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PeopleSoft Roadshow and Executive Dinner May 3, 2017

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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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.

Paco on Continuing Investment in PeopleSoft November 8, 2016

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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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.
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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?

What PeopleSoft content was popular in 2015? January 28, 2016

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, TW.
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The ‘Year in Blogging’ reports have come through so I can see what posts and newsletter items garnered the most views.

PeopleSoft Tipster Blog

So, according to the summary, this blog was visited 130,000 times during the year, an average of ~350/day with the busiest day being just over double that at 749 visitors. About 50% of the traffic is from the US, 15% from India, and 5% from the UK and Canada.

Amazingly, the most viewed post was one written prior to 2015, about PeopleSoft Entity Relationship Diagrams. The most popular post that was actually authored last year was The Future of PeopleSoft video with Marc Weintraub, followed by PeopleSoft and Taleo integration, the Faster Download of PeopleSoft Images and the profile of Graham Smith and how he works.

The PeopleSoft Weekly Newsletter

The PSW newsletter seems to go from strength to strength. During 2015 the subscriber base rose from 919 to 1,104 which is an approx 20% increase. The ‘open rate’ sits around 40% for any one issue (against an industry average of 17%) with the US accounting for 55% of readers, the UK 15% and India 10%.

The top articles in terms of clicks were:

  1. Gartner’s Report on Oracle’s Commitment to PeopleSoft (263 clicks)
  2. Randy ‘Remote PS Admin’ on Forcing Cache Clears (198)
  3. PeopleSoft Planned Features and Enhancements (180)
  4. 5 Life Lessons I Learned at PeopleSoft (167)
  5. Dan Sticka on stopping writing Record Field PeopleCode (166)
  6. Greg Kelly’s Security Checklist from Alliance (155)
  7. Virginia Ebbeck’s list of PeopleSoft Links (145)
  8. Greg Wendt of Grey Heller on the PS Token Vulnerability (142)
  9. Dennis Howlett on the Oracle vs Rimini St court battle (142)
  10. Wade Coombs on PeopleSoft File Attachments (140)
  11. I’m Graham Smith and this is How I Work (139)
  12. Graham’s PeopleSoft Ping Survey (135)
  13. How to write an efficient PeopleCode (134)
  14. Mohit Jain on Tracing in PeopleSoft (131)
  15. The 4 types of PeopleSoft Testing (130)
  16. PS Admin.io on Cobol (127)
  17. Matthew Haavisto on the Cost of PeopleSoft vs SaaS (124)
  18. The PeopleSoft Spotlight Series (119)
  19. Prashant Tyagi on PeopleSoft Single Signon (118)
  20. Adding Watermarks to PeopleSoft Fields (116)

 

 

Which PeopleTools version goes with which Application? March 19, 2015

Posted by Duncan in PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, Strategy, TW.
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If you’re ever in the situation where you’re wondering what your options are with PeopleTools versions, and which applications they can be used with, then we have just the document for you.

It shows you:

– the Applications, their release dates, and – more critically – the dates that Premier and Extended Support ends

– the PeopleTools versions, and the date that support ends (yes, 8.52 is now out of support)

– the combinations of the two, for instance, can you go to Tools 8.53 with a v8.9 application? do we believe that PeopleTools 8.55 will support v9.1 applications?

– what this means for Fluid. For example, if you’re on v9.1 but upgrade to PeopleTools 8.54, what Fluid functionality do you receive?

Check out the White Paper here:

http://www.cedarconsulting.co.uk/news-details/March-2015-New-White-Paper-PeopleSoft-Version-Compatibility/index.html

 

 

Two Changes in PeopleTools Requirements January 13, 2015

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, PeopleTools 8.53, PeopleTools 8.54, TW.
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Oracle have just announced two changes to what they require customers to be running on.

PeopleTools 8.53 Patch 10 or above for PUM Patches

If you’re on PeopleSoft v9.2 and using the Update Images to select the patches to apply then Oracle ‘strongly advises’ customers to be on the .10 patch of PeopleTools 8.53 or higher.

From Oracle:

FSCM Update Image 9.2.010 and higher, HCM Update Image 9.2.009 and higher, and ELM Update 9.2.006 and higher all need PeopleTools 8.53.10 for many of the updates and fixes to be applied. Failure to update your PeopleTools patch level to PeopleTools 8.53.10 or higher will result in the inability to take these updates and fixes. It may also inhibit you from applying critical maintenance in the future.

New PeopleTools Requirements for PeopleSoft Interaction Hub

Oracle also announced that they’re changing the support policy for Interaction Hub and PeopleTools. Basically, if you use Interaction Hub you must upgrade to a PeopleTools release no later than 24 months after that PeopleTools release becomes generally available.

It was originally a little confusingly worded, but there’s now an example that made it clearer for me:
For example, PeopleTools 8.53 was released in February 2013. Therefore, customers who use Interaction Hub will be required to upgrade to PeopleTools 8.53 (or newer, such as PeopleTools 8.54) no later than February 2015 (24 months after the General Availability date of PeopleTools 8.53). As of February 2015, product maintenance and new features may require PeopleTools 8.53.
I suspect that this is going to impact quite a few of customers.
Full details here:

Generating a Calendar View of Employee Absence November 24, 2014

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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This blog post has been kindly contributed by Richard Yip. Richard is a PeopleSoft HCM & Payroll Technical Consultant at Santander Bank here in the UK. He is a long-term PeopleSoft techie and a regular at the UKOUG conferences.

We have posted two guest posts from Richard already, they can be found here:

Generating a custom Org Chart in PeopleSoft

Interacting client-side JavaScript with server-side PeopleCode

Introduction

In PeopleSoft HCM 9.0, an employee’s absence history is displayed in the usual tabular format (a grid with rows and columns). However, we felt the presentation was a bit uninspiring, and needed a better look to it. So we custom built a transaction whereby absences are displayed on a calendar used in both employee and manager self-service transactions. (more…)

PeopleSoft and Heartbleed April 22, 2014

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, TW.
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Oracle have released a post detailing exactly whichheartbleed products are vulnerable to Heartbleed, which have fixes available and which aren’t vulnerable at all.

If you aren’t aware of what Heartbleed is, here’s a primer:

http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/12/heartbleed-explained/

There’s also an excellent web-comic here that explains quickly how the exploit works:

http://xkcd.com/1354/

Here is Oracle’s list:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/topics/security/opensslheartbleedcve-2014-0160-2188454.html

Happily, PeopleSoft is on the ‘not vulnerable’ list.

This doesn’t mean that you’re completely safe of course. You may well be using other components in your system that were impacted. At Succeed, for example, we use Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer that was vulnerable but has now been patched.

Interacting client-side JavaScript with server-side PeopleCode April 16, 2014

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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This week we have a guest-post from Richard Yip. Richard is a PeopleSoft HCM & Payroll Technical Consultant at Santander Bank here in the UK. He is a long-term PeopleSoft techie and a regular at the UKOUG conferences.  I’m delighted to be able to give him a conduit through which to share some of his good work.

Richard Yip: How to interact client-side Javascript with server-side PeopleCode

(using getElementById.focus(), getElementById.submit(), submitAction_win0(this.form,this.name) and window.showModalDialog)

This example shows a custom built payroll results calendar which allows the user to display multiple sets of payroll results information on a single page, without needing to navigate out of the page as is currently delivered.

Additionally, it allows the display of related information such as payslip and 12 Months Fiscal Summary (pivoted summary results).

Note: results have been “desensitized” .

Something that looks like this:

Example 1
Click for bigger

The App Designer page, PeopleCode, SQL, JavaScript, CSS and HTML are shown below. The HTML/CSS were initially prototyped using Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer.

Screen shots

Main page after selecting an employee from a search page. Example 2

 

The menu bar above is created by HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CAL_PIVOT_SQL_HDR

The following codes are used: –

PeopleCode :
DERIVED_RY_GP10.HTMLAREA2.RowInit
SQL:   HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CAL_PIVOT_SQL
HTML:  HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CAL_PIVOT_SQL_HDR
HTML:  HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CAL_PIVOT_SQL_DTL

Displaying the results calendar

When ‘Show Calendar’ is clicked, the payroll results for this calendar are now visible. See function Show_Calendar() and Hide_Calendar() in Javascript collection in HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CUSTOM_JS.

