Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Oracle Open World 2016 from a PeopleSofter point of view: Tuesday 20th

We are now at full steam in what regards PeopleSoft at Oracle Open World. As my jet lag gets better (today I woke up at 4.30am, quite an achievement), so does the announcements at the PeopleSoft specific sessions.

The day started with a general keynote facilitated by Safra Catz and Thomas Kurian. I have found the second part most interesting as it went deeper into the announcements made last Sunday by Larry Ellison. Compared to my last presence at OOW two years ago, it is quite noticeable to see how some technologies such as Big Data have now made their way to the headlines while others like Docker have appeared apparently from nowhere. This is what I like about the IT industry, the pace of change eliminates any possibility of boredom.

But of course this blog is about PeopleSoft, so let's focus on that. Yesterday I have the opportunity to attend the following sessions:
  • General Session: Today’s PeopleSoft is Intuitive, Powerful, and in the Cloud [GEN5077] delivered by Paco Abrejuan.
  • PeopleSoft Technology Roadmap [CON7061] by Jeff Robbins.
  • Hands-On with PeopleSoft: Value of PeopleSoft in Oracle Cloud [CON7072] also by Jeff Robbins.
The first session outlined the most significant functional and technical enhancements that we should expect in the near future, while Jeff focused in more detail in some of the technical ones.

All in all, some serious announcements were made. All of them were in line with Oracle's recommendation to customers in order to maximise their investment:
  • Implement PeopleSoft Fluid UI
  • Fully execute on Selective Adoption
  • Deploy PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud

Fluid UI

This is probably the area that concentrated most of the announcements. Every enhancement is now using Fluid UI, so its adoption seems to be the best way for customer to protect their PeopleSoft investment.

This is of enhancements that seemed more interesting to me:
  • The Expenses module is now present in Fluid UI. This was one of the first mobile-enabled modules, although it was originally built using iScripts, which made its maintenance rather difficult. The new pages in Fluid look much better and I'm sure it will be easier to maintain.
  • A new Classic Plus style will be delivered in PeopleTools 8.56, giving traditional UI pages a closer look and feel to the Fluid UI ones. This stylesheet will not make these pages responsive, but it should significantly improve the user experience when navigating back and forth Fluid and traditional UI pages. 

  • ElasticSearch will be replacing Oracle SES as of PeopleTools 8.56, meaning that both SES and Verity will be deprecated. I cannot say I'm sad about these news.

  • Mobile Approvals will now be implemented in Fluid and not MAP. This does not necessarily mean a different look, but it should make the maintenance simpler, as from my point of view MAP is more complex to debug when comparing to Fluid.

  • Related to Mobile Approvals but extensible to other pages is the new Page Composer, a fancy tool allowing to create and modify pages from the web browser. Amazing, isn't it?

One important note to be made is that Oracle idea is to gradually remove support for those traditional UI pages that have Fluid UI counterparties. So, if you are not yet in Fluid UI, you should start seriously considering it.

Selective Adoption

Oracle would like to see more and more customers taking advantage of the Selective Adoption delivery model. Jeff Robbins gave an interesting presentation on how this actually means to build a DevOps organisation in synch with the PeopleSoft Support and Development team.

Looking backwards, Oracle has introduced in the last few years a lot of improvements in order to make Selective Adoption easier, like the use of Oracle Cloud for Update Images or the capability to identify those enhancements not affected by customisations.

From my point of view, the key barrier to implement Selective Adoption remains the maintenance procedures at PeopleSoft customers. Selective Adoption has not only changed the way we apply patches and enhancements to PeopleSoft applications, but also the way we should budget and plan our maintenance efforts.

A key announcement made during these sessions was that PeopleTools will not be delivered for the moment using the Continuous Delivery model, so we should expect to see a PeopleTools 8.57, 8.58 and so on. This contradicts the announcement made during last Oracle Open World, but I do not think it is necessarily bad news.

PeopleSoft in the Cloud

Last Oracle Open World we heard a lot of announcements related to making PeopleSoft easier to deploy in the cloud. As Graham Smith said during his session on Monday, PeopleSoft has been always able to run in the cloud, but now it is just easier to make the transition.

In this edition of Oracle Open World, one of the main announcements for PeopleSoft is the new Cloud Manager. This will be particularly useful when using Oracle Compute Cloud as the IaaS/PaaS platform.

Oracle Cloud Manager can be used for several purposes, including:

  • Subscribing to updates and applying them automatically in Demo enviroments.
  • Quickly provision new environments for specific purposes such as development, testing or training.
  • Lifting and shifting PeopleSoft Dev/Test instance to the Oracle Cloud.

All in all, and although I have always been a happy user of Amazon Web Services, Oracle's Cloud value proposition for PeopleSoft applications seems to be getting better and better.

Postcards from Oracle Open World

This time I did have some time to visit around the exhibition halls and different booths. Wednesday looks exciting with sessions and the Appreciation Event (I hope this time I do not lose my wristband like in 2014). 

In the meanwhile, I leave you some pictures. Keep tuned for more updates!

Shouldn't it be in the clouds?

I don't see Hillary as an option :-(

Nice one!

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