Thursday, 5 November 2009

UKOUG PeopleSoft Conference - 25 Nov 2009

The next UKOUG PeopleSoft Combined FSCM, HR and Technology SIG takes place on Tuesday 24 November 2009 at Baylis House in Slough.

These are great events for networking with other PeopleSoft customers and to learn about new PeopleSoft software including PeopleTools 8.50.

You can find the agenda here.

Hope to see everyone there.


Monday, 19 October 2009

Wednesday at OOW

OK... so I'm home now and just about over the jetlag. From my earlier post I might have led you to believe that all the happened on Wednesday was this awesome party! Well, that has 4 hours in the evening and the rest of the day was back to back sessions the highlights from which I'm going to try and share here.

PeopleSoft Tips and Tricks - Jim Marion (Oracle)

I've never listened to Jim and been disapointed - this hour was no exception. He's like a "customer of PeopleSoft working in Oracle" with a deep insight into PeopleTools from a developers perspective. Jim's Blog and New Book is a must.

His focus today was on customising PeopleSoft UI and on the more esoteric subject of Domain Specific Languages. He argued that as you wouldn't use PeopleCode to write the next wordprocessing package and that it is a language good for working with PeopleTools meta data that PeopleCode was a DSL. No surprise there for me - just great to hear an expert from Oracle saying this.

He discussed some methods for injecting JavaScript dynamically and contextually into PeopleSoft pages and wow'd the audience with some Web 2.0 enabled pages and he wasn't using the new 8.50 toolset! His blog and the powerpoint related to this session is the best place to get the detail. I'm not going to attempt to convey that here.

Got Enhancements for PeopleSoft PeopleTools?? - Jeff Robins (PeopleTools Strategy)

This session was an open discussion around several enhancements to PeopleTools suggested by customers on Oracle Mix. Again, I'm not going to try and convey the content here. The best thing to do is get into Mix and read the discussions there.

Some interesting debate around the reasons and value behind making App Designer more "modern" and around implementing version control for all objects.

Basically, have your say on Oracle Mix as the PeopleTools strategy team can't do everything for everyone. A very strong message came through that ongoing serious investment in developing PeopleTools and App Designer was planned and that this would be in areas that added nost value to most customers.

My final session of the day was my own that I was presenting. Given that Larry Ellison's keynote ran over by over 40 minutes and was still going when my 5pm session started I had a good number of enthusiastic PeopleSoft developers interested in what I had to say about safge and sound customisations. or... maybe it was the Fair Trade coffee and chocolate I was giving away :-) Any way my eariler blog entry will take you to all the slides if you're interested.

More on Thursdays final day when I get time later this week.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

OOW Wednesday - The EPIC OpenWorld Party

Man alive! What a party!!! Never been to a party with 40,000 people before. I only went because Roger Daltrey from The Who was on one of the stages and he was not a disappointment. Even at 65 years old he was totally awesome.... played every major Who song and brought the house down with his classic rock voice and stage presence. See videos below.
Today’s OOW was jammed full of great PeopleTools stuff. Ellison gave the Keynote announcing the new Exadata 2 server based (this year) on Sun hardware, gave IBM a hard time, offered $10M to anyone who can get IBM kit to run faster than Oracles and Governor Schwarzenegger made an appearance. I have tons of notes from today to type up.... it's 2:00am in the morning and having just got back from the OOW party I'll probably leave it until tomorrow.

Just a few more photos from Wednesday at conference and the party.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How to Customise PeopleSoft Applications Safely

I'm giving a presentation at 5pm today and I'm up against a very interesting showcase session on some of the new PeopleTools 8.50 features. Ah well.... never mind.... I'm used to talking to a small crowd. Maybe I'll go to that instead of my own!

Anyway, you can find the slides, SQL and the full published article that this presentation is based on below.

How to Customise PeopleSoft presentation

Full Article published in UKOUG Oracle Scene Magazine - 2008

SQL to report customisations for the live recording. You'll need an OracleDemand signon or conference signon to access this.

Tuesday at OOW

Wooah! Information overload !!!! and it's raining. I thought it never rained in California?

Interesting and very entertaining keynote this morning from Thomas Kurian (Executive VP of Product Development). Main themes were how Oracle can make your applications work together to present a single view of data from multiple systems using Oracle's AIA (Application Integration Architecture). Some slick demos of various Oracle Apps working together. The coolest demo was a an Oracle eCommerce site where the shopper not only has a very rich browser experiece in the online shop but when they click through to talk to a sales person the shopper's order is automatically opened on the sales centre staffs browser session. The sales taff can then discuss product configuration and push new or revised order line items back in realtime to the shoppers basket. Very impressive. Watch it in full or highlights here

Oracle Database Machine
Last year at OOW Larry Elison launched the Oracle Database Machine in partnership with HP. Only 12 months later the Oracle Database Machine Version 2 is launched this time with hardware from Sun (now there's a surprise). This is quite awesome hardware and if this is your "thing" then you can read more here . Oracle marketing is all over the place at conference claiming Sun hardware beats IBM with OLTP load and the HP based Oracle DB machine Version 1 seems to be no more.

PeopleTools Road Map
Jeff Robbins (Oracle PeopleSoft Snr. Director PeopleTools Strategy)
Jeff had an impossible job this year to pack all 550 new PeopleTools 8.50 features into 1 hour.

Just a few highlights from Jeffs session (if you want a feature overview check link above)
  • biggest release since 8.0

  • Tools testers had to build 10,000 new test cases to QA the new features

  • Enterprise Portal collaboration tools now built into 8.50

  • Major overhaul of UI ( shows how Oracle take UI seriously)

  • Jeffs team has launched code sharing site for customer and Oracle staff to share useful code snippets and projects.

Future PeopleTools plans
  • Contextual navigation menus (a regular portal menu would be dynamically loaded
    with application data based on the context of the current component).

  • Integrated search results.

  • More UI improvements

  • Secondary/associated pages

  • Improvements to related content feature

  • Bring more portal features into core Tools from Ent. Portal

  • More LMS (LifeCycle Management) features

  • Improvements around patching

  • Release more prebuilt installs on VMs
PeopleTools 8.50 Customer Highlights.
Mark Hoenermann (Oracle)
This was a packed standing room only audience listening to the beta test experiences of customers working on 8.50 beta. Oxfam was one of those selected for the beta programme and as 8.50 is now GA I guess it's ok for me talk about what we found. I also sat on the customer panel for this session and explained that Oxfam had concentrated it's initial testing on the network impact of the new AJAX based UI. Our findings to date show that the UI is good but a little rough around the edges (Some of the PeopleTools developers indicated patches 01 and 02 fix a number of UI related issues and 03 (out soon) and 04 wll fix more.

Generally the feedback from the beta testing was very positive. Installations went smoothly, UI testing was good and well received by users, performance seemed "snappy" and list of new eatures to explore extensive.

On the PeopleTools demo pod I met the developer responsible for the new Org Chart Class in PeopleCode. This is pure html and Javascript based hierarchical charting tool. Used in HCM for org charts but can be used for any hierarchical data. The org chart object maps onto a Tree API object and the visual effect is just awesome. I took a picture of the screen but you need to see it in action to get the full effect.

SOA and PeopleTools 8.50
David Bain (Oracle)
The big change in Integration Broker occurred in 8.48 and the 8.50 release changes
were described as "thin but wide". In other words a lot of new features added but
under the hood IB hasn't changed.
Key features were highlighted :
  • Messages can now be reused, nexted and combined in a "container" message.
  • Gateway loggin has been extended and is now easier to find error logs via PIA.
  • A new Application Engine handler type has been added so an inegration can trigger an AW to run to the process scheduler and still return a message on completion.
  • Improved and more accessible performance stats on messages including a graphical
    view of each stage of a message through IB with timings for each stage.
  • Various security enhancements
  • SAML node security
  • whole or part message encryption without using https
  • Options to exclude PSFT authentication token for specific integrations. This means that a Finance users can message HR without needing to be a user in HR (hooray).
  • Bulk load handler has been extended to allow an external system to map it's XML to a rowset message.
  • Improved service test tools- Single page to activate/deactivate all components of an integration (ie Service, Service Operation, handlers and routings)
  • Graphical representation of integration routings (this is nice)All IB objects can now be compared and copied in App designer (hooray!)

My last session of the day was a look at some of the web and app server features of 8.50.

Key features highlighted were

  • web server jolt pooling is now fixed for attachments in 8.50
  • jolt pooling can now be enabled at a site level rather than just for the whole
    PIA instance
  • Verity search server is now supported for all platforms and can be setup for
    failover and failback.
  • Separate PS_HOME and PS_CFG_HOME so that PeopleTools binaries can be secured but still allowing admin and reconfig of PIA, app server domains and process scheduler.
  • App domains for Integration Broker can be cloned and new "slave" domains created allowing offloading IB traffice from main transaction domains.
In conclusion.... what I like most about OOW are the things I liked about the old PeopleSoft Connect conferences and that is "the people you get to meet". Where else do you get to talk face to face with customers, PeopleSoft developers, Tools architects and product strategy.

There are thousands of PeopleSoft customers here and loads of Oracle PeopleSoft staff to network with. Looking forward to tomorrow.

More photos from the conference here....

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Monday Afternoon at Oracle OpenWorld

What a full day. There's a real buzz about this conference. Attended three sessions this afternoon and short summaries follow below.

My lunch box. knife and fork were all made of compostable potato starch. Cool! I think the ham sandwich was made of the same stuff though... not so cool!

One of Oracle's middleware competitors has had an army of "prison inmate clad" stunt guys chanting "I'd rather be dead than red" outside Moscone West. Hilarious - just waiting for a big punch up to happen! :-)

Several sessions throughout the day on the new 9.1 releases. I went to the Financials one and you can read more here

PeopleSoft Financials 9.1 is Released
Amira Marcos (PeopleSoft Financials Strategy) went at her usual breakneck speed to try and fit into the allotted hour the volume of new features in 9.1. I've just picked out a few...

  • Improved Period Close process using the Collaborative Workspaces now available in PeopleTools 8.50
  • Improved sub-system reconciliation
  • Improved consolidation reporting
  • New approval framework for GL, BI, AP and AR
  • New chartfield security (not row level) allowing 2 chartfields to be used to restrict access to transactions data using roles.
  • New searchable file attachments available on most Financials transactions (journals, vouchers, bills, etc)
  • New configurable transaction auditing. More sophisticated and easier to report on than PSAUDIT
  • Delivered Ledger Cube process for Hyperpion Essbase reporting.
  • Enhanced Commitment control
  • Enhanced Project Costing

Plans for 9.1+ include more user productivity improvements continuing to use the Web 2.0 features of 8.50 to improve data entry, flexible field framework to provide adding custom fields to transaction pages without the need for customisation (this sounds like a an 8.51 tools feature to me.... i'll confirm this tomorrow) and Oracle Business Intelligence realtime operational reporting into PeopleSoft database directly.

SOA and Web Services for PeopleSoft
Dan Cenido from Oracle's Integration team did a brave and successful live demo in front of 200+ people where he showed how to build and consume Web Services using PeopleTools 8.50. Dan did a superb job of building a functioning synchronous WSDL published integration in under 15 minutes. I'v done this myself in PeopleTools 8.49 and the tools to generate XSDs, WSDLs and to turn Component Interfaces into services are awesome but in 8.50 they get even better. Debugging and testing tools have improved, routings can viewed graphically (this is cool), services are now decoupled from service operations (in other words an Service Op can now belong to more than one Service) and a wizard now exists for consuming a web service.

PeopleSoft Platform Update
Mark Horneman (Principal PeopleTools Product Strategy Manager), Ravi Shankar (Oracle DB Platforms) and Jerry Zarate (Oracle). These guys are all part of Jeff Robbin's PeopleTools strategy team. Just a few significant highlights (in no particular order) regarding the new 8.50 release.

