Upgrade to latest PeopleTools release every 12 - 18 months (do this at the same time as Get Current)
  • Apply PeopleTools patches in line with Critical Patch Updates every quarter
  • Review every Image release. Consider adhoc new features and/or bug fixes every 3 months.


Get one of these buttons!
(5) Learn something new every day.  Read the blogs (I use Feedly to manage the dozens of PeopleSoft and Oracle bloggers that I follow), read PeopleSoft Online Library , Sign-up for PeopleSoft Weekly newsletter,  listen to the psadmin.io podcasts, take an online class in CSS, find a friend and meet up every month to exchange ideas and learn together, get a free Oracle cloud account and learn about cloud infrastructure and the joy of sub-nets and security. Whatever you do… do something. And once you learn something…. Share it.  Push the learn button on your keyboard often.

And finally... for now.... I'd like to wish all my PeopleSoft friends around the world a very happy and peaceful 2019.    I look forward to learning more with you this year and working towards improving things for businesses and the workforce.  And remember… it's all about the people!



Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Sangam18 Conference - India




On 7th and 8th of December the All India Oracle User Group will be holding it's annual Sangam conference in Bengaluru.  With speakers from all around the Oracle world there'll be sessions on Oracle technology, cloud & PeopleSoft and some great opportunities to network.

I'm really looking forward to attending and presenting on PeopleSoft in the Oracle Cloud and on PeopleSoft Page Composer.

So if you have an interest in PeopleSoft or other Oracle applications or technology then try and get to Sangam18.  See you there.





Wednesday, 31 October 2018

OpenWorld 2018 - Day 3 Wednesday

Moscone West from Howard Street

Day 3 of OpenWorld and another full day of sessions, a hands-on lab, demo pods, networking and customer appreciation party to round it all off.

My first session of the day was a Selective Adoption - Customer Panel at which three PeopleSoft customers were answering questions on how they were operating the PeopleSoft continuous delivery model.  Julie Alonso (HCM Strategy, Oracle) introduced the session with some home truths about the value of keeping your systems well maintained along with results from a recent  customer survey.  I was pleasantly surprised by how many PeopleSoft customers have established the regular cadence of  routine get-current projects, PeopleTools upgrades and selectively adopting value added features throughout the year.  Over 80% of customers are doing a get current project from between every 3 months to every 18 months. Julie's key message can be summed up in this cartoon she used during her intro.

 There's a lot of potential value locked up inside each new PeopleSoft Image (version) and key to unlocking this is to engineer time in our business year to KNOW what's in each Image, EVALUATE it and PLAN to deploy now or in the next get current.  Each of the panelists stressed that corporate governance is key. Getting the Selective Adoption strategy burnt into the corporate lifecycle of change is essential.



The panel also stressed the importance of including PeopleTools upgrades and PeopleTools patching into a cycle.  Interestingly, some of the panel combined application updates and PeopleTools upgrades and some separated them.  The testing of a PeopleTools update has a very different profile than the more functional testing of an application update.  Got into some very interesting side conversations around the value of testing.  Could it be better to take the new software, only test what's absolutely business critical and then deal with the fallout from anything untested post go live?

My next session was a hands-on-lab showing the power of "infrastructure as code" using Hashicorp's Terraform running against OCI.   The lab delegates were all given their own OCI account for the duration of the session and we walked through the creation of 2 load balancers with a public IP, 2 web servers and a database server along with all the necessary network & security configuration.
I built this with Terraform

The infrastructure is not built using a script but rather with definitions in native Terraform or JSON format which the Terraform engine reads and executes.  There's a number of advantages in this.
  • Firstly, you can validate your build prior to actually creating the infrastructure;
  • because the definitions are stored in simple text files they can be secured and managed in a version control system;
  • because it's code there's consistency in build compared to if a human were manually following a set of written instructions.
One of the really powerful features of Terraform is the ability to validate that the built infrastructure still matches the Terraform definition file.  Differences between definition and reality can be either reported or the actual build can be re-adjusted back to match the definition. Powerful! For example, if someone manually opens a firewall port directly in OCI and the Terraform definition does not define this port then Terraform can be used to report this and then undo this manually made change.  Very useful for keeping environments secure and also for ensuring compliance because you can now demonstrate that not only did you configure security in a certain way but that the security is still defined in that way.

