Sunday, 14 May 2017

5 Things about the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow on 26 April

It was very hard to pick only 5 things from the annual UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow event but ... somehow... I did it.

1) ORACLE SPEAKERS: It was wonderful to have Marc Weintraub (Senior Director, Product Strategy) and Julie Alonso (PeopleSoft HCM Product Manager) attend this annual one day event to recap on recent new features and enhancements in PeopleSoft applications and technology and to share with us news about the exciting things that are in the pipeline.
Marc Weintraub (Oracle) - UKOUG Welcome

2) ONGOING INVESTMENT: Oracle continue to invest heavily in PeopleSoft applications and PeopleTools and have performed some real "magic" with PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  PeopleSoft has proven itself over and over again to be a robust and highly extensible and adaptable system for running enterprises.  A skilled innovator is only as good as the tools they have available and the 1,100 innovators in PeopleSoft development team around the world continue to bring more and more value to our PeopleSoft systems.

More PeopleSoft value - Julie Alonso (Oracle)
PeopleSoft ticks all the boxes for me:

  • Strong commitment from Oracle and continued investment.
  • Broad and deep functionality.
  • Highly configurable for complex and demanding global organisations.
  • New features and functionality released every few months.
  • Customers can choose which features to take and when to adopt them (Selective Adoption).
  • Mobile enabled through the Fluid user interface.
  • Highly scaleable, standards based integration framework.
  • Complete development environment to build your own fully integrated applications
  • Ability to fix bugs yourself or make customisations (all the source code is accessible)
  • Features like Event Mapping allow you to customise without actually customising.
  • PeopleSoft runs in any cloud thanks to PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture and has the "game changing" Cloud Manager, a platform to support easy provisioning, cloning and management of PeopleSoft instances in the Oracle Compute Cloud.

3) COMMUNITY: The PeopleSoft community of customers and partners is strong in the UK.  Much of the value of these events is found in networking with other users and Oracle and in sharing ideas, stories and solutions.  I love this aspect of user groups and in the PeopleSoft world and I find most of the chatter at events is about the exciting new features rather than grumbling about the product.


4) LIVE DEMOS: There was a time when only the brave (or mad) did a live PeopleSoft demo during a conference presentation but now, it's expected and commonplace.  At this Roadshow event there were plenty of live demos of PeopleSoft all of which went exceptionally well.  These included:
Live PS instance provisioning in Oracle Cloud
* Guided Self Service in HCM from Julie Alonso, Oracle.
* Related Content and Fluid Development tips from Sarah Hurley and Naman Jain from Cedar Consulting.
* PeopleTools Test Framework - brilliant demo and insight from Ken De Landro, Hays.
* Provisioning an entire instance of PeopleSoft HCM Image 022 in the Oracle Cloud using Cloud Manager .

Black Friar Public House

5) NETWORKING: At what other user group in the world can you end with after event drinks and networking at the historic 1875 built Black Friar public house in central London.

Drinks at the Black Friar

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.