Friday, September 23, 2016

Oracle Open World 2016 from a PeopleSofter point of view: Thursday 22nd and Wrap Up

So Open World 2016 has come to an end. But before the curtains fell, there was still some activity and interesting PeopleSoft sessions to attend.

Reporting and Analytics

My day started with a session name Getting the most Out of PeopleSoft - Reporting and Analytics [CON7075] with the participation of Matthew Haavisto, Jody Schnell and Ramasimha Rangaraju.

Reporting has evolved a lot in the last few years, and not only in PeopleSoft. Gone are (or should be) the days in which a report meant a PDF or a print out. Today reporting is not only interactive but also actionable. I actually delivered a presentation on this topic back in April 2016 at the PeopleSoft Tour in Madrid. I later recorded it in YouTube, but unfortunately it is only available in Spanish.

PeopleSoft is not an exception to this reporting evolution. Tools like Pivot Grids, actionable charts and Simplified Analytics all point to the same direction. Unfortunately, not all users are ready for this transition, as I have heard from many customers that upper management do not want to use a digital device to access the reports, so they still prefer the printed alternatives. And yes, I'm writing this as of September 2016.

Anyway, going back to the session, there were some points that I found particularly interesting:

  • The ability in PeopleTools 8.55 to generate submittable PDFs using BI Publisher. This functionality is particularly useful for government forms, but can also be used to gather and process ad-hoc data from users.
  • Oracle JET has been adopted as the charting engine, giving PeopleSoft a more consistent user experience with other Oracle products. Given the amount of development effort dedicated to Oracle JET charting features, PeopleSoft may take a quick benefit a rapidly evolve its charting capabilities.
  • The introduction of Self Service Scheduling simplifies the execution of reports by linking them to pages and hiding the complexity of run controls to users.

Another point I found interesting was the explanation of how macros adversely affect PS/nVision performance, as they require PeopleSoft to execute them twