Sunday, 14 October 2018

My Top 5 Things at OpenWorld 2018







In the last 12 months since OpenWorld 2017, the PeopleSoft team have released over a dozen new images across HCM, FSCM, Campus, CRM, ELM and Interaction Hub. 12 patches for PeopleTools 8.56 and released the all-new, cloud-first PeopleTools 8.57. Top that all off with PeopleSoft Cloud Manager releases 06 and 07 and you have something of a busy year!

The innovative and dedicated PeopleSoft product development teams at Oracle have continued to deliver on Paco Aubrejuan's promise to innovate and deliver.  Watch here ... "look at what we've done...." he says when highlighting the past investment and then goes on to say it's as strong as ever.  "The current state of PeopleSoft is the best it's ever been".  This video was recorded nearly a year ago and it has to be said again ... look at what Oracle have done!

The future looks very bright indeed for customers running PeopleSoft applications.

So OpenWorld 2018 is around the corner and here are my top 5 things to look out for if you're attending (if you're not attending then I hope my daily update while at the event will help a little).

(1) The people.  It really is about the people... the customers, the developers, the strategy teams, product development, the partners... they are all real people with real experiences (thankfully, none of them are machines yet and there's no sign of any Artificial Intelligence amongst any of them either).  Any event where people get together with a common interest always makes for terrific value.  Look out for UK Oracle User Group Apps18  conference coming up on 3 - 5 Dec in Liverpool, UK (home of the Beatles) followed closely by the All India Oracle Users Group Conference - Sangam18 in Benguluru, India in which I'll be presenting.  More ton these 2 events later.

(2) Paco Aubrejuan's keynote is on Monday @ 16.45 in Moscone South 153/155.  PeopleSoft Update & Vision [GEN4141].  The big PeopleSoft picture. Don't miss it.

(3) Customer stories.  This is like item #1 but just a bit more formal.  I love hearing about real stories of what customers and partners are doing with PeopleSoft.  Come and hear these 2 session that I have the privilege to be involved in.

Customers Using Oracle Cloud for PeopleSoft [CAS4438] on Tuesday @ 12.30 in Moscone West 3011 
Customers Using Personalization, Configuration & Customization in PeopleSoft [CAS4322] on Wednesday @ 16.45 in Moscone West 3012

(4) Something for the Techies. After all there'd be no application without PeopleTools... and OpenWorld wouldn't be quite the same without the legendary Jim Marion and the super-admins Dan & Kyle.

* Advanced PeopleSoft Administration Using PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture [TIP2994] - Dan Iverson & Kyle Benson (psadmin.io) on Monday @ 11.30 in Moscone West 3011
Getting the Most Out of PeopleTools: Tips & Techniques [TIP4444] - Jim Marion (jsmpros.com) on Monday @ 3.45 in Moscone West 3016

(5) Finally something slightly off-piste for us PeopleSoft aficionados.  A session from Oracle DevOps specialists -   Using Ansible, Terraform, and Jenkins on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure [DEV5582on Thursday, Oct 25, 9:00 a.m. | Moscone West - Room 2001

Really looking forward to meeting everyone again, to learning new things and to hear about Oracle's vision of the future. See you soon.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

PeopleTools 8.57 Upgrade Magic

PeopleTools 8.57 is available but only on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure - https://blogs.oracle.com/peopletools/peopletools-857-is-available-on-the-oracle-cloud

More on 8.57 soon once I get some time to play!

This was the first time I've had the chance to push the magic "Upgrade PeopleTools" button against a running PeopleSoft instance in PeopleSoft Cloud Manager (PCM).  Not because I didn't want to push-the-button but simply because all PS Images that could be run in PCM were already running on the latest PeopleTools version.  Now 8.57 is out.... I can "push-the-button".




STEP 1 -  I used PCM to subscribe to PeopleTools 8.57 (Tools_857_Linux) updates and they magically appear in my PCM Repository.
PeopleTools 8.57 Subscription in PCM


STEP 2 - Drill into the Details of the Environment you want to upgrade and select Upgrade PeopleTools (NOTE: This needs to have been created using the PUM Fulltier topology as it needs to have a configured Windows Server)

STEP 3 - Select the target release from the Upgrade To drop-down list (There's only one option currently as only patch 01 is available).

