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.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

OpenWorld 2016 - My Top 10 Agenda Highlights

I cannot believe it's a year since OpenWorld 2015.  Some say it's age that makes time go faster, some say it has something to with not watching a boiling kettle, or that time flies when you're having fun... still others say it has something to with the orbit of Jupiter and it's proximity to the Earth....hmmm... well I have a different theory.

Time flies when you're busy playing with all the great Oracle toys released in the last 18 months. 

Oracle Compute (IaaS) and Database (DBaaS) Services, PeopleTools 8.55, PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture DPKs, ACM, Oracle Marketplace provisioning of PeopleSoft Images, release of FSCM PUM Images 016, 017, 018, 019 and 020, HCM Images 015, 016, 017 and 018, to name but a few.  And when you're busy ... time flies.  There's simply not enough time to play with all the toys as much as I'd like to.

This is a great dilemma to have.  Can you imagine working with a dead, end of life product, where there was no investment and no strategic thought going into it's future and direction, no innovative and enthusiastic community of people who love to talk and share about how to get the best out of our investment?  So...I'm confident Oracle won't let up on the innovations this year; and our wonderful community of people will keep sharing;  and so we should expect this years Oracle OpenWorld conference to be another great one and another busy year of play.

The conference agenda is packed as always and I've struggled to keep my agenda highlights down to 10. But here goes. I look forward to seeing old and new friends at this years conference.  My top 10 agenda highlights for the 2016 conference are:


Sasank Vemana
#1 Life Hacks for PeopleSoft Development [UGF2499]- Sasank Vemana on Sunday @ 09:15 am
Sasank is a top PeopleSoft expert and blogger .  Anything he has to say on tips and techniques will be well worth rising early for on what is likely to be your first conference session of the week.  Good luck Sasank.


#2 Customer Successes with PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface [CON5090]- 4 customers including Jo Lock from Oxfam GB @ 1:45 pm
Customers want to hear other customer success stories.  I know for sure that Jo Lock, PeopleSoft Functional Lead from Oxfam GB, has a great story to tell of how Fluid is making a real difference at Oxfam (I even have Jo's name tattooed on my left arm!)

#3 PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture: Practical Applications and Use Cases [CON3672] - Graham Smith @ 1:45pm
Is this a first for OpenWorld?  Husband and wife up against each other on the agenda.  If you want to hear about running PeopleSoft in the cloud then come to my session. If you want to hear about what customers have done with Fluid then go to the session where my wife is on the panel (really... I won't be offended.)

Jim Marion
#4 Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft: PeopleSoft PeopleTools Tips and Techniques [CON7070]- Jim Marion @ 4:15 pm
Need I say more. PeopleTools expert, blogger and author of three great books .  Jim draws a crowd because he knows his stuff and freely shares his insights into exploiting your investment in PeopleSoft.  Hoping this session is still on given Jim's exciting move to PeopleSoft mobile and security specialists GreyHeller (  UPDATE: This session is still on


#5 General Session: Today’s PeopleSoft is Intuitive, Powerful, and in the Cloud [GEN5077] - Paco Aubrejuan & Marc Weintraub @ 12:15pm
DO NOT MISS THIS SESSION.  The Paco & Marc show is the key PeopleSoft session for understanding where PeopleSoft is going.  Looking forward to hearing about new application innovations, PeopleTools 8.56 and beyond and what Oracle has in store for PeopleSoft in the cloud.
Paco Aubrejuan - Senior Vice President, PeopleSoft Enterprise,

#6 PeopleSoft Technology Roadmap [CON7061] - Jeff Robbins @ 4:00pm
DO NOT MISS THIS SESSION.  PeopleSoft Technology is the foundation on which great apps are built. What's new in PeopleTools and what's on the horizon?  This is always a good session to be at and Jeff is a great presenter.

#7 Hands-On with PeopleSoft: Value of PeopleSoft in Oracle Cloud [CON7072] - Jeff Robbins @ 5:15pm
You've always been able to run PeopleSoft in the cloud.  So, what's new?  Is there some new "secret sauce"?


#8 Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft: Transitioning to Elasticsearch [CON7066] - Matthew Haavisto @ 12:15pm
It's here !!!  Hello Elastic - Goodbye SES.  Nuff said.

#9 Hands-On with PeopleSoft: A Successful PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface Rollout [CON7063] - Dave Bain @ 3:00pm
King Solomon said in the book of Proverbs "there's wisdom in the counsel of many" .  So, if your're working on Fluid projects or thinking about it then come and here some more "counsel".


#10 PeopleSoft in the Cloud: Real-World Experiences [CON7064] - Jeff Robbins and Oracle Partner panel @ 10.45am
Have you noticed there's a "cloud" theme to this years conference.  I think that cloud is just a set of solutions to some common IT challenges and Cedar Consulting will be joining with other Oracle Partners to share their experiences.

#11 Meet the Experts: PeopleSoft PeopleTools [MTE7726] @ 10:45
I'd be happy to sit around drinking coffee and tins of "interesting-conference-supplied" grape juice all day with these guys.  This is what you paid your conference ticket for (apart from Billy Joel of course. But then you can't drink coffee with him)

#12 Hands-On with PeopleSoft: Develop Practices to Harden and Protect PeopleSoft [CON7074] - Greg Kelly @ 2:30pm
The last session of the day of the last day of the conference but one of THE MOST IMPORTANT -  security insights from Oracle's PeopleSoft security guru Greg Kelly delivered with his usual Irish wit and candour.