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Updated: 9 hours 47 min ago

Come see us at Reconnect Envision!

Mon, 2021-04-05 10:27

Quest's Reconnect Envision is offering exciting PeopleSoft education content, with opportunities to chat online with the PeopleSoft experts, arrange to connect with other users, and meet partners with complementary solutions and services.

We’ve planned exciting content for the 2021 Reconnect Envision Conference sponsored by Quest. This year we’ve scheduled more variety in the sessions with panel discussions on various topics and the opportunity for attendees in various worldwide time zones to hear the session presentations.

Below are the informative PeopleSoft PeopleSoft Technology sessions you may be interested in attending presented by Oracle Team members, Partners, and Customers.

(Note that session dates and times could change, so consult the Reconnect Envision agenda online for precise times.)

 

Global Replay Schedule

If you reside outside North America, Quest has made it easier for PeopleSoft users around the globe to join the Reconnect Envision Conference with the following features:

  • Extended session hours – Whether you live in London, Bangalore, Sydney, or Hong Kong, the flexible schedule is designed for attendees to join the sessions live

  • Instant session replays – If you  can’t join a session real-time, simply press ’play’ and you can watch past sessions at the time most convenient for you

  • Flexible simulcast programming – Tune into scheduled replays of popular keynote, roadmap, and other core education sessions

Register now and build your own session agenda for Reconnect Envision 2021.

Note that when you choose sessions for your agenda it will automatically show your local time for the live session.  Of course, you will have the option of watching the recording at any time that suits you.

PICASO - The PeopleSoft Digital Assistant

Wed, 2021-03-31 10:29

The original PeopleSoft Chatbots offers lots of great business value, but they were limited in what they could do. The problem was that they were broken into individual business functions. To ask an absence question you had to open the Absence Chatbot. To ask a question about expenses, you had to open the Expense Chatbot and so on. The functionality was great, but finding the right bot to use was time-consuming. They were all available on tiles and components with the hope they would be easy to find, but still, if you were in a bot and wanted to ask a question for another bot, you had to shut it down, find the other bot and launch it. 

 

Problem solved.

 

Welcome to the new PeopleSoft Digital Assistant. Behind the scenes, a group of talented bot engineers took the many PeopleSoft Chatbots and turned them into a single PeopleSoft Digital Assistant. That means one chat interface for all the chatbot functionality. Of course, you can’t do something this big without giving it a name, so we did. It’s called the PeopleSoft Intelligent Chat Assistant from Oracle or PICASO.

PICASO can be placed on any PeopleSoft homepage, dashboard, or component and serves as the one-stop place to go for the PeopleSoft conversational interface. Out-of-the-box, you'll find it in the lower right corner. You can ask PICASO many questions like ‘What is my vacation balance’, ‘What is my January payslip’, ‘What is my most recent expense’, and many more. The digital assistant interprets the question and routes it to the appropriate PeopleSoft skill. If it’s not sure which skill to invoke, it will prompt you to choose which to use.

 

 

Just like the original chatbot skills, the PeopleSoft Digital Assistant is found in the Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) Skill Store and gives you the option of extending the delivered skills and building your own custom skills. Of course, an ODA license is required.

 

Keep up to date with PeopleSoft digital assistants on the Chatbot Key Concept page.

 

 

Get PeopleSoft Chatbots Production Ready in 4 Simple Steps

Wed, 2021-03-24 14:47

This post was provided by guest author, Logesh Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, SpearMC Consulting

PeopleSoft Chatbots using the Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) platform offers a transformative, conversational user interface to help users accomplish a variety of tasks in natural language conversations. PeopleSoft customers can leverage this capability and reduce ongoing training and service desk costs by providing on-demand assistance to users where and when they need it. The process for PeopleSoft customers to get started with Chatbots is straight forward:

  • Check if you meet the minimum requirements of PeopleSoft Application and Tools versions
  • Purchase and set up an ODA tenancy (multiple options available, including free trial )
  • Enable PeopleSoft to ODA integration
  • Deploy and train delivered Chatbots for PeopleSoft

Note: The latest information on the above tasks can be found here - PeopleSoft Chatbots 

Chatbots and the more sophisticated Digital Assistants offer a personal, interactive, and engaging channel for users to communicate. It is therefore important for companies to personalize the delivered chatbots to establish a flavor that is unique to the company and its culture. Described below is the process to get the PeopleSoft delivered Chatbots personalized and production-ready so they can be an effective means of user interaction:

  1. Personalize the Utterances, Intents, and Entities
  2. Enable Q&A feature to surface Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Customize the Dialog Flow to refine Bot Conversations
  4. Leverage ODA Insight Analytics to optimize Bot Performance

Now let's look deeper into each of these steps...

1. Personalize the Utterances, Intents, and Entities

In Chatbot vocabulary, “Utterance” is anything the user asks, which is examined by Natural Language Processor (NLP) to extract the “Intents” - what the user wants and “Entities” – the data to support the intent. For instance, if the user asks, “What is the cost of my dental plan?”, the whole sentence is the utterance, “Plan Cost” is the intent and “dental” is the entity.

Each PeopleSoft Chatbot is delivered with a set of Intents (what it can do), Entities (what data it can take), and Utterances (What does it respond to). Oracle Digital Assistant provides different ways for customers to personalize each of these aspects.

Utterance Library Export/Import

Utterances associated with an intent can be easily exported to a CSV file for editing and the updated version can be uploaded back. Conversational behavior of users varies highly across geography, demography, industry, etc. So it is critical to train the Chatbots on how your users will interact with them.