STEP 3 - Push the Upgrade button (oh... yes... and respond to the Are You Sure message)

STEP 4 - Brew some fine coffee... sit back... and wait.    Mine took 3.5 hours.  It seems that most of the time was spent processing the App Designer project on the Windows Upgrade Workstation.  Need to look into why.

The PeopleSoft Cloud Manager development team are doing a great job with automating some pretty complex operations here.  Big shout out to Nagendra Krishnappa and all the team.


8.57 Upgrade Completed


Behind the scenes PCM will shutdown the PeopleSoft stack and do the upgrade.   install a new 8.57 PS_HOME, install Change Assistant, load up the 8.57 upgrade template and execute against the target - followed by a redeployment of all the domains.  8.56 and 8.57 images are all running Tuxedo 12.2.0 and WebLogic 12.2.1.3 so no upgrade of these components were necessary.  However, it does seem to have patched Tuxedo and WebLogic.

Tuxedo patched during upgrade to 8.57


WebLogic patched during upgrade to 8.57




Tuesday, 10 April 2018

PeopleSoft Selective Adoption - Some thoughts from the front line

In this blog post I 'd like to share a few of my own thoughts on application maintenance strategies for customers running PeopleSoft applications on release 9.2.
Pre and Post Selective Adoption

Introduced with PeopleSoft 9.2 back in 2013 PeopleSoft Selective Adoption has seemingly changed everything to do with software maintenance.   To look at options and strategies for 9.2 customers now it's helpful to remember the "old way" how things used to be prior to Selective Adoption.

Pre 9.2 Software Delivery Model (the Old way)

Before Selective Adoption customers had the following software lifecycle events:
  • Every 3 to 4 years there was a major Application Release (8.9 in 2003, 9.0 in 2006, 9.1 in 2009, 9.2 in 2013) .  These major releases included new features, enhancements and defect fixes.
  • Regular individual Product Updates (patches) to fix specific defects.
  • Periodic module based Bundles that were made up of all product updates released since the last bundle. Bundles were not cumulative - so, if you needed a fix in, say, FSCM GL Bundle 23 then you had to apply bundles 1 through 22 first as these were mandated pre-requisites.
What did customers do with this software delivery system?
  1. Do nothing.  Wait for the next major release and then perform a major upgrade.  A lot of customers did this.
  2. Apply individual product updates as and when necessary to fix specific issues.  However, if the individual update was no longer available due to being rolled into a bundle then customer would need to apply the bundle in order to get the specific update. Any prerequisite updates and/or bundles would also have to be applied first.
  3. Apply every bundle as it became available. Bundles only contained bug fixes so the only value you really got was the software worked as it should have done in the first place (i.e. bug free)

Post 9.2 Software Delivery Model (the New way)

Software Lifecycle
PeopleSoft Selective Adoption was designed so that customers would have a choice in selectively applying updates rather than the previous method of either an entire application upgrade or applying a series of module based Bundles.  It also added a higher degree of automation of the lifecycle processes.

What you get with PeopleSoft Selective Adoption is:
  • New functionality, enhancements and bug fixes every 12 weeks delivered in a fully functioning PeopleSoft Image (PI)
  • Individual PeopleSoft Release Patchset (PRP) which update the application between PeopleSoft Images typically if the update is critical.    Read more here in PeopleBooks.
  • No plans for a 9.3 major release. (There's no need for this as new functionality is delivered incrementally).
So, if you're on 9.2 here are your options:
  1. Do nothing and wait for the next major application release.  You might be waiting a long time as Oracle have no plans for a 9.3 release. (Having "no plans" is not the same as will never release.  However, with the continuous software delivery mechanism now in place I think it's likely we'll just find the "9.2" number getting dropped when referring to PeopleSoft and an increase in referring to the PI number).  Either way - option 1 exists.  If the software is working for you and you're inside support windows then you can legitimately do nothing.  
  2. Apply individual product updates as and when required.  These updates include application bug fixes but will also deliver new functionality and enhancements.  You can decide how frequently you make change - Quarterly, Annually.  You could also do a large get-me-current every 2 years say and pickup minor fixes and enhancements in smaller projects throughout the year.  So many variations of this.
  3. Apply every update as it becomes available.  If you choose this option then you'll always be on the latest versions of the software.  All known defects fixed and all new  features available for you to deploy.   Regular and frequent change requires planning and sound management.
Does this sound similar to the old way? Do nothing; Apply selected updates; Apply every update ?  In the next few weeks I plan to explore these 3 options in depth and show just how valuable Selective Adoption is.