Oracle have made the lab guide and the required files public.  All you need is an OCI tenancy and the ability to edit a file in vi - good luck Windows admins :-)

   Lab Guide https://bitly.com/oow2018-hol6376-pdf
   Lab Files https://bitly.com/oow2018-hol6376-zip

(left to right - me, Dan, Kyle & Jim)
In the afternoon I was thrilled to be invited by Dan and Kyle to join them and PeopleSoft developer legend, Jim Marion, in a recording of the latest psadmin.io podcast where we talked about our conference highlights, new features in 8.57, Cloud Manager, Fluid development and "not all customisations are evil".    We could easily have talked for hours on these subjects and it's one of the most useful aspects of in-person conferences like OpenWorld.   You can listen online or download for later using the links below,






We love PeopleSoft !
My final session of the day was probably one of my favourites of the conference.  Customers Using Personalization, Configuration, Customization in PeopleSoft HCM .  It was in tough slot... late in the day just before the Oracle party (CloudFest) but still we had a great enthusiastic crowd showup.  I was speaking on a panel hosted by Tammy Boyles (PeopleSoft Director HCM Product Management ) alongside customers  Arkalgud Venkatesh (Alameda County), Bennett Walker (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) and Chris Pannell (Allen & Overy).

In this session each of us shared how we were exploiting the configuration capabilities of PeopleSoft to change PeopleSoft system to meet requirements but at the same time reduce technical debt.  You can get the slide deck we used here so you can get some idea of the things we talked about.  A lively Q&A session which could easily have gone on for hours as we explored the pros and cons of Event Mapping, Page & Field Configurator, using Event Mapping with Component Interfaces, using Related Actions for embedded page and field level help and more.  My good friend Chris, from global law firm A&O, closed the session with some fabulous insights into how to present the value from your PeopleSoft investment.  One day it might be right to move to software as a service in the cloud but take head of Gartner's warning in their March 2018 report What Oracle ERP Customers Need to Know About Oracle Cloud Applications.

"Avoid confusing the sourcing of new technology with the fulfillment of business requirements. A full "rip and replace" of your current applications may not be your best option." [Gartner, March 2018]

And then on to San Francisco's AT&T Park for the Oracle party to listen to bands I'd never heard of (except Beck that is).  The guitarist from Portugal. The Man  was incredible - you might know them from this catchy tune.  Reminded a lot of early Gary Moore (am I showing my age?) Who's Gary Moore... check this out.










Wednesday, 24 October 2018

OpenWorld 2018 - Day 2 Tuesday


"The World's Most Intelligent..."
The second day of OpenWorld begins with a morning at the demo pods chatting with the PeopleSoft team about Cloud Manager 08 (coming soon), Drop Zones and new 8.57 features of Change Assistant.  

Did you know:  In 8.57 Change Assistant jobs can now be run in "Subsequent Pass" mode and not just Initial and MTP modes?  It always seemed a bit odd doing a Move-To-Production against my UAT or Test system!

Dave Bain (Oracle PeopleTools)
Next stop was to the main PeopleSoft session of the day... Applications Technology Update and Roadmap for PeopleSoft presented by Dave Bain (Oracle PeopleTools Strategy).   Two main news items here PeopleTools and PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  Here's a quick summary:
  • PeopleTools 8.57 went GA in September 
    • Support for Drop Zones.  This is the ability to add custom fields/subpages into delivered application pages that have been enabled for Drop Zone.  We should start to see delivered pages enabled for Drop Zones from Image 30.  Sounds like this is for Fluid only initially.  This will eventually be a great addition to the Configuration tools now available in PeopleSoft.
    • Personalised Analytic Notifications.  This adds a feature into existing Pivot Grid technology to allow a user to create their own threshold alerts on the Pivot Grid data itself.  (eg notify me when my number of unapproved Purchase Orders exceeds 20).  Currently the notification can be a push notification and/or email but their working on adding SMS to this too. Nice feature!
    • More PUM Analytics to help understand customisation impact.
    • Improved multi-facet search selection in Elasticsearch
    • Fluid page preview in App Designer
    • Event Mapping visibility in App Designer
    • and more....
  • PeopleSoft Cloud Manager Image 07 also released at the same time
    • Read my blog here for detail of "The Magic Upgrade Button".  Nice shout-out from Dave on the work that Cedar Consulting have been doing in running PeopleSoft on OCI.
    • New features coming in Cloud Manager Image 08 include
      • Bare Metal shape support
      • Adding custom scripts (.sh and Python) to pre and post build
      • More granularity over defining nodes (ie web only or web and app).
      • Ability to import Oracle databases and features to support RMAN (that's Oracle backup and restore for anyone not using Oracle DBMS)
      • GA could be later this year (2018)
Cedar Consulting & PeopleSoft 8.57 in OCI - Upgrade Magic


