Trouble importing ERDs

image

Oracle deliver a set of ERDs (Entity Relationship Diagrams) that allow us to see how the tables beneath the application all fit together. You can see the fields and the keys, so you can build up a picture of how they relate.

Installing them is a little tricky however. They come as a Change Package, so you need to have that up and running - but most clients will already have this. The fun part was that even after a bounce of the App Server, and completion of Portal Security Sync I didn’t have permission to view the items.

I could see the top level ‘Data Models’ menu item, and I could drill down through, however when I tried to click on an ERD it told me I didn’t have permission. Looking at the security setup I could see that I had the relevant Permission List (HCCPHR9100) as I had the ‘HR System Administrator’ role. So why couldn’t I see the ERD?

When I look at the URL it shows me the menu and component name:

However when I look at the SETUP_HRMS Menu in App Designer it doesn’t contain that component. Aha!

Simply adding the Component to the Menu allows me access to the ERDs.

Accumulators and User Keys in Global Payroll

Accumulators are supporting elements, found in Global Payroll, which store cumulative values of defined items, such as gross earnings and entitlement balances for holiday.

There are two types of accumulator:

  • Segment  –          accumulates values in a single net-to-gross calculation
  • Balance    –         accumulates values over a period of time, for example a month or a year

Accumulators can be set up automatically when a payroll element, like an earning a deduction or an absence take is produced. The accumulators will then track the values over time, period to date, year to date etc.

User Keys

User keys are used on accumulators, to enable us to track balances at various levels. This is most useful for tracking separate periods of employment and changes of NI category in a UK payroll.

A user is able to define up to six user keys for an accumulator. User keys enable you to track a given accumulator at levels below employee record. For example, you can track an employee’s year-to-date earnings by contract number or company.

The keys that can be used against accumulators are either Variables or System Elements. For example if you wanted to track an employee’s year to date earnings by company, the system element COMPANY would be assigned to this accumulator as a user key:

Although most system elements and variables can be useful as user keys, there are a few restrictions:

  • The system doesn’t accumulate employee data across pay groups and pay entities in different countries. Thus, COUNTRY is not a meaningful user key.
  • Key values are limited to 25 characters and can be characters, dates, or integers. Before selecting user keys, you should know how their values are stored in the results table.
  • You can use decimal and monetary elements as user keys, but the system uses only the whole number and ignores the decimal part. Negative values are converted and stored as positive values.

GBR VR ACCDT

GBR VR ACCDT is an important variable used in accumulator user keys. It is used to split up individual employee records. For example, if an employee has multiple employment records it will separate them and produce a running total for each instance individually from the effective date on the hire row for that unique employee record. If this variable didn’t exist, then all employee records would be lumped together as one value and cause problems later on when trying to calculate values in things such as RTI using year to date figures.

GBR VR ACCDT uses the formula GBR FM ACCDT2 to bring back the array GBR AR STARTERS:

The record (GPGB_STARTER_VW) brings back anyone’s starter row where the Action type is in the GPGB_PRC_ACTION table and the code = P01 which is pulled from the page “Process Action/Reasons GBR”

If the “Hire (HIR)” action reason is ticked on this page it will pull the effective date from this row in job data and apply to the GBR VR ACCDT variable. The effective date for each employee record is then taken and used to produce a running total for each unique employee record.

Adjusting YTD accumulators

If a calendar has been finalised for an employee, and you realise the YTD figures need an adjustment, the user is able to:

  • Adjust an accumulator’s results or add a new instance to the results.
  • Insert a new accumulator into the results.

After the adjustment is made and the next run starts processing, the system reads the original year-to-date balance with the adjustment and uses it as the starting value for the accumulator.

NB: If a retroactive trigger was to be used, causing the original month to be recalculated, the adjustment would be ignored, and the starting balance would be taken from that of the previous month.

In order to adjust an accumulator in a finalised payroll, navigate to:

Global Payroll & Absence Mgmt > Payee Data > Adjust Balances > Accumulators > Adjust Accumulator Balance

The user will then have to fill in the form with the Accumulator name, the unique empl record, the begin and end date, the user keys, the amount and reason for the adjustment.

Example:

The accumulators are shown in the results by calendar group as follows:

The top result for NI AC LEL YTD shows their YTD values during their first bout of employment (Hire 01/08/13 – Terminated 13/10/13).

The second result shows their YTD values since rehire on 14/10/2013.

In both instances, you can see that User Key 1 is populated with their date of hire for both records and user key 2 is showing the employee NI category.

Succeed at UKOUG Apps 2013

A couple of week’s ago Succeed attended the UKOUG Apps 2013 conference. We had a great time, met some friendly people and enjoyed some strong content over the 2 days.  

Succeed presented two sessions ourselves, Michelle (T&L guru and pre-sales Funcitonal expert) presented first on running Timesheets and Expenses within PeopleSoft HCM (i.e. without having the extra infrastructure that would be required for the Financials environment that Timesheets and Expenses resides in).

I also presented on PeopleSoft in the Cloud. I can’t seem to embed Slideshare presentations here, so the presentation is available at this link.

New T&L Features in Oracle PeopleSoft 9.2

Having had a play with T&L 9.2, I must say that I nearly fell off my chair when I saw some of the new functionality that has been introduced. Oracle has really thought about the user experience, listened to customer feedback and has introduced functionality which will make life simpler for Administrators and Managers. The screens are more engaging and processes have been simplified. As a lover of all things T&L (sad I know) I am hoping that this latest version will increase T&L’s fan base.

The new functionality includes:

1. Time and Labor WorkCenter 

Hurrah! Finally there is a one stop shop for Managers to see all items related to T&L including queries, alerts and new reports…….fab, fab, fab………..take a look.

2. Generation of Payable time from Timesheet

This is big news for T&L, as most of its competitors have been doing this for a few years now. We have always had the ability to run ‘on-line rules’ via the Timesheet but now there is an option which can be selected on the T&L Installation page which will allow Payable time to be generated when a timesheet is submitted. As we all know Time Administration is a sensitive beast so it will be interesting to see the performance implications of this.

3. Timesheet Lockdown

Oracle has really been listening to their customers’ feedback on this requirement and it is long overdue. Gone are the days when users will be able to keep on updating timesheets and creating last minute payable time during critical processing periods. Timesheets can now be locked (and unlocked) if required by Paygroup, especially important when Payroll is being processed. Great addition in functionality!!

4. Time Reporting Code (TRC) Display

Within the TRC programme additional fields have been introduced so that users have more control on how TRC’s are displayed on the Timesheet. This includes the order and which role can view the TRC on the Timesheet. If a customer has a large number of ‘non rule driven’ TRC’s this functionality will make TRC allocation on a Timesheet easier for Administrators, Managers and Employees, as they will have a list of TRC’s defined by their role but can then be ordered in alphabetical order, most used order………good piece of kit!!

5. Timesheet Display

The good old Time Reporting Template has been updated to give more flexibility of what is displayed on the Timesheet e.g. Payable time view, Estimated cost view. Nice features which makes managing time simpler as a lot more information is displayed in one place.

The Workgroup page has also had a few additions, including the option of whether other users can adjust an employee’s Timesheet as well as the employee themselves and also signatures of the employee to signoff their Timesheet.

6. Reports

We already know that there is a lack of good ‘out of the box’ T&L reports. With this version 2 new XML publisher reports have been included:
a) Reported Time Audit report
b) Compensatory Balances report

There are also a few nice delivered T&L interactive reports including:
a) Timesheet by Status
b) Attendance Violations

And don’t forget that Pivot Grids can also be configured to display T&L data

7. Little tweaks here and there

For example, on the Timesheet:

i. Ability to print the Timesheet ……how good is that….Retail businesses will love this
ii. Earliest Change displayed 
iii. Ability to delete time by using the magic ‘x’ symbol within the cell

iv. Hyperlinks for changing the Timesheet type e.g. Punch Timesheet to Elapsed Timesheet has moved further up on the Timesheet to make it more visible.

As I said previously, I am very pleased that Oracle has really listened to customer feedback and incorporated some excellent functionality to my much loved T&L and they have managed to ensure that it is once more competitive with other T&L products. There is still more that can be done, but this is a great start.

Succeed win Gold at the UKOUG Partner of the Year – again!

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Succeed were awarded Gold for a third year running at this year’s prestigious UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Partner of the Year Awards 2013/14. The ceremony was held on Friday 4th October 2013 at Altitude 360 in London.

Succeed was the only partner this year to receive two Gold Awards:

  • UKOUG PeopleSoft Partner of the Year Award
  • UKOUG General Business Partner of the Year Award

These awards are nominated by our clients and are testament to all the hard work and commitment from the whole Succeed team.

With special thanks to:

  • Our valued customers and supporters for taking the time to vote for us.
  • The incredible Succeed team for their drive and commitment across the entire practice.