As always feel free to contribute to the discussion in comments below.  Always happy to hear alternative opinions.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

5 Things to do with your PeopleSoft system in 2018

Well 2018 is well under way and already I've been working on some exciting PeopleSoft things - PeopleTools Upgrades, SES replacements with Elasticsearch, PUM Get Current, REST web services and it's ONLY the beginning of February.

If I didn't wish you a Happy New Year in January then I do so now.  I hope that 2018 is peaceful where you are and that you have many exciting opportunities to make a difference in your corner of the world wherever that might be.

I though it might be useful to highlight my top 5 things that I would generally recommend PeopleSoft user's be looking at this year.

OPTIMIZE: Invest time and effort to optimize your PeopleSoft applications. You could improve your business processes, make your end-users life easier, save money and time and retain and attract the best staff (a companies competency to manage and innovate is judged during the recruitment and on-boarding cycles).  There is so much wrapped up in this one that it requires it's own write-up.  There's going to be no slow down in the PeopleSoft application innovations.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eygB14gxAKI&feature=youtu.be&t=16m17s Doubt this?  Look at what PeopleSoft have done over the last few years and then listen to this  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eygB14gxAKI&feature=youtu.be&t=22m38s

UPGRADE to 9.2: If you're not on 9.2 then you're missing all the fun.  Amazing user interface, innovative self-service apps, streamlined continuous software updates, mobile enabled, and so much more.  Get onto PeopleSoft 9.2. It's where all the innovation is happening.

UPGRADE PEOPLETOOLS: Upgrade to 8.56 or wait for 8.57. Stay supported, stay secure improve user experience and take advantage of new innovations.  The decision to wait until 8.57 really depends on timing.  If you can't start your tools upgrade until later in the year it may be worth waiting a bit until 8.57 comes out.


MOVE TO ORACLE CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE: Move your PeopleSoft instances to Oracle cloud infrastructure .  Even if this is just your PeopleSoft Update Images, Demo systems or your development instances it's likely you'll see a dramatic improvement in performance, cost saving and agility.  No one generates their own electricity these days so why generate you're own compute and storage.


SWITCH TO ELASTICSEARCH: Replace Oracle SES with Elasticsearch or implement PeopleSoft search framework for the first time.  This is so easy in most cases and is a complete no-brainer. Elasticsearch takes 47 seconds to install and slots in nicely to your existing PeopleSoft instances without too much change required. I recommend following Oracle's advice to get onto PeopleTools 8.55.19 or 8.56.04 https://blogs.oracle.com/peopletools/planning-to-deploy-elasticsearch-with-peoplesoft-between-now-and-early-2018. Providing search capability against your application data can transform not only how users interact with the system but also how they feel about the system. (Imagine the world wide web without Google or Bing).

So here's to another exciting year with the PeopleSoft technology and software innovators at Oracle.

Monday, 27 November 2017

5 More Things on PeopleSoft Cloud Manager 05

PeopleSoft not only runs on cloud infrastructure but is intentionally engineered for the kinds of platform and application automation essential for managing applications in the cloud. 

PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture addresses installation, configuration, testing, patching and upgrades and this all comes together in PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  



Loads of PeopleSoft content on Tuesday
On Tuesday 5 December I'll be covering this material in depth at the annual UKOUG Apps 17 conference.  I look forward to seeing you there if you can make.  Register for Apps17 here.




In September 2017 Cloud Manager 05 was released and here's my top 5 observations.

(1) New instances provisioned in Cloud Manager can now be migrated to use Orchestrations.  By default if you select STOP in the environment action menu the PeopleSoft application, web and batch services will be stopped.  This is useful but won't save you any money!  If the environment is migrated to using orchestrations then the STOP action will shutdown the instances itself on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.  If the instance is running you pay for CPU and storage.  If the instance is stopped then you only pay for storage.