  • PeopleTools 8.50 requires 64 bit platform even though Tuxedo and WebLogic run as 32bit apps.
  • A very significant announcement was made that all new platform patches and service packs will be automatically certified by Oracle (I'm going to seek clarification on this tomorrow and try and establigh the level of testing done prior to certification).
  • NetScape browser no longer supported along with IE 6. IE8 is on it's way to being certified soon along with Windows 7 for client PeopleTools.
  • JROCKIT JVM now standard with 8.50. This consumes slightly more RAM that Sun's JAVA but is much faster. (incidentally at the Oracle 11g launch in London I heard that JROCKIT can run natively in a Hypervisor (Oracles own initially but soon VMWARE ESX). This means a web server with no operating system! ...interesting!
  • JOLT pooling can now be configured by PIA site rather than for the entire WebLogic domain.
  • Verity search server now runs in Tuxedo and can thereforebe configured to failover to another search domain just a like a regular app server. This can also take search load off your app servers.
  • Oracle are soon to make available Oracle Virtual Machines (OVM) of a Linux based install of PeopleSoft HCM demo system. This is a very nice service to provide for customers wanting to test PeopleTools (or HCM for that matter). And, because it's on OVM it's a fully supported platform.
  • MS SQL Server 2008 supported and on SQL Server the ACCESSID login now does not need to be a SQL sys admin level user.
  • Oracle DB native encryption (TDE) is now supported at a PeopleTools record object level.
Other News

Just a few other snippets of news from various out of session conversations and from the PeopleSoft demo pods.

  • There is a Microsoft Oracle CAB meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Not part of OOW but the SF Microsoft office is on the same block as the conference.
Saw a couple of nice features in 8.50 including
  • New Reporting Console component to replace/compliment Process Monitor and Report Manager.

  • Chart object in App Designer can now be used with a new Org Chart Class in PeopleCode to render hierarchical data in a very funky Web 2.0 draggable, interactive org chart. This is a really cool new 8.50 feature with loads of new possible uses.

Looking forward to tomorrow where more discussion on 8.50 is scheduled and I plan to explore some of the new Reporting Tools available.

Monday's photos can be found from here.

Check back for more updates tomorrow.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday morning at OpenWorld

So the IT world has turned full circle. From the days of the 70's when you bought "everything" from one computer vendor through the heady days of "open systems" and "open standards" in the 80's and 90's we now have Oracle wanting and "now able" to sell you everything again.

Charles Philips (Oracle President) said that buying IT solutions was like buying a car but needing to buy all the car components from several different vendors and having them all delivered to your garage where you'd hire a team of mechanics to try and fit it all together (without a manual for some of it). "Not anymore" he claims.

Just like OOW 2008 there was no mention of Fusion Apps but a very strong a clear message that their acquired apps (PeopleSoft, JDE, Demantra, etc) have been substantially develeoped and will continue to be developed. Their best in class apps coupled with Fusion Middelware technology and Oracle's inovation and services was todays reality. Paco Aubrejuan (Head of PeopleSoft at Oracle) shared the stage in the keynote with Philips and gave a brilliant demo of integrated budgeting and planning using PeopleSoft and Hyperion.

More later today. They just put the coffee and buns out!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Oracle OpenWorld 2009

I will be attending Oracle OpenWorld again this year and am really looking forward to networking with PeopleSoft customers and Oracle staff.

I'll be leading a session for PeopleSoft developers, analysts and project managers entitled "How to Customize PeopleSoft Applications Safely". It's session S308411 and I'll be sharing my own take on how to make safe customisations in PeopleSoft. Moscone West L3 at 5.00pm on Wednesday. Read more here. yes.... you'll still have time to get to the party!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

UKOUG PeopleSoft Annual Conference 19 -20 May 2009


This annual event for PeopleSoft customers has always been a very useful couple of days with plenty of opportunity for networking and hearing about product strategy. There are two solid days packed with PeopleSoft Technology, Finance and HR presentations and roundtables.

Agenda for this event can be found here.

Hope to see you there.