Enhance the delivered list of utterances to train the chatbots on company-specific terminologies, regional variations, languages, etc. For Instance, PeopleSoft's utterance could be “Show my savings plan beneficiaries”.  However, your employees may ask “Show my savings plan nominees”, Chatbots need to be trained on such variations.

Utterance Quality Report

ODA Provides a quality check report on the Utterance library that highlights issues like Similar Utterances, Misclassified Utterances, etc. It is a handy report to run and correct these issues to keep the utterance library effective.

Auto-Complete Suggestions

Customers can add a list of auto-complete suggestions for each intent, so the Chatbot can show predictive texts when the user starts to frame their question.

Answer Intents

This is a special type of intent that customers can use to quickly answer user questions. These intents do not integrate with backend systems like PeopleSoft to pull data and can be used to respond with a static answer to questions. For example, questions like “What is IT Service Desk email?” can be directly answered by the bot without backend integrations.

Entities Export/Import

An Entity list associated with an intent can be easily exported to a CSV file for editing and the updated version can be uploaded back. PeopleSoft Chatbots are delivered with a comprehensive list of entities for each intent and customers will need to review and refine this list for their specific usage. For Instance, the entity list for “Benefit Plan Types” will contain all plan types supported by PeopleSoft, however, customers may be only using a few of the plan types, so the unused plan types can be removed.

2. Enable QnA feature to surface Frequently Asked Questions

The Question and Answer (QnA) feature in ODA enables the Chatbot to answer any general-interest questions by returning a set of question/answer pairs that closely relate to user input. It is a way for companies to use the Chatbot to surface the Frequently Asked Questions or other knowledge base documents relevant to user inquiries. The question and Answer library can be easily created by importing a CSV file, and it supports multiple languages. Advanced settings allow you to control the ranking of questions/answers surfaced to the users.

PeopleSoft customers can use the QnA feature to greatly expand the services offered by the Chatbot by building a comprehensive library of Frequently Asked Questions, not just limiting the bot to tasks performed in PeopleSoft but covering the entire business process. For instance, a Recruitment Chatbot can be enhanced with a comprehensive set of Questions and Answers that job candidates frequently submit to recruiters. A well-built QnA library can cut down the volume of support inquires handled by administrators, thereby lowering overall user support costs.

3. Customize the Dialog Flow to refine the Bot Conversations

The Dialog Flow definition is the model for the Chatbot conversations, one that choreographs the interaction between the bot and its users. ODA uses “OBotML” which is its own implementation of YAML to manage Dialog Flow. 

PeopleSoft Chatbots are delivered with a default Dialog Flow, however, consider this as a template that can be modified to suit different usage requirements. Listed below are few use cases for updating the Dialog Flow in a Chatbot,

  • Controlling the default options prompted to users after answering a question.
  • Linking an Intent to another related Intent. For example, when a user requests to show their leave balance, after displaying the leave balance, prompt for creating a new leave request.
  • Review the usage insights to see where the conversation is dropping abruptly and update the Dialog Flow to end the conversation gracefully.
4. Leverage ODA Insight Analytics to optimize Bot Performance

The ODA platform offers detailed analytics on usage patterns of each Chatbot. These usage analytics offer insight on how users are interacting with the bot, its effectiveness in servicing user queries, rate of usage, timings, success/failure rates, etc. Some of the key features of usage analytics include the following:

  • Conversation Metrics - Completed vs Incomplete, Average duration
  • Intent Metrics – Fastest, Slowest, Average, Frequent Paths, Common Utterances, etc.
  • QnA Metrics – Rate of questions/answers/categories, Clicks per question, Average answer count

The usage dashboard also offers a “Retrainer” feature that can be used to improve the intent resolution of the chatbots by training them using the live data that flows through the digital assistant.

For PeopleSoft customers, especially in the early stages of customizing and deploying the delivered chatbots, usage analytics can be quite powerful in evaluating the chatbot’s effectiveness with smaller pilot groups before launching to the entire audience. Once launched to the target audience, these analytics can be used to continuously improve the bot’s effectiveness as the usage requirements evolve over time.

Conclusion

Market research supports that Chatbots can be trained to answer around 80% of user questions and can save support costs by over 30%. Chatbots offer 24x7 support and with the proliferation of bots on the internet, enterprise application users have come to expect on-demand assistance rather than lengthy instruction manuals and training documents. PeopleSoft customers can now leverage the powerful Oracle Digital Assistant cloud service to quickly personalize and deploy the delivered chatbots for their application users.

This post was provided by guest author, Logesh Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, SpearMC Consulting

You can learn more from Logesh at his blog:  https://leanitdesigns.blog/

We don't need no stinkin' passwords!

Thu, 2021-03-18 16:16

To plagiarize a movie quote:
         "passwords? passwords?
                       We don't need no stinkin' passwords!"


A password is a chimera, like the TSA line at airports, or the gates on "gated" communities. They might not provide absolute security, but they make people feel safer.
If a hacker wants to access a system all they need is for some user to click on a link in an email, or sometimes even opening an email or an attractive sounding web page.

Remember Stuxnet, the "found" USB drives, and the pointy haired boss illustration.
No password required.
 

As long as the following personality types or conditions  exist in an organization, they will be prone to compromise:

  • Moral Luck
  • Moral Hazard
  • Normalization of Deviance
    • "Familiarity Breeds Contempt"
  • Broken Pane Syndrome
  • Willful Blindness
  • Hubris
  • Disengagement/Disenchantment
  • "Elastic" Morality
  • Preference Cascade

Look around you and see where you recognize the type or combination of types.

(Note: I haven't provided any links in this list, since using any of the phrases in your favorite search engine will return lots of relevant information)

User Behavior Analytics (UBA) with "north south" and "east west" detection and restriction would provide organizations with enhanced levels of protection.

Read on for references to emerging security protection being used in the industry. These are provided as additional background.

Oracle and Passwordless

About Passwordless Login [link]

OAM provides passwordless authentication, which allows you to bypass the standard web-form-based authentication when using a mobile device. Passwordless authentication allows access to the protected resource without the need for entering the username and password every time. However, the first-time login is through the standard login form.

During the first time while accessing the protected resource, you are redirected to the standard login form. After successful login, you can enable passwordless notification-based authentication.

The next time (and subsequently) when you access the protected page and are required to login, a message is displayed (instead of the standard login page) mentioning that a push notification is sent to your mobile device. To authenticate, you must open the Oracle Mobile Authenticator (OMA) app on your registered mobile device and allow access. You are then redirected to the protected page.

 

User Behavior Analytics (UBA)

What is Oracle CASB?

The Importance of User Behavior Analytics for Cloud Service Security [link]

... To improve security for both cloud services and traditional IT, many enterprises are implementing security solutions that analyze user behavior. Rather than focusing solely on quickly identifying attack objects such as viruses and malware or beating the hackers to the punch with early discovery of vulnerabilities in operating systems or browsers, these UBA solutions focus analysis on actions performed by particular users, forming a baseline of normal behavior and continuously monitoring for deviations from the accepted norm.

 

Oracle and "north-south traffic" and "east-west traffic" protection [link]

... Architecture

[This] reference architecture consists of a firewall that controls north-south traffic and east-west traffic. North-south traffic is the traffic that comes from the internet (through the internet gateway) or the on-premises environment (through the dynamic routing gateway) to the VCNs. East-west traffic is the traffic between VCNs in your tenancy. This architecture shows how to design the network and where to place the firewall.

 

Oracle and NDR - Network Detection and Response (NDR)

Oracle Communications Security Shield Cloud  [link]

... The Oracle Communications Security Shield Cloud (OCSS Cloud) service evaluates calls crossing an enterprise’s network edge, detects malicious call signatures and behaviors, and produces a risk assessment for each call, all in real-time. Guided by this risk assessment, it uses policy-based actions to then automatically control the call’s resolution, aligning the call’s handling with an enterprise’s own perspective towards risk.

 

Two additional links for interest:

Something, Something, Security - Troy Hunt [link]

DEF CON 15 - Johnny Long No Tech Hacking [link]

 

 

Personalizing PeopleSoft--Make it Yours

Wed, 2021-03-10 11:41

We've talked a lot lately about the ways you can change PeopleSoft to meet your enterprise requirements while minimizing or eliminating the impact on the life cycle. Those conversations have covered isolating customizations and doing configurations. There is another area that is often overlooked and sometimes even resisted by customers: Personalization.

Personalization enables individual end-users to tailor their PeopleSoft user interface to their preferences. They typically do this to make the things that they want prominent and easy to access. Personalization allows users to organize things in a way that makes the most sense to them. Personalizations only affect the user making them, and don't affect other users. Such changes also don't affect any delivered images or functionality, so there is no impact on the life cycle.

I've heard some customers say that they don't permit their users to personalize, but the customers that do permit it are glad they do. Look at it this way: everyone that uses a smartphone personalizes their phone by adding apps, adding pages, moving widgets around, and changing the order of things. People also personalize the desktop of their computers. They do this to operate their devices more efficiently. Your PeopleSoft pages--whether operated on a phone or desktop--are really no different. Users simply want to organize things to suit themselves.

Let's look at some of the ways you can personalize PeopleSoft.

Personalizing Your Homepages

Most users will have access to more than one home page, and the ones you can view depend on your role. Each of those home pages can be personalized to suit your needs. 

To begin, choose the Personalize Homepage option from the ellipsis menu.

 

This opens the Personalize page. 

Here you can do the following:

  • Remove tiles--Click on the red x in the corner of the tile. This removes the tile from the homepage but doesn't delete it from the system, so you can add it again later or in another location.
  • Move tiles within this homepage--Drag them to your desired location.  Note that this can be done directly on the homepage as well.
  • Add a homepage--You can add any homepage for which you have permission or you can create a new home page. In many cases, users will want to create a personal homepage where they will include tiles they find useful that don't necessarily belong on one of the role-based home pages.

  • Add a tile--You can add any tile to which you have access. Again, you can add a tile to any of your homepages, including your personal homepage. You can search for a tile or browse. Tiles are grouped by area or category to help you find the ones that interest you.


  • Move or Copy a tile--You can move a tile from its current homepage to a different homepage, or copy a tile so it appears on more than one homepage.



 

Personalizing the NavBar

You can personalize the NavBar in much the same way to can a homepage. You can change the order of tiles, and remove or add tiles.


 

Setting Your Preferences

Preferences offer a wealth of choices to users. You access this from the My Preferences choice in the ellipsis menu.



On this page, you can set General Settings and how you want to receive Notifications. Pretty much all users can set these preferences. 




You can also set preferences for specific areas based on your roles. In this case, this user can also set preferences for Time and Labor, and Recruiting.

In addition to General settings, you can set preferences based on the region you work, system and app messages, navigation, pop-up notifications, and advanced settings. These are all pretty self-explanatory so I won't cover them in-depth here, but you can read more about them in PeopleBooks if you are so inclined. 

As you can see, there is a lot you can do in the way of personalization and preferences that enable you to make the PeopleSoft UI fit the way you work. So take advantage of them! Also, we're planning some more personalization options in a coming release, so I'll write about that in the future.


 

Configure PeopleSoft to Meet Your Needs

Fri, 2021-02-12 06:00

One of the most popular and powerful aspects of PeopleSoft has always been the ability to customize and configure your applications to meet the unique requirements of your enterprise.  The downside of customization is that those changes were expensive to maintain.  Over the past several years and PeopleTools releases, we have introduced several features to enable you to isolate customizations, thus minimizing the impact and cost of maintaining them.  Such features include Page and Field Configurator, drop zones, event mapping, and App Engine plugins.

In this post, I'd like to distinguish between customization and configuration, and focus on features you can use to configure your PeopleSoft applications and align the user interface with your enterprise, tailoring it to your users' needs and preferences. Let's take a look at these features...

Benefits of Configuration

Consider these advantages of configuration

  • Easy to do without coding
  • Powerful—you have many options
  • Target navigation and interaction to your users and roles
  • Reduce impact on maintenance & image uptake (easier, faster, and cheaper)
Configuration Features

Here are the main features you should consider using. These are all simple, fast, and easy to do:

Home Pages & Dashboards
Create your own home pages for roles, projects, or teams in your organization. Include the tiles that are meaningful to you.

Tiles
Create your own. Use Tile Wizard. Tiles can point to PeopleSoft or external content. Consider what your users need and what would make their navigation easier and more intuitive.


Navigation Collections
This simple but powerful utility, lets you provide groups of menu items for specific, targeted processes or activities.

Related Information
Add almost any information that can improve users' ability to complete transactions. This could include analytics, training/guidance/documentation, external resources, other PeopleSoft content.

Simplified Analytics
Puts analytic power in the hands of end-users. Lets users create analytics for their needs.

  • Simple 3-step process offering different visualizations and report templates
  • End-users can create their own analytics in the context of transactions
  • Secure, Fresh Data
  • Publish analytics and add them to Dashboards, Home Pages, or Related Information Frame
  • Publish to Tile Repository
  • Administrators can create and push prepared reports to end-users


WorkCenters
Aggregates related menu items and other content in one convenient place.

  • Streamline navigation
  • More than just Master/Detail—Sections in Nav Pane offer more than just menu items
  • Designed for specific Role or Purpose
  • Can contain analytics and related information to assist with process and decisions


 
Activity Guides
Guide your users through complex or infrequently performed activities. 

  • Improve precision, reduce user errors 
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for training
  • Reduce or eliminate documentation
  • Increase productivity

Branding
Apply your enterprise colors, logos, and other elements that reflect your company's or institution's branding theme. You can create your own branding themes, and set over 200 different aspects of your fluid environment.

Forms and Approval Builder
Eliminate paper forms in your business processes and replace them with online forms. Make them available within your PeopleSoft business processes.

Page Composer
Create custom pages for approval processes.

Give Them a Try

These features can be used in concert to make meaningful changes to your user interface.  Note that our applications teams deliver many instances for all of these features with the images you install.  The key thing to keep in mind is that you can create your own without conflicting with the delivered instances. Give these features a try and tailor your PeopleSoft applications user interface to the needs of your users.

PeopleSoft Podcast on Chatbots--Featuring Paul Isherwood

Fri, 2021-02-05 07:00

The latest installment in the PeopleSoft podcast series features Paul Isherwood of IntraSee, interviewed by PeopleSoft's own Robbin Velayadam.  IntraSee is a longtime PeopleSoft partner that has focused on the user experience.  Historically, they used their expertise in design and web development to create rich websites that improved and integrated the PeopleSoft user interface.  Now that the PeopleSoft Fluid UI has become widely adopted, Intrasee has shifted their main focus to helping PeopleSoft customers with chatbot/digital assistant design, development, and deployment.

In this episode, Paul talks a bit about IntraSee's history, then delves into why chatbots and digital assistants are so beneficial to enterprises.  He describes how they can reduce cost, improve user satisfaction and engagement, and even improve the effectiveness of help desks. Paul also talks describes how IntraSee uses the Oracle Digital Assistant, and why they think it is such a valuable product.

Chatbots and digital assistants are a major initiative for PeopleSoft.  Learn more about how we are providing this capability here.

Visit here to learn more about Oracle Digital Assistant.

Take Note! Significant Changes for PeopleSoft COBOL Using Micro Focus Compilers

Thu, 2021-02-04 10:20

There are some significant and important changes related to the use of Micro Focus COBOL in PeopleSoft applications.  The well-seasoned Net Express and Server Express products are going out of support, there is a price increase coming, and a new version of Visual COBOL has been certified for use with current PeopleTools releases.  This blog is meant to ensure the PeopleSoft customer base is aware of the changes and are planning accordingly – don’t wait on this one!

Oracle, PeopleSoft’s Exclusive Provider of Micro Focus COBOL Licenses

Oracle is the exclusive reseller of the Micro Focus (MF) COBOL compiler for PeopleSoft applications and provides unique benefits to our customers.  With the license obtained from Oracle (or PeopleSoft before that) PeopleSoft customers purchase licenses based on a ‘named user’ basis for the compiler license; a named user is a combination of a person AND a server (physical or virtual) used to compile COBOL programs.  As such, a single person could require more than one license.  Limiting the number of people performing compiles and the number of servers used for compiling programs will minimize the total licenses required.

The other part of the MF license is the run time license.  This is where Oracle provides a major benefit to its PeopleSoft customers by providing an unlimited COBOL runtime license.  In the past when customers had purchased a license from other sources, the runtime license was charged separately and was often omitted or calculated incorrectly.  This resulted in some unpleasant surprises when licenses were audited by the provider.  Oracle entered into an agreement with Micro Focus a number of years ago that provides the unlimited runtime license, so customers do not have to worry about the number of end-users using the compiled programs.  Additionally, PeopleSoft takes care of the first and second line support (application functionality and technical support) for COBOL programs and the MF compiler as well.  We also work with MF directly to obtain any updates required for the compiler.  This agreement has served our customers well for many years.

COBOL for PS Overview Net Express and Server Express End of Life Nears

By now, I’m hoping this is not new news to anyone.  We’ve been calling out the retirement of Net Express and Server Express ever since the initial migration to Visual COBOL was completed back on April 1, 2019 (yes, no fooling!). For reference, see the following Doc ID on MyOracleSupport:

Tech Update - Oracle Certifies Micro Focus Visual COBOL for PeopleSoft Note:2525126.1   

Micro Focus Net Express and Server Express products will no longer be supported as of the delivery of the scheduled CPU patch in April, 2021.  This means that no new patches or certifications will be performed and no new licenses will be provided for the retired products.  Any required new, or expansion licenses for the old products must be completed in the next couple of months.  At this time, new licenses default to the new version of Visual COBOL that we just certified, Visual COBOL 6.0. 

Note that the support date for the old COBOL products was already extended due to the COVID challenges we’ve all faced.  You can review the previous communications we made:

Tech Update - Oracle PeopleSoft Provides Additional Time for Micro Focus COBOL Migration Note:2656965.1
PeopleTools BLOG: Oracle PeopleSoft Provides Additional Time for Micro Focus COBOL Migration

Moving Forward with Visual COBOL 6.0

UPDATED Feb 26, 2021:

The Micro Focus Visual COBOL compiler V6.0 is targeted to be recertified around Apr 1, 2021.

UPDATED Feb 5, 2021: 

A BUG (32368978)  had been reported related to the use of a new keyword ("CONSTANT") in the V6 compiler.  At this time we are holding the certification of V6.  Our applications are assessing the impact of this issue, and we expect to have the issue resolution and certification available in the near future.

PeopleSoft’s migration to MF Visual COBOL was initially done using v4.0.  Since that time, Micro Focus has come out with a couple of new versions.  In line with our published Technical Support Policy Oracle has certified the Visual COBOL 6.0 compiler with PeopleTools 8.57 and above.  There is no additional license fee for existing PeopleSoft customers to obtain the new version, as long as the license was purchased from Oracle and support maintenance has been uninterrupted for it.   

Visual COBOL 6.0 replaces the previous Visual COBOL 4.0 on Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (OSDC), although existing customers may continue to use Visual COBOL 4.0 with PeopleTools 8.56 – 8.58.  PeopleSoft customers that have not yet transitioned from the old Net/Server Express should now go directly to Visual COBOL 6.0 when upgrading to PeopleTools 8.57, or above.

Minimum patch levels required with VC 6.0:

   - PeopleTools 8.58:  8.58.03 (on-premises base patch)

   - PeopleTools 8.57:  8.57.05

   - PeopleTools 8.56:  (not certified w/VC 6.0)

New Pricing for Compiler Licenses Planned to Take Effect Next Month

PeopleSoft has been reselling the MF COBOL compiler since before the acquisition, and in all that time there has been no increase in license pricing (at least that I recall), even though the royalties we pay have increased numerous times.  Oracle has shielded customers from any increased pricing over the years, including the transition to Visual COBOL.  However, as our costs continue to increase, we need to make some changes.  In the first half of March, the new pricing will be rolled out for new licenses.  The good news is that the new pricing affects only additional, new licenses.  So, if you need to update the licenses you have...get it done ASAP and take advantage of current pricing! 

I want to point out one other thing:  Just today I had a question come in from a customer that was running the old Merant compiler, which goes back a few COBOL ‘generations’.  It cannot be upgraded to Visual COBOL.  If you have “Object COBOL”, it’s the same story: a new license must be purchased, as there were chargeable upgrades for those products that are no longer available.  Only licenses from Net Express and Server Express may be upgraded to Visual COBOL.

Make sure you're COBOL plans are all in place - multiple clocks are ticking...loudly.

 

Additional information:

Tech Update - Oracle Certifies Micro Focus Visual COBOL for PeopleSoft Note:2525126.1

Tech Update – Oracle Updates the Visual COBOL Compiler for PeopleSoft Applications Note:2736467.1

Tech Update – Using Visual COBOL with PeopleSoft Applications (FAQ)  Note:2523494.1

PeopleTools BLOG:  PeopleTools BLOG: Oracle Extends PeopleTools 8.56 Patch Cycle Due to COVID-19

PeopleTools 8.57 Home Page Note:2433119.2 (See the Installation and Upgrade tab)

PeopleTools 8.58 Home Page Note:2602329.2 (See the Installation and Upgrade tab)

How to Request Software Media when it is Unavailable in OSDC Note:1071023.1

 

DevOps with PeopleSoft – what’s in it for me?

Mon, 2021-02-01 11:19

 

DevOps Guide

Oracle DevOps guide

 

DevOps, like the human condition, has the property that “You can’t be a little bit DevOps!” PeopleTools doesn’t natively, directly, support a DevOps or Agile, approach to development.

However, there are a number of delivered features that lend themselves to a DevOps approach.

Below I’ve listed the “pillars” of DevOps including items for consideration in each. Some of these are delivered in PeopleTools, others are in use in the broader developer community.