(2) New PeopleSoft environments are provisioned using Linux and Windows template images.  It is essential you get the Linux and Windows 2012 r2 images from Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Before you can use them in Cloud Manager you first need to update the Windows images with latest updates from Microsoft.  You can also add in your favourite developer tools, create new users and any other configuration you normally do.   How to create a private Windows Image for Cloud Manager.

(3) There is a very nice feature which will automatically download the latest Cloud Manager Update Image which can then be used to automatically update your currently running Cloud Manager instance.  The first version of this is a bit buggy but I'm sure the Cloud Manager development team will sort this out.  At writing this (November 2017) I had to manually intervene with a few steps and there is an essential PRP that must be applied to the CM Update Image before it can be used.  Read Automated Self-UpdateOf Cloud Manager From Cloud Manager Settings | Manage Updates Page Fails AtStep "Apply PRP to PUM source.




(4)  A Cloud Manager provisioned environment can now be upgraded to the latest PeopleTools patch or even upgraded to the latest PeopleTools version.  This really is quite magical.



Think about what's going on here.

  • download the relevant tools patch onto your client and Linux machines
  • install Change Assistant on client
  • Install PeopleTools on client
  • Shutdown PIA, App and batch domains
  • Run CA job to Apply PeopleTools Patch to target database
  • Install patch files on Linux server to update PS_HOME
  • Redeploy PIA, App and batch domains
  • Start everything back up again
  • All in just over 20 mins !


(5) Cloud Manager REST APIs are now available.  This is a nice touch and demonstrates just how extensible the PeopleTools framework is.  Cloud Manager creates a simplified user experience to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the PeopleSoft DPKs - This is very useful - if you're a human!  But what if you want to build automated schedules to stop and start Cloud Manager environments using your companies enterprise scheduler?  Well ... there's an API for that.

http://web_server/PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1/?action=start

http://web_server/PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1/<enviID>?action=stop

The environment ID (EnvID) doesn't seem to be visible anywhere in the Cloud Manager user interface and so we need to use the REST API to list environments to find it. The output is a JSON response containing a list of all Environments and their status.

http:///PSIGW/RESTListeningConnector/PSFT_PA/environment.v1


[
    {
        "environmentID" : "434343",
        "environmentName" : "CDMSLFUPD1",
        "description " : "Environment for Cloud Manager Self Update",
        "status " : "Stopped"
    },
    {
        "environmentID" : "434344",
        "environmentName" : "FS025E",
        "description " : "Test system for FS 025",
        "status " : "Running"
    },
    {
        "environmentID" : "434345",
        "environmentName" : "HCM024A",
        "description " : "",
        "status " : "Stopped"
    }
]



Watch all the magic here.






Tuesday, 21 November 2017

OOW17 Day 4 Wednesday



OK.....  so it's taken me a little while to complete my writeup for the final day of the 2017 OpenWorld conference. For some reason when I got back to the RealWorld from OpenWorld I had a million and one things to do and ended up a bit busy.

Anyway, for what it's worth let me try and outline highlights from the final day.

One of the things I most enjoy and value about all PeopleSoft events, including OpenWorld, is the opportunity to meet people from the PeopleSoft community. 
A recent and rapidly growing part of this community, focused on PeopleSoft technical administrators, has been organised by Dan Iverson and Kyle Benson from http://psadmin.io .   They run a blog, weekly podcast, training on things like DPK and facilitate the psadmin.io Slack channel.  Drop them a line here if you want to join in.
To round of the conference this year they hosted a podcast featuring several PS techs from around the world and I was honoured to be invited to join in. You can listen in on this fascinating discussion here http://psadmin.io/2017/10/20/103-oow-2017-all-star-recap/ 

psadmin.io podcast in the basement of the Marriott

Some of  the many PeopleSoft admins 

The other community that I enjoy being part of is the My Oracle Support Community (MOSC) site. You'll need an Oracle account to access it but it's a great place to engage with customers and Oracle support staff to get help, discuss issues and submit and vote on enhancement requests (ideas) to Oracle development teams.
The PeopleTools MOSC site can be found here  https://community.oracle.com/community/support/peoplesoft/peopletools_-_psft

HR OnBoarding

During the afternoon of the final day I sat through some excellent presentations on enhancements to Core HR including the new OnBoarding feature.    Not a new module to buy but included in your core HR license.  Oracle Product Management made a point of this fact and we should start to see more and more new features being delivered in core HR.  If you get it as part of your core license then it's more likely to get used is the thinking.  I like it !

