jump to navigation

Interesting PS Roadshow / Exec Dinner Snippets May 4, 2017

Posted by Duncan in Cedar, SelectiveAdoption, UKOUG, UX.
comments closed

We recently held the annual PeopleSoft Roadshow and Executive Dinner (summary here) and I wanted to highlight a couple of observations that I think are important enough to be revisited:

Fantastic UI

While Marc was demoing some new functionality it struck me how big a stride the PeopleSoft UI has taken over the last few years.

If you’d shown me this picture a few years ago I’d have refused to believe that it was PeopleSoft. Very few applications can boast a UI as attractive as this.

Selective Adoption is being Aggressively Adopted

Julie Alonso showed this slide, detailing how many customers are really making the most of Selective Adoption.

You might need to click these to see full-size, but let me highlight the key point. The right-hand pie-chart shows that 31% of customers are ‘staying current’ – i.e. doing a get current 4 times a year! A further 25% are getting current twice a year. So more than half of customers are getting current at least twice annually. I think this is really tremendous take-up of the benefits of Selective Adoption – and the PeopleSoft team must be delighted. I had fully expected most customers to lapse into an annual update.

 

PeopleSoft Roadshow and Executive Dinner May 3, 2017

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
comments closed

Two great events took place at the end of April – the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow and the annual Cedar PeopleSoft Executive Dinner. Marc Weintraub and Julie Alonso spoke at both events so I’ve combined the highlights into a single post covering PeopleSoft improvements (including the new Onboarding module), PeopleSoft customer numbers looking strong, extension to the Support end date and more.

The full post can be found on the Cedar Consulting blog, here.

Come to the UKOUG PeopleSoft Roadshow April 19, 2017

Posted by Duncan in UKOUG.
comments closed

The UK Oracle User Group PeopleSoft Roadshow is nearly upon us. It’s my favourite PeopleSoft event in the UK’s calendar as you know that everyone there has a focus on PeopleSoft and the agenda is always really strong.

It’s 26th April (yes, a week today!) in the Crowne Plaza, London – the same as last time, which was a great venue.

Oracle US Speakers

In terms of Oracle speakers, we’re spoiled this year with both Marc Weintraub and Julie Alonso presenting.

Marc Weintraub

Pretty much everyone should know Marc by now, and he’s always good value. He’s giving multiple sessions including a PeopleSoft Update, Modernising with Fluid, Fully Executing on Selective Adoption and PeopleSoft in the Cloud.

Julie Alonso

A new speaker to those who’ve only attended UK PeopleSoft events is Julie Alonso. She is Product Management Director within PeopleSoft HCM Strategy and the brains behind the monthly PeopleSoft HR Newsletter (if you don’t know what this is, either see Julie on the day or drop me a mail and I’ll link you up). Julie is presenting on The Power of PeopleSoft HCM.

It’s great that Oracle are supporting the event with two such speakers, and it’s wonderful to see a new face on the circuit.

Cedar Speakers

We’ve also got a couple of speakers from Cedar on the agenda.

Graham Smith

As with Marc, everyone should know Graham by now. He’s a rare blend of techie that’s been around PeopleSoft for long enough to know the history behind just about everything, but has such fantastic enthusiasm that he’s always trying the latest tools and techniques. Graham is talking about Selective Adoption and the Oracle Cloud.

Sarah Hurley

For those with excellent memories, Sarah has spoken at a PeopleSoft conference before (on a custom recruitment front-end that Cedar built for a client) however that was a few years back. Sarah has been busy managing some of Cedar’s PeopleSoft projects in the interim and is giving learnings from a Fluid implementation for a client – Fluid Development – Getting to Grips with a Different Skill Set.

Other Speakers

Check out the agenda for the full listings, but in addition to the above we’ve got Paul Smit from Oracle Netherlands, Malcolm Hewlett from Excel4Apps and Ken de Landro talking about Hays’ automated PeopleSoft testing investigations.

If the above sounds like the sort of content that would interest you – and there’s something there for pretty much everyone – it’d be great to see you there. Book here.