Succeed’s Summer Team Day 2013 
image

Succeed’s Summer Team Day 2013 was a scorcher (in more ways than one!). This year, it was held at the beautiful Pendley Manor near Tring, and we were welcomed into the grounds by the vociferous white peacocks roaming freely around the estate.

As is tradition, the day started with a finger buffet breakfast, followed by the business updates from the management team. The peacocks sounded as though they rather enjoyed the presentations with constant, loud squawks, seemingly agreeing with what was being said.

After the updates and announcements, it was time for a quick lunch before changing into our most active gear for an afternoon of “Succeed Olympics”.

We were split off into 8 teams to compete in Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting (sadly, Superman, far right, was seemingly not invincible and was pipped to the post by our own Man of Steel, John, 2nd left).

image

The ski-walk relay - some teams fared much better in the ski walk than others, and jigsaw solving -demonstrating that some Succeeders are clearly more talented with their brains than their brawn!

image

Archery

image

And finally the inflatable bungee run and gladiator arena (Disclaimer: no Succeeders were harmed in the making of these games)

image

image

A day out in the sunshine kept everyone in high spirits as we all sat down to have some afternoon tea and Pimms before rounding off the afternoon with a big game of volleyball.

Our evening was spent eating a huge hog roast – the apple in its mouth being the vegetarian alternative (!), playing on the 8 lane Scalextric, the Wii and some thoroughly tuneful karaoke.

image

All in all it was a fantastic day of catching up, team building and a healthy dose of competition. If you want to see more of the pictures, and some videos, they’re available here.

The sun has now set on the most successful Summer Team Day yet, and we look forward to the dawning of a continued successful era for Succeed Consultancy and all of its clients.

Move over 9 box grid! There’s a new model in the town - X Model!

During my MBA, we studied how employee satisfaction is imperative for the organisational performance but we saw no evidence showing the link… A happy employee does not necessarily mean a productive employee! Sure… but, in the last 3 years, research has taken employee satisfaction to a higher level- now it is called something more appealing. The new buzz word is ‘Employee Engagement’. 

Engagement is the soft factor within any organisation that will lead to higher performance. There have been several articles on the tangible and intangible benefits of leading an engaged workforce. These studies have also shown that the Engagement levels directly impact the performance level of the employee.

People are so important for any company - and keeping them engaged will help the company grow along with its employees (instead of the other way round!). The 9 box grid is one of the most used analytic to determine the position of an employee in the company. In simple terms, 9 box grid is used to assess the talent pools within the company based on performance and potential of the employees.

image

Performance is easy to measure, if you have the right means and with employees taking responsibility. However, how can you measure the potential? Is it potential based on the company hierarchy - vertical growth? Is it potential based on available roles within the company - horizontal growth? Or is it based on the employee’s aspirations? Ideally - it’s a mix of all three! This takes us nicely to the X model developed by BlessingWhite. The X model is where employee aspirations coincide with the organisational objectives. This is so eerily similar to the 9 box grid - perhaps it is engagement all along that we are chasing - under the name of performance?

image

The engaged in the top corner will end up as the Rising Stars. The disengaged at the bottom of the diagram are at a risk of termination if their personal goals are not aligned to the organisational goals.

See the video on the X Model here

This video explains how everyone in the organisation need to take a role in making it work - Employees need to take ownership, Managers to motivate and Executives to demonstrate commitment to the engagement.

It is time to move towards making engagement part of our daily work instead of waiting for an annual review. If you were to place yourself on the grid, where would that be? On an individual level, are you achieving your own goals along with helping the company achieve its goals?

Some learnings from XSLT

I’ve started using XSLT to transform XML in the Pagelet Wizard recently and wanted to share some tips from what I have learned.

1) XMLper - Transform - This is a handy, easy to use, free, online XSL transformer. Input the XML you want to transform and the XSL to do it, and it gives you the output, or associated errors. The specific error messages are really handy, especially if you are doing XSL for Pagelets in PeopleSoft as you just get an error saying it’s failed.