DevOps

  • Plan
    • Adding New features
    • Issues from Test
    • Backlog – The list of items to be delivered in the project
    • Feature/Issue Tracking e.g. Jira

https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira

Typically, the genesis of a project is the need to add new features or to bundle together issues in an existing feature that have been recognized during monitoring. Issues discovered during testing should be resolved in the coding cycle.

It is important that each developer or group of developers have a standalone environment in which to work, that way their changes are unlikely to impact the work of other groups. Cloud Manager is the most significant recent delivery from PeopleSoft, which allows dynamic provisioning of template-based environments.

ACM and ADS ensure that test relevant configurations and system data are defined in the non-production systems. For instance, you want to avoid thousands of test payroll deposits being sent to the bank!

PeopleSoft Change Control is not a versioning system, but it does provide a means to lock objects and to maintain a history of locked and unlocked objects.

    • Choose a collaboration platform, e.g. Slack

Collaboration tools provide a means for separated team members to keep in touch efficiently, code suggestions, responding to queries, problem responses, etc.

 

App Designer is PeopleSoft’s native IDE (Integrated Development Environment.) There is currently no other way to develop native PeopleSoft code. Note: PeopleSoft also makes some use of Java and batch and reporting languages.

Event Mapping is based on Application Classes that must be developed in PeopleCode. These do form the basis of reusable code.

 

Event Mapping is an approach to register blocks of code against events in the PeopleSoft transaction component, for instance SAVE. F&P Config makes use of delivered Event Mapping block to configure actions on a transaction page. Both features can be configured/managed through the browser interface rather than through App Designer. Event Mapping is used to inject custom code, but those customizations are isolated from delivered code and are not recognized in compare reports.  The changes are also not overridden when new images are taken.  Thus the impact of change is reduced.

 

PTF is a delivered feature to automate functional testing of new code.

    • Security
    • User Acceptance

Ultimately some testing must be carried by the people who will be using the feature and pass their approval to Release Management.

Note: Security testing is often left until the end on the project but it is more efficient if considerations for security are built in at each stage of the Agile process.

 

  • Release
    • PeopleSoft Change Control reporting
    • PeopleSoft Change Control

Release Management has to take responsibility for ensuring that objects which have been locked are unlocked for release, and the objects that were modified do not impact the release of other features or compromise the production system.

    • Code Version Control

There is no delivered PeopleSoft native code version control. Many customers have invested in third-party products.

    • Schema Version Control

There is no delivered version control for the DB schema, and the team leaders must ensure that any changes necessary do not impact other features in development or the features already in place in production. Judicious application of PTF for the relevant modules will help ensure the integrity of the system.

    • Sign off by release management

 

  • Deploy
    • Review/Define/Execute ACM/ADS for prod system

Production target endpoints and configuration data must be re-configured before the move into production of the new or modified modules.

    • Lifecycle Management (LCM) Projects

PeopleSoft delivers an extensive suite to manage the life cycle of the system and ensure its integrity in production.

    • Move to Production

 

There is a significant difference between adoption and efficient use of system features based on the level and necessity for user training. PeopleSoft delivered UPK in support until December 2022.

 

OMC which includes APM and Log Analytics is a cloud-based monitoring suite, will also monitor on-premise installations. The PeopleSoft team worked extensively with the OMC team to ensure that OMC is PeopleSoft “aware.”

Back to Plan to restart the cycle …

 

Please review the following …

Like Security, Governance remains an essential element in implementing an Agile approach, see:
Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Small Agile Team's Journey from Scrum to Continuous Delivery 1st Edition

by Mark Lines, Scott W. Ambler

"... Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery provides a quick overview of how agile software development works from beginning-to-end. It describes the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) process decision framework and then works through a case study describing a typical agile team’s experiences adopting a disciplined agile approach. The book describes how the team develops the first release of a mission-critical application while working in a legacy enterprise environment. "

Your agile governance strategy will enable and motivate agile/lean teams to: 

  • Fulfill your organization’s strategies and objectives; 
  • Sustain and extend your strategies and objectives; 
  • Regularly and consistently create real business value; 
  • Provide an appropriate return on investment (ROI); 
  • Deliver consumable solutions in a timely and relevant manner; 
  • Work effectively with their colleagues and stakeholders; 
  • Adopt processes and organizational structure that encourage successful ways of working (WoW); 
  • Present accurate and timely information to their stakeholders; 
  • Mitigate the risks they face. 

 

Five Ingredients Needed for Successful Organizational Transformation: The Importance of Vision, Leadership, Technical Plan, Social Plan, and Burning Platform in Undergoing Change Efforts Paperback – July 1 2011

by Marvin Washington

"... This book will 'walk' you through our framework of the five ingredients of transformation: Burning Platform, why should you do anything; Vision, where are you going; Leadership, are you leading the effort, and do you have the skills necessary to lead; Technical Plan, how will you close the gap between the vision and the burning platform; and, Social Plan, how will you enroll others in the plan."

Integrating Security with DevOps on Oracle Cloud

"... In the many engagements in which we've helped customers migrate and develop applications in Oracle Cloud, I have found that security is often a critical missing element in customer DevOps processes. In these cases, security is treated like a siloed and gated activity which, when missed or applied too late, leads to missed project deadlines and vulnerable systems."

 

Timeline Visualizations for PeopleSoft

Fri, 2021-01-29 08:00

At OpenWorld 2019, Paco Aubrejuan introduced Kibana Data Visualizations for PeopleSoft. Kibana Visualizations are impressive and powerful visualizations rendered from Elastic index data. Visualizations increase a user’s ability to comprehend information much more than just reading facts and figures. Kibana visualizations are great if you are at 8.58, but what if you aren’t? What if you still run 8.42 through 8.57? You need visualizations too! So, what are your options?