I’m Colton Fischer and this is how I work December 12, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work.
comments closed

The next profile in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Colton Fischer. Colton is one of the crop of new PeopleSoft bloggers bursting on the scene during 2016. His PeopleSoft Mods blog is a treasure trove of great content and if you’ve not been there before it’s worth scrolling back through Colton’s historical posts – as he doesn’t just look at existing delivered functionality but extends PeopleSoft in ways that it’s clear to see the business benefit, frequently explaining how you can get the same results.

colton_fischer

Name: Colton Fischer

Occupation: Application Developer at the University of Houston
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Current computer: My desktop is a Dell Optiplex 9020 and my laptop is a Dell Precision 3510
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S5
I work: Eagerly

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Snipping Tool – Helpful tool for when I need a quick screenshot to document or demonstrate something
VPN Client and Remote Desktop – I don’t work from home too much, but this is a lifesaver when I forget some files on my machine at the office
YouTube Mobile App – I am more of a visual learner, so I enjoy watching educational YouTube videos on my phone when I have some down time
ESPN Mobile App – Allows me keep up with collegiate and professional sports

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I’d have to say my coffee maker. That thing gets me through each morning because I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my coffee.

What’s your workspace like?
I would say that my workspace is pretty basic. I will admit that it is not normally as clean as it is in this picture. Most of the work I do happens on my desktop computer. I use my laptop for running personal demo systems to do “experimental” development on. I also use the systems on my laptop when I do development that requires constant app and web server bounces so that I don’t bother anyone else.

desk

What do you listen to while you work?
I enjoy most all genres of music, but what I listen to while I work relies heavily on the type of work that I am doing. If I am doing something that requires me to think hard, I listen to soft acoustic guitar songs. If I don’t need to think too hard, then I mostly find myself listening to metal rock, punk rock, and occasionally dubstep.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
I have App Designer, SQL Developer, and Chrome windows open at all times. I like to use Chrome add-ons or other web-based productivity apps. I use Advanced REST client for Chrome when I need to work with web services. When I need to quickly view some unformatted XML, I use an online XML viewer to format it for me. I often work with base64 encoded values, so I use an online base64 decoder to obtain the decoded values. I also use the Chrome DevTools to view the source behind fields on PeopleSoft pages.

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I am not sure how well-known this is, but I recently discovered that meta-HTML can be used in the message catalog. Using meta-HTML (or even regular HTML) in messages can allow for some cool configuration-based functionality.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I usually write queries on the security tables that deal with roles and permission lists. However, here lately I have been writing some queries on the PSACCESSLOG and PSPTLOGINAUDIT tables. There is some really interesting information in these tables from a security perspective.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
I would like to see some built-in functionality to make it easier to identify sensitive data (bank account numbers, SSNs, etc.) fields in PeopleSoft.  It would be nice if the field definitions that are used to store\display sensitive data would have a setting to distinguish the level of sensitivity.  Having this information stored in the meta-data tables would allow for the ability to easily write queries to determine where in the application sensitive data is being exposed.  This would, in- turn allow for PeopleSoft security administrators to more effectively secure their PeopleSoft applications.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I am not sure if I am better than anyone at this, but I am good at time management and not procrastinating.

How do you keep yourself healthy and happy?
I enjoy playing golf and tennis when I have someone available to play with. When I am solo and I want to do something physical, I usually go skateboarding. Something else that keeps me happy (but not so healthy) is playing Xbox.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve received is to start each day fresh and with a clean slate regardless of how the previous day went.  It’s easy to carry struggles and frustrations with us from day to day, but it only hinders your productivity and outlook.

Paco on Continuing Investment in PeopleSoft November 8, 2016

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
comments closed

There’s a great episode of Marc Weintraub’s PeopleSoft Talk interview series, featuring a 30 minute discussion with Paco Aubrejuan. There’ll be some great points for everyone to take away from it, however here are my highlights:

On the current Support End date of December 2027:

There’s no plan on ending support for PeopleSoft then, it’s actually not that important a date. It happens to be the date right now that our lifetime support goes to … that probably won’t be the case and as we get closer to that date the plan is to move those dates out.