2)  Generating HTML using XSL is tricky, unless you have a very straightforward and simple structure (in which case you probably don’t even need a stylesheet). The engine tries to close any open tags in a ‘greedy’ way. For example, the following caused me great angst:

<div>
  <xsl:if test=”position() mod 4 = 0”>
    </div>
    <div>
   </xsl:if>
</div>

What I was trying to do here was create a new div in certain circumstances. However, XSL still needs to be valid XML and the above snippet of couse is not. In order to get around this, you can write the HTML as text values and then when its processed by the XSL engine it is read as text but when rendered by the browser it’s treated as HTML. This can be done as follows:
<div>
  <xsl:if test=”position() mod 4 = 0”>
        <xsl:text disable-output-escaping=”yes”>&lt;/div&gt;</xsl:text>
         <xsl:text disable-output-escaping=”yes”>&lt;div&gt;</xsl:text>
   </xsl:if>
</div>

3) Getting JavaScript to run is also a pain, and can be achieved in the same manner as above:


<script type=”text/javascript”>
     <xsl:text disable-output-escaping=”yes”>
            your script here
     </xsl:text>
</script>

Several recommendations online suggested using <xsl:comment>, but I found that this left the code completely commented out, and therefore didn’t run - I wonder if this may be a specific PeopleSoft problem though.
Another option is to use CDATA sections for JavaScript, which avoids the compiler getting confused by the code.

4) You can put logic into a for loop to only run the code in the loop in those conditions:

<xsl:for-each select=”/NavCollection/Contents/NavItem[position() &lt;= (ceiling(last() div 4))]”>
      — Only run what is inside this loop so long as the current position number meets the criteria
</xsl:for-each>
Oracle CloudWorld London

Earlier this week I was fortunate to get a chance to attend the sold-out Oracle CloudWorld event in the ExCeL centre near London City Airport. It’s the first time I’ve been to the venue, but it was well organised with some strong speakers, decent food while networking between sessions, and even a DJ keeping us entertained as we walked between demo pods.

First up was Oracle co-President Mark Hurd who was a far more engaging speaker than I’d expected - and surprisingly lively too, despite being a long way from his home time-zone. Mark was followed by Thomas Kurian (Executive VP, Product Development) who dived into a lot more of the detail on Oracle’s cloud offering.

There were a lot of insights that I picked up from these speakers, including:

- Oracle Cloud will include bug tracking and source code management

- IaaS is coming later this year. It’ll be a little different from AWS however as it’s on Exadata systems and Oracle take care of the admin/backups etc.

- There are 30m users on the Oracle Cloud, processing over 1bn transactions a day - not bad for a service that didn’t really start until 2008/9

- Oracle’s 60,000 strong sales team has been running on Fusion CRM since last year

- There are 3 updates a year to Fusion, but there’s the option to skip one if it clashes with an important period for the company (unlike some other cloud vendors)

I also learnt a new word - co-mingled - which was used in the context of multi-tenant implementations and the risk of one company accidentally being able to see data from another company.

Mark also showed this picture of the two most recent papal elections, which demonstrates the rapid proliferation of mobile better than any bar graph ever could:

Also giving a keynote was Alan Lepofsky of Constellation Research who gave a great talk on Social Media within HCM, CRM, Financials etc. Alan went beyond the usual social justifications (communities and sharing? we’ve had those for ages!) and gave lots of examples of practical usage with solid ROI.

His main theme was that the work environment has changed. There is no more ‘knowledge is power’. Now everyone has a voice and there’s much more transparency. He also said that the work/life balance is blurred and the walls between home and work are crumbling. One of the drivers for social is that it reduces the amount of email traffic, which everyone would appreciate.

I also attended a Fusion HCM joint session with Oracle’s Clive Swan and Standard Life (who implemented Fusion in around 10 months in co-existence model with their EBS Core HR system). It was a good session and although they’re very happy with the system that they have (and they’re implementing more modules) they also made it very clear that there was considerable pain that came with being an early adopter.

One of the most amusing soundbites of the day came from a video shown by host Kate Russell. The lady being interviewed (I can’t recall her name) said that when hiring she labels people either a ‘drain’ or a ‘radiator’, depending upon whether they drain or radiate positivity and energy - and that you should surround yourself with radiators, not drains. Wherever you walked for the rest of the day you could hear people discussing who was a ‘radiator’ …

PeopleSoft and Web Browsers

image

I’ve always found the subject of which web browser PeopleSoft certifies with which version of the application a little confusing and hard to get definitive answers to. Although MOS has a section on this, it isn’t particularly slick to navigate. While researching this for some pre-sales work for a prospective client I also discovered that it’s not just the web browser the client has to get right, it’s the underlying operating system also.

For instance, with the latest version of PeopleSoft, Oracle certifies IE8 on Windows 7, but doesn’t support you using IE8 on Windows XP or Windows Vista. Confusing.

We thought it’d be a good idea if Succeed put together a simplified and clearer explanation of exactly what is certified and what isn’t. 

Click here to download the document.