  • Pivot Grids are the easiest to implement. First, create a multi-dimensional query. Second, publish that query as a Pivot Grid chart.
  • Another option, one that has been around since PeopleTools 8.46, is Pagelet Wizard charts. These charts also run against queries. They are not as full-featured as Pivot Grids but may have performance advantages.
  • Leverage the PeopleCode charting API. We can chart data similar to Pivot Grids using the same charting libraries but using Rowsets and other PeopleCode objects.
  • Implement Oracle JET. Oracle JET is a JavaScript library published by Oracle and embedded in PeopleTools. It is the charting library used by PeopleTools and offers visualizations beyond elementary charts.
  • Implement a different JavaScript charting library, such as D3.js. This option happens to be one of my favorites as it offers unlimited visualization opportunities.

Interestingly, these alternatives have been around for a very long time. In fact, most of these options are available to customers still using PeopleTools releases as old as 8.42. And these options will continue to work with PeopleTools into the foreseeable future.

The point of visualization is to help us understand data, find relationships, spot anomalies, and correct or capitalize on change. Perhaps the most difficult data to visualize is effective dated data. When you open an effective dated component, you see current and future dated rows, but not historical rows. So how can we visualize the number of historical rows? What is the relationship between each of those historical rows? What happened at each effective dated change? What is the gap between those changes?

You need a visualization to understand the relationships between effective dated rows. At OpenWorld, we showed hundreds of users how we plotted effective dated job data to visualize changes between effective dates. We used features, such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PeopleCode, and Related Content, that are available to early 8.5x tools releases.


Our solution uses Related Content to add a chart to a delivered HCM Classic component, in this case, Job Data. We implemented the Related Content as an iScript, allowing us to combine Oracle JET’s timeline visualization with PeopleSoft data. We then related the iScript to the component through Employee ID and Employee record. 

We documented the entire process on our YouTube channel and created a unique Playlist specifically for our Oracle JET timeline series. Watch the series now!

Guest blogger Jim Marion--

Jim J. Marion, CPA.CITP is an Oracle ACE that serves the PeopleSoft community as a Master Trainer for JSMpros, an Oracle partner specializing in PeopleTools training. Check out JSMpros.com and learn expert solutions from the team at JSMpros.

Reconnect--The conference with the most up-to-date PeopleTools content

Mon, 2021-01-25 17:22

One thing I miss about the pre-Covid world is attending conferences.  I miss presenting and attending sessions, the informal gatherings, the hall conversations, meeting customers and partners at the demo pod, and of course the food.  Our in-person conferences have been replaced by virtual conferences and while different, they have their benefits.  They offer live sessions, on-demand recorded sessions, online chat, and meeting rooms, and the biggest benefit is the cost.  Sending a large team to a conference was out of the question for most organizations, but conferences like Reconnect offer corporate rates, so a one-time registration fee covers as many attendees as you want.  Specialists can register and attend one or two sessions without worrying about the cost/value equation.

In the past, the PeopleTools team would attend many different conferences and repeat sessions over and over, knowing that each conference was attended by a different user community.  It’s just not that way anymore.  In the virtual conference reality, cost and travel barriers are removed and anyone can attend live, or watch recordings. As a result, we’ve changed the way we approach and think about conferences and think you should too.

Our primary focus is to provide content for Oracle PeopleSoft Reconnect events.  The next one of these is Reconnect Envision, scheduled to take place from April 26th-29th.  It is a virtual event covering PeopleSoft applications and technology and we are putting in overtime to make sure there is as much valuable content as possible.  We are excited to announce and show lots of new capabilities in the latest PeopleTools release as well as the latest in PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  Don't miss it!  A second conference, Reconnect Deep Dive will be held October 4th – 7th.  We’ll talk more about that after Reconnect Envision.   With the focus shifting to Reconnect, we will not be presenting sessions at Alliance in March.

Additionally, everyone should be aware of what is available from our partners.  Several partners, JSMPros, psadmin.io, SpearMC, Appsian, Astute, Version1, and others have conferences, summits, webinars, and training, that provide great content, sometimes at a cost and sometimes, for free.  We may or may not participate in these, but we are supportive of them, promote them, and encourage you to explore the value they provide.  These events offer a great perspective that you won’t necessarily get from Oracle.

The one thing that I am hopeful for is that we will get back together and meet and interact person to person soon.  Until then, now’s the time to get as much out of the virtual world as possible.  

See you (virtually) at Reconnect Envision -


 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Webinar

Fri, 2021-01-22 09:55

PeopleSoft has begun support for AI/ML.  Over the past several months, we posted a series of blog articles on this subject beginning with an introduction.  That was followed by data acquisition, data modeling, and finally, model deployment.

If you are a developer interested in this subject, consider attending Oracle's Developer Live online webinar focused on AI/ML.  This webinar offers technical sessions, hands-on labs, demos, panels, and live Q&A with experts. It is held on different days and different times for developers all around the world.  You can learn more about the event and sign up for it here.

 

 

Updated Kibana Course

Thu, 2021-01-21 11:07

Support for Kibana reporting and analytics is a major initiative for PeopleSoft.  One of our partners, SpearMC, offers Kibana training.  Their course was first offered last fall, but they've updated the material.  You can learn more about it here.

Visit our Analytics page on peoplesoftinfo.com to learn more about using Kibana with PeopleSoft.

 

Using Drop Zones to Isolate Customizations

Thu, 2019-04-25 13:33

The ability to customize PeopleSoft applications has always been a powerful and popular aspect of PeopleSoft products.  This power and flexibility came at a cost, however. Although customizations are valuable in that they enable customers to meet unique and important requirements that are not part of the standard delivered products, they are difficult and costly to maintain.

PeopleSoft has been working hard to enable customers to continue developing those valuable customizations, but implement them in a way that they are isolated from our delivered products.  This minimizes life cycle impact and allows customers to take new images without having to re-implement customizations each time.  Providing the ability to isolate customizations is a high priority investment for us.  We've developed several features that facilitate the ability to isolate customizations.  The latest is Drop Zones.  Drop Zones became available with PeopleTools 8.57, and customers must be on 8.57 to implement them. 

First let's look at the benefits as well as things you must consider when using Drop Zones:

Benefits
  • Customers can add custom fields and other page elements without life cycle impact
  • You have the full power of PeopleTools within Drop Zones.  You can apply PeopleCode to custom elements
  • Reduces LCM time when taking new image.  No need to re-implement customizations!
  • Works on Fluid pages
Considerations
  • It's still developer work, some of which is done in App Designer
  • Doesn't reduce implementation time for customization (the benefit is during LCM)
  • Some pages won't work with Drop Zones
  • No support for Classic pages (as of 8.57)
What Does PeopleSoft Deliver?

You can only use drop zones on pages delivered by PeopleSoft applications.  (Don't add your own--that would be a customization.)  Drop Zones will be delivered with the following application images:

  • FSCM 31
  • HCM 30
  • ELM 19
  • CRM 17

Our application teams are delivering drop zones in pages where customizations are most common.  This was determined in consultation with customers.  Typical pages have two drop zones: one at the top, the other at the bottom.  However, there may be cases with more or fewer drop zones.

How Do I Implement Drop Zones?

Move to PeopleTools 8.57 or later. Take Application images that have drop zones.

  1. Review and catalog your page customizations and determine whether they can be moved to Drop Zones.  Compare your list to delivered pages with Drop Zones.  (Lists for all applications are available on peoplesoftinfo.com>Key Concepts>Configuration.)

  2. Create subpages with customizations you want to implement (custom fields, labels, other widgets...)  In the example here, we've created a simple subpage with static text and a read-only Employee ID field.
  3. Insert your custom subpage into the Drop Zone.
  4. Configure your subpage to the component containing the page.  There may be more than one drop zone available, so make sure you choose the one you want.  Subpages are identified by labels on their group boxes.


    Your custom subpage will be dynamically inserted at runtime.  Any fields and other changes on your subpages are loaded into the component buffer along with delivered content.  Your subpages are displayed as if part of the main page definition.  End users will see no difference between custom content and delivered content.

Now this customization is isolated, and will not be affected when you take the next application image.  Your customization will be carried forward, and you don't have to re-implement it every time you take a new image.  These changes will not appear in a Compare Report.

What Can I Do to Prepare for Using Drop Zones?

Even if you are not yet on an application image that contains Drop Zones, you can prepare ahead of time, making implementation faster. 

  1. Review and catalog your page customizations and compare them against the pages with delivered drop zones in the images you will eventually uptake.  
  2. Consider which page customizations you want to implement with Drop Zones.  Prioritize them.
  3. Start building subpages containing those customizations.

When you move to the application images that contain drop zones, you can simply insert the subpages you've created as described above.

See this video for a nice example of islolating a customization with Drop Zones.

 

PeopleTools 8.57 is now available to download to your site

Tue, 2019-01-15 13:42

Oracle announced yesterday that PeopleTools 8.57.04 Product Patch is now available for on-premises downloads.  Go to the PeopleTools 8.57 Home Page on My Oracle Support (doc 2433119.2) for more information and a link to the PeopleSoft Patches Home Page.  This patch is also available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).  All customers using PeopleSoft Cloud Manager will be able to subscribe to the PeopleTools 8.57 channel and have the new patch automatically downloaded to their cloud repository and ready for one-click upgrade/patching.

I'd like to extend thanks to all the customers and partners that took the time to upgrade a PeopleSoft instance to 8.57 using PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  Many have shared their stories in webinars, conference sessions and blog posts.  One of my favorites is a blog post from Graham Smith, Cedar Consulting, who in this post 'PeopleTools 8.57 Upgrade Magic' coined the term 'Magic Upgrade PeopleTools Button'.  The name is going to stick.

Visit my previous post PeopleTools 8.57 is Available on the Oracle Cloud for more information and links to additional resources on the new Tools release.  Also, don't forget to stay informed with the Tech Updates (doc 764222.1).  There are important updates about how 8.57 is the last PeopleTools release that will support MAP technology and the DB2 LUW platform.

For those of you that would still like to try the 'Magic Upgrade Button' in the cloud, you can still do that with a free trial account.  Instructions have been made into a spotlight video, Upgrading to 8.57 on Oracle Cloud using PeopleSoft Cloud Manager.  You can find a link to that video and all spotlight videos here.

 

 

 

 

 

Migrating PeopleSoft Applications to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Mon, 2019-01-07 19:00

There is a great opportunity to learn more about running your PeopleSoft Applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).  OCI is Oracle's leading Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud Platform, and many PeopleSoft customers are choosing it as the IaaS platform for PeopleSoft.

In this virtual workshop you'll hear all the technical details about OCI and see firsthand how you as a PeopleSoft customer can benefit.

  • Title: Migrating PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  • Time: Wednesday, January 16, 12:00pm EST/9:00am PST

Click here to register for the event.

Specialist will be on the call to answer any of your questions after the webinar.

Don't miss this exiting event!

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