On Continued Investment:

For me investment and support are one and the same. It’s hard to support applications without continuing to enhance them as well. We’re planning to support and enhance them through that date.

On Fluid Adoption:

We have 2-300 customers who are live on it, and many of whom aren’t live with just a few applications but with Fluid across the board. We’ve got to that hockey stick period in terms of adoption where the majority of our customers who are doing projects or upgrades are deploying Fluid.

On replacing SES with Elasticsearch:

“it’s easier, cheaper, faster, better for customers to run Elasticsearch versus SES”

plus lots more on Cloud, Fluid Approvals and Selective Adoption. It’s well worth a watch:

 

 

PeopleSoft – What Does The Future Hold? September 14, 2016

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, Strategy.
comments closed

In an earlier post titled Banishing PeopleSoft Myths I shared my perspective of the current state of the PeopleSoft product and marketplace. I thought it’d be an interesting exercise to try to look forwards and to define what I think the future might hold for the product line. Some of this might be a little off-target, some might be a mile off target and some I might have changed my mind on if you ask me next week, but hopefully it starts some discussions.

PeopleSoft Moves to The Cloud

An easy one first. There’s a strong push to move to The Cloud and that should be apparent to pretty much everyone. There are some compelling success stories for PeopleSoft in the Cloud, customers have gained huge performance oracle-public-cloudincreases and flexibility in infrastructure, as well as saving money. So far these success stories have been on AWS, and – to a lesser extent – on Azure, however Oracle wants a piece of that pie now. The Oracle Compute Cloud should be an option whenever there’s a discussion on Cloud hosting (and this discussion should be held before any hardware refresh or major upgrade/get current).

Oracle is also making it easier for customers to move to The Cloud. The PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture is a set of functionality and tools that eases the transition, and it will be enhanced in future PeopleTools versions.

The PeopleSoft Marketplace Remains Buoyant

Cedar’s current experience is that there is a lot of activity in the market. Through the coming years we shouldn’t expect a huge number of net-new clients buying PeopleSoft, however existing clients are very loyal to the product and will continue to take advantage of the new features that are added to the product. It’s easy to imagine that over the coming years there will be widescale adoption of Fluid and Cloud Architecture.

More PeopleSoft Hosting

It’s becoming easier for customers to outsource the care of their PeopleSoft systems to partners – or, in the future, maybe even Oracle themselves. The Cloud makes the infrastructure significantly cheaper, and the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture will make the administration simpler too. The PeopleSoft application will simply be provided to the client as a service, with all the hardware, DBA services and patcsa-image-hosting-iconhing performed by the partner for a flat monthly fee. PeopleSoft updates could also be rolled into this as Selective Adoption forms a key piece of the application maintenance model and lends itself very well to the Cloud hosting model.

There have been other advances in PeopleTools too that make it easier to reduce customisations – thereby making it easier for organisations to host multiple customer environments. The new related content event mapping functionality enables you to replace (some) customised code, and I’m sure the PSAdmin.io guys mentioned a technique for adding fields to a page via config instead of customisation (but I can’t find a link for it). The closer you are to vanilla the easier it is keep your application updated with the latest security, product fixes and new features.

Will Oracle provide “PeopleSoft as a Service”? Currently the answer – at least publicly – is ‘No’ however that might change over time. Oracle are moving their OnDemand offering over from physical hardware to Cloud infrastructure so they will host the servers and provide maintenance resources for clients.

PeopleSoft and Containers

The next evolution on from Virtual Machines is the use of ‘container’ technology. The problem with having a server containing multiple VMs is that each VM needs to have its own Operating System installed, kept patched and kept in sync. This – and the other software that could be shared – introduces a lot of duplication. Containers are like cut-down VMs, there is no OS within the container, just the application itself. Each of the containers shares the OS that’s installed on the host. There’s adocker
good intro to containers here.