This nice new feature that can help customers implement more consistent and audited processes for bringing new staff into their organisations and ensuring they know what to do, where to go, who to meet, what documents are needed, etc.  It may also help customers who already have on-boarding systems become more efficient by bringing it into PeopleSoft where integrating with core HR data should be much easier.

  • Read it in PeopleBooks
  • Watch it on YouTube 























  • CloudFest 2017

    And the Oracle party this year - again at the AT&T Park - home of the Giants baseball team.

    Ellie Goulding and The Chainsmokers - "who ???" ---- oh dear.... I must be getting old!







    Thursday, 5 October 2017

    OOW17 Tuesday Day 3


    Yet more blue sky outside, it's warm and we're all stuck in an air conditioned conference centre.  I hope you're feeling suitably sorry for me.  Today I've attended a number of conference sessions. Here's some highlights.

    PeopleSoft PeopleTools Platform and Infrastructure Overview - Mark Hoernemann doing a most
    excellent job juggling a million and one platform version number combinations.  Microsoft Windows Server 2016 hasjust been certified on 8.55 and 8.56.  Me thinks the myriad of ever increasing layers of software each with the version dependencies in just the kind of thing that drives people to the cloud.

    Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft PeopleTools: Tips and Techniques - The legendary Jim Marion accompanied by Sarah (book co-author, editor and Jim's wife) gave a brilliant masterclass in Fluid development and Event Mapping.  I love Jim's style and I always learn something new when I attend his sessions and I leave inspired to learn more.  Check out Jim and Sarah's training courses here ....  http://www.jsmpros.com

    Sorry Jim.... as exciting as Fluid development and Event Mapping is .... I want to focus today on the exciting news about Classic Plus announced in session CON6948- PeopleSoft User Experience: Improving Classic Pages with Classic Plus.

    At OpenWorld 2016 we first heard about Classic Plus in Paco's keynote - a new style sheet coming in PeopleTools 856 that will make Classic pages look like Fluid pages.

    What we didn't realise until Dave Bain's session today is that the Applications teams are working towards converting all Classic Pages to Classic Plus.  Here's what I know and what I read from Dave's session:


    • To enable Classic Plus you need to be on PeopleTools 8.56.
    • It's enabled at a Global level in PeopleTools > Portal > Branding System Options
    • Once globally enabled each Classic component needs to have the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property set ON if you want the component pages to appear with Classic Plus styling.  
    • In making Classic pages "look" like Fluid the Classic Plus stylesheet changes certain cosmetic characteristics of the page. Fundamentally, the changes relate to creating more space between page objects.   Inevitably, this results in some cosmetic tweaking on the page itself using Application Designer.
    • What the Applications teams (HCM, FSCM, ELM, Campus, CRM, etc) have been doing/done is to make every Component/Page work with Classic Plus and to fix any easy to make cosmetic page issues.  Most pages work straight away and some have required just some minor tweaking to fix field alignment issues.  We'll see the results of this work in the next round of PI releases (HCM024 and FSCM026)
    • Whilst the intent is to make every page work with Classic Plus there are some pages that are just too complex and cannot easily be tweaked.  These pages, for now at least, will remain on Classic.
    All sounds simple right?  Well, it get's a little more involved.  Here's what's going to be delivered in the next PIs.
    • If the PeopleSoft Apps team opened every Component and set the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" property ON to make it Classic Plus then that Component would have changed AND when you came to do a get current you'd be picking up lots of modified Component definitions. This is too big an issue for customers to deal with as it would involve a significant re-customisation effort plus the size of the change package would be considerable.
    • To solve this problem PeopleSoft are delivering a Classic Plus Configuration page.  The customer selects the Components they want to enable for Classic Plus and a batch process (AE) then does a bulk update of the "Apply Fluid like theme for Classic" flag on each of these.
    • This will provide customers the choice of enabling Classic Plus on all pages, some or none.
    So, why Classic Plus?  Here's a good summary slide.