The PeopleTools team continues to deliver on their commitment to:
  1. Optimize the user experience
  2. Provide tools to help isolate customisations
  3. Help customers migrate PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  4. Automate the lifecycle processes (patching, app updates, install, config, etc)
  5. Prepare to adopt new technology (ie chatbots, digital assistants, etc)
(left to right) Me, Dan Iverson & Kyle Benson (psadmin.io),
Jim Marion (jsmpros.com)
and Ranjith Ramachandran (Presence of IT)
One of the most valuable aspects of any conference is that you get to meet some great people - share stories, dream up solutions together and share ideas.   Hanging out with these people helps me to learn more, get different perspectives and also to share my own experiences and knowledge.

My next session of the day was a set of partners all working with PeopleSoft in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.  Customers Using Oracle Cloud for PeopleSoft - featuring Cloud specialist Presence of IT, Astute, SpearMC and Cedar Consulting.  Fielding questions from the audience I found this session really useful even though I was one of the panellists.  

And finally, another customer success story - Customers Using the Modern User Experience of PeopleSoft HCM from Oliver Fix at Deutsche Bahn.  These guys MAKE TRAINS and they're pretty successful at it too.  I knew I was in the right session when the speakers first slide looked like this below.  Never mind PeopleSoft... tell me about the history of German train engineering!  
Another PeopleSoft Train fan !

The customer talked through the business benefit of creating a compelling user experience and how they achieved it using Fluid branding, Homepages, Tiles and Navigation Collections combined with Interaction Hub and a few neat plugins from Portal champions Intrasee.  I have to say... it looked pretty good... in fact ... it looked outstanding.  Important tip of the day "don't ask a developer to do the visual UI design - hire a professional UI designer". My photos below really don't do it justice. 
Interaction Hub Landing Page

Employee Self Service - Personal Details

And finally the view from the Quest party venue overlooking San Francisco bay bridge. Another great networking time with customers, partners and the Oracle PeopleSoft team.



Tuesday, 23 October 2018

OpenWorld 2018 - Day 1 Monday

The first day of Oracle OpenWorld 2018 and it's been a full day.   Here's a few of my highlights.



















Dan and Kyle from psadmin.io
Advanced PeopleSoft Administration Using the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture : Dan and Kyle from psadmin.io gave a brilliant session describing the role of DPK and ACM in the world of automating PeopleSoft installation and configuration.  They included a cool demo of using ACM (Automated Configuration Management) to configure ElasticSearch server and deploy and build a set of selected indexes - all with literally one click.


Jim Marion 
Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques : Jim Marion from jsmpros walked through some cool development ideas using CSS and Event Mapping to a backed room.  Did you know the Fluid Homepage was "just a grid" ? If it's a grid of rows then we can apply conditional formatting to each tile by injecting our own Page Activate code using Event Mapping.



Paco Aubrejuan
PeopleSoft Update and Vision: Ongoing Investment and Long-Term Support: Paco Aubrejuan heads up the PeopleSoft division at Oracle and in this keynote session successfully crammed into 45 minutes the PeopleSoft vision, strategy  and several live demos of new and upcoming features.

There continues to be an exciting future for PeopleSoft.  Loads of new features and enhancements planned, exciting innovations like chat-bots and digital assistants all backed by a passionate and dedicated team under Paco.

Chatbot in PeopleSoft
Highlights included:
  • Premier Support through to at at least 2030
  • Drop Zones: adding custom fields to delivered pages.
  • New features in Search framework plus new version of ElasticSearch plus Kibana
  • Unified Related Content frames in Fluid
  • Live conversation with a chatbot built using Oracle Mobile Cloud launched from inside PeopleSoft
  • Improvements to LideCycle management tools.
  • Pivot Grid threshold notifications.
  • Define threshold rule and notification