Example 3
Click for bigger

Displaying the payroll results information

When then user clicks on any Calendar ID, highlighted in red, the PeopleCode is invoked via client side JavaScript.

To invoke PeopleCode, I used the javascript DOM method – see function do_calid(obj) in GetHTMLText(HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_CUSTOM_JS)

document.getElementById("DERIVED_RY_GP10_DETAIL_BUTTON").focus();
document.getElementById("DERIVED_RY_GP10_DETAIL_BUTTON").click();

Screen shot below show 3 different calendar group/calendar id clicked by the user using the results calendar above.

Example 4
Click for bigger

The Clear Data  button will remove the specific payroll result. Basically, each calendar results in contained in a <DIV> tag with an ID. The following line takes the id of the <div> tag, for example BOX1 and passes it to the field DERIVED_RY_GP10.ID_LBL and then automatically clicks the field DERIVED_RY_GP10_CLEAR_BUTTON. This is similar to the DOM click() function previously mention. See HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_SEG_HDR

<div id='%Bind(:12)' class="result_container">
<input class='calendar_container' id="DERIVED_RY_GP10_CLEAR_BUTTON" title="ID" style="WIDTH: 72px" onclick="this.form.DERIVED_RY_GP10_ID_LBL.value='%Bind(:12)';submitAction_win0(this.form,this.name);" type="button" value="Clear Data" name="DERIVED_RY_GP10_CLEAR_BUTTON">

The Copy to Excel  button will download the information to Excel. This uses the ActiveXObject(“Excel.Application”) function. See HTML.RY_GP_RSLT_HDR

Display the 12 Months Fiscal Summary

Using the window.showModalDialog function to display the 12 Months Fiscal Summary. See Get_Summary() in RY_GP_RSLT_CUSTOM_JS . Also see Get_Payslip().
Other method may include <iframe>

Example 5
Click for bigger

Summary/Design consideration

Strong knowledge of html, Javascript, CSS and  SQL in addition to PeopleCode.

Using a HTML editor facilitates prototype stage.

In this example, it’s all about presentation as getting the data from the database via SQL is fairly easier.

I have used the SQL XMLElement function to inject some html, albeit with a bit of trickery.

Page Field Name and Enable as Page Anchor gives the developer control over how the field is referenced in html

Code Listing

How to interact client side Javascript with server side PeopleCode

 

PeopleSoft Roadshow / What’s next for PeopleSoft … a Correction April 11, 2014

Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools.
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Thanks for all your feedback on the roadshow / what’s next for PeopleSoft write-up. It’s wonderful that there’s such a large and active PeopleSoft community out there that’s so positive about the new functionality that Oracle is adding to the product.

After I posted the article Marc Weintraub got in touch and has marc weintraubasked me to correct an inconsistency in one of the sections. I had included a paraphrased quote which gave the impression that net-new PeopleSoft opportunities are not important, and this was misleading. I’m happy to concede that about a week elapsed between his session and when I posted it here and my memory might not have been as fresh as if I’d live-blogged it.

I’ve updated the article, and the paragraph in question now reads:

Also, there was another statement which I didn’t realise the signifcance of until letting things percolate down through on the train journey home, but Marc’s statement that PeopleSoft has a “95% retention rate, and the focus is on our existing customers.” is quite important. It’s great that Oracle are focusing on keeping existing customers happy – that’s what the ongoing licence fee is for, after all – and 95% is a good success rate and ongoing investment is designed to add value to existing customers.

Marc also added “The 95% retention rate of existing PeopleSoft customers is accurate. The point I wished to convey is that our future investments are more aligned to meeting the needs of our existing customers. Oracle still does secure net-new customers for PeopleSoft at a rate significant rate.”

This last point is something that we can testify to as Succeed have implemented at least one greenfield PeopleSoft implementation every year for the last 5 years.

Apologies if this has caused any confusion and I’m happy to set the record straight.