Vendors have started to adopt this container technology – Docker is by far the most widely known – and it’d be no surprise if PeopleSoft starts to do the same. It’d be great to be able to drop in another App Server container without having to mess around with building one. The DPKs get us part way there, but this could be the next progression. First we’ll need to wait for Oracle Compute Cloud support for Docker first (or whatever snappy name Oracle gives to their Docker equivalent … maybe the ‘Oracle Enterprise Container Management Service’?)

Greater Fluid Adoption

Somewhere between 50-60% of customers are on v9.2, which means they’re either using or preparing to use Selective Adoption. Once a customer starts on the Selective Adoption path, they’ll find that the Fluid UI is the interface that updates and fixes will be delivered on. This will drive Fluid adoption. This is good for Self Service users as they’d typically benefit the most from a Fluid roll-out.

Although there is some pain involved in getting Fluid up and running all of the feedback that we’ve heard to date is that those who’ve made the jump are very happy with the results. Self Service users stand to gain the most as Fluid really makes PeopleSoft a lot more accessible to infrequent users.

The role of SysAdmin is Changing

The role of the PeopleSoft SysAdmin is dramatically different than it was 5 years ago. The advent of PUM, Selective Adoption, DPKs, Puppet and SES, and the imminent adoption of the Cloud Delivery Architecture and Elasticsearch have all shifted the landscape significantly.

Much of this is good news. For instance, Selective Adoption and DPKs have both made the SysAdmin’s life easier (once the toolset has been learnt). The future sounds like this trend will continue as Cloud Manager will allow one-click provisioning and refreshes of environments, and Elasticsearch promises to alleviate some of the SES headaches.

This greater functionality does come at a cost for the SysAdmin, and that is that there is a wider breadth to the set of tools that they are required to master. The days where the SysAdmin just needed to do installs and tuning have passed. This increased automation brings the requirement for DevOps SysAdmins – i.e. SysAdmins who are able to cut some code.

The role of Developer is Changing

Developers too are finding that the goalposts are moving. Developers who’ve only just recovered from swapping out their FuncLibs for App Packages are now reeling from the news that there is even more to learn. Fluid brings a requirement to know much more HTML, CSS and some JavaScript. Having seen a recent demo where Jim Marion completely re-laid out a Fluid page using the Chrome Developer console rather than PeopleCode really brought this home. The next tech coming over the hill at Deve
lopers is Oracle JET – a collection of the most useful JavaScript frameworks.

LogStash for PeopleSoft

I felt I should end with a real ‘out there’ prediction. With Elasticsearch we can see that Oracle are open to including a new 3rd party product as part of the stack (previously it seemed like 3rd party tools were slowly being phased out) so what other new products or tools might be included? Elasticsearch is made by a company called Elastic, but they have other offerings in addition to their core Search product.logstash The one that looks the most appealing from a PeopleSoft point-of-view is LogStash. I’ve looked at it a number of times over the years but its lack of Windows support was always a barrier for me, however now it’s available on Windows. LogStash is a log file aggregation tool, it takes all of the entries in all of your log files spread across all of your servers and makes them available for searching in one central repository. It’s easy to see how that might be incredibly useful in a PeopleSoft context. There are alternative tools that perform a similar role – Splunk for example – however I think LogStash is the most obvious selection.

UPDATE: The PSAdmin.io guys discussed Splunk and LogStash in their latest Podcast.

So, there are 8 predictions for the coming years. Have I missed anything glaring? Have I got one of them wrong?

PeopleSoft Partner of the Year August 30, 2016

Posted by Duncan in TW, UKOUG.
comments closed

I would like to borrow a few minutes of your time to ask a quick favour. If you haven’t already, could you please vote ‘Gold’ for Cedar in the UK PeopleSoft Partner of the Year competition.

http://pya.ukoug.org/index.php/survey/index

Here’s why I believe we’re worth your vote:

  • We’ve been serving PeopleSoft customers for 20+ years, and in each of the last few years we’ve worked with more than 40 clients
  • We’re active members of UKOUG, with multiple employees dedicating time to its committees – quite an investment for a company our size
  • We’re active in the PeopleSoft community, with multiple blogs and free newsletters
  • We share knowledge freely, with multiple speakers at UKOUG’s Apps15 and Oracle OpenWorld last year
  • We host our own knowledge sharing events, enabling the PeopleSoft community to network and exchange ideas, whilst Cedar experts and customers share success stories
  • We’re on the cutting edge, if you want to know about Oracle Public Cloud, Fluid UI or Selective Adoption, we’re the people to speak to

I hope that’s enough to convince you. If you’ve voted for us please let me know. If you need more persuasion, please do get in touch.

I’m Logesh Balasubramaniam and this is how I work August 18, 2016

Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
comments closed

The next profile in our ‘How I Work‘ series is Logesh Balasubramaniam. Logesh is one of the newer bloggers – posting on his LeanIT Designs site – however he provides great content and is usually one of the first to tackle new functionality. He has sometimes even managed to blog about new features before Oracle’s official post.

If you’re a fan of Logesh’s work it looks like he’s been selected to present at OOW this year, alongside his colleague Chamanthi Weerasinghe, on “Bang for Your Buck: A Practical Approach to Optimize Your Selective Adoption”.

Logesh

Name: Logesh Balasubramaniam

Occupation: PeopleSoft Consultant at Presence Of IT, Australia.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand.
Current computer: Lenovo Thinkpad T440s
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S3 & iPad Mini 2
I work: To achieve best possible outcome in the realms of Scope, Time & Cost

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Apps – Kindle, linkedin, Keeper(Passwords), doubleTwist
Desktop essentials: MS office, Outlook, Notepad++, Snipping Tool

What’s your workspace like?
I am minimalist by nature and my workplace will reflect it. I don’t tend to carry any baggage(both hard & soft) and have a compulsion to get rid of anything after its purpose.

desk

What do you listen to while you work?
Silence, help me to focus. Leave my windows open and let in everything that my surroundings offer.

What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
Browsers: Chrome & Firefox, Developer tools in both browsers, Extensions – Wizdler for chrome, HTTPFox for Firefox
PeopleTools – Whole suite of development tools and occasionally administration utilities
SOAPUI – Everything integration related
SQL Developer and SQL Server management studio

Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
I find ‘My Oracle Support Community (MOSC)’ to be very active and useful in PeopleSoft application space. Especially for those working on new features in recent product versions, post your queries and you will get immediate help with Oracle specialists. I also find Red Papers released on various topics by Oracle to be a very valuable resource to design solutions especially in integration, security and performance areas.

What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
Having spent most of my time in HCM application, subquery to get MAX(EFFDT), tops my list.

What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Support/implement SAML based identity federation.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Starting every day with the same eagerness, desire and will I had on my first day at work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing specific from a person, but an elementary quote that I find most relevant in our profession is “A stitch in time save nine”. As remote work culture and diverse work teams become ubiquitous, proactive communication is key to successful collaboration.

Hit by the ‘Tech Support’ Scammers July 29, 2016

Posted by Duncan in Security, Troubleshooting, TW, Windows.
comments closed

I got a call earlier today from the Tech Support Scammers. You’ve probably heard of this horribly unethical practice already, but the premise is that they cold-call seemingly randomly and try to convince you that there is a problem with your PC/router, and then attempt to get you to allow them remote access to your PC to ‘fix it’. Some then claim problems are due to expired warranties on the computer and demand payment, others setup a boot password and demand money for unlocking it. Either way, it’s a nasty thing to do and is taking advantage of people while pretending to help.

So, I thought I’d play along and see what they’d do.

The call appeared to come from a UK number, however it clearly originated from an offshore data centre. They introduced themselves as calling from my ISP and said that they’d detected a problem and needed to fix it on my PC. They could show me some symptoms to reassure me that they were legitimate. I asked them “who is my ISP?” as I wasn’t sure whether they’d know, however they were able to accurately answer.

The nice lady then got me to open Event Viewer and tell me how many errors and warnings were listed.

Event Viewer

I’d wager that most computers have a heap of entries here, but when I said that there was over 8,000 she did some great play-acting that 8-10 is a typical number, feigning shock and how this proves the appalling state of my laptop.

Next, she asked me to open a command-prompt and run the ASSOC command. This lists all the file associations on my laptop, and she read out a string and asked me to verify that it matched the CLSID below.

assoc

This, of course, proves nothing as it would be the same on all versions of Windows. However, she said that CLSID stands for “Computer Licence Security ID” and that by knowing this code it proved her authenticity.

At this point she asked me to visit http://www.support.me, which forwards to LogMeIn – a remote control system – and said she was going to pass me over to a technical colleague called ‘David’.

When David came on the line I said I’d used the lengthy delay to google what had happened and found out what they were doing. He then swore at me and hung up.

I feel sorry for the poor people that fall victim to these horrible practices and wish there was some way of stopping them preying on the innocent.

Banishing some PeopleSoft Myths July 28, 2016

Posted by Duncan in Cedar, PeopleSoft 9.2, Strategy, TW.
comments closed

There seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty and misinformation in the PeopleSoft marketplace currently, so I thought it might be time to banish a few myths:

1. PeopleSoft isn’t being improved/getting investment

There are those with vested interests or other biases that will always deny this regardless of the evidence put in front of them, but PeopleSoft is improving in leaps and bounds. In the last couple of years PeopleSoft has been moving at an increasing speed, and one of the biggest questions on many client’s minds right now is “how do I keep up”. My Cedar colleague Graham Smith has a long list of recent new features in his PeopleSoft Predictions 2016 post, but if you just counted Fluid, Selective Adoption and Cloud Delivery Architecture I don’t think there’s ever been a time in which PeopleSoft has improved so much in a short space of time, pre or post-acquisition. Paco has repeatedly committed to keeping PeopleSoft around until at least 2027, and using the last few years as evidence I’m inclined to believe him.

2. PeopleSoft is Legacy/Old Fashioned

PeopleSoft is certainly very well established, with a long history and a wide customer base, that much is true. This can be a good thing, in that much of the system is tried and tested with the wrinkles ironed out. It is also true that some aspects of PeopleSoft do things the ‘old way’. The majority of deployments are on-premises, without the flexibility and efficiency that cloud deployment and automation can bring. You also pay for PeopleSoft up-front, rather than monthly. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. PeopleSoft can be deployed in an agile and efficient manner, taking advantage of some of the new technology available to us now, and the new enhancements within the product.

3. To be a future-proof system it needs to be SaaS

This is tricky as different people hold varying ideas about what constitutes SaaS, however PeopleSoft does get regular updates containing new functionality from the vendor (every ~10 weeks), can be deployed in the Cloud (to gain auto-scaling/elasticity of resources, a predictable monthly subscription and theoretically even multi-tenancy – at least above the database-level, if it was something that clients wanted). Furthermore, the application of the updates and the management of the cloud architecture can be handed over to a friendly partner in order to get even closer to purists’ definitions of what SaaS entails – if that is important to you.

4. PeopleSoft’s UI is out-dated

Up until a few years ago there wasn’t the focus on ‘consumer grade UI’ that there is now. In that era, PeopleSoft’s UI measured up pretty well. It was certainly more attractive than SAP and/or E-Business Suite. Recently this greater focus on the User Interface has introduced new competitors but PeopleSoft still keeps up well. Of course you can compare an old version of PeopleSoft with the latest from a competitor and it will appear dated in comparison, however if you use the latest PeopleSoft UI in the comparison it’ll fare rather better. The Fluid UI is (at least) the equal of anything out there, regardless of which device you view it on.

5. The PeopleSoft Market is Quiet

From what I can see there are fewer green-field implementations than 5 years ago, but there is a lot more upgrade activity. Clients are moving to 9.2 at a far greater rate than for 9.0 or 9.1, and then starting initiatives to really get value from the software once they get there. As a company I’m not sure Cedar has ever been busier.

So, now I’ve got that off my chest, I might do some predictions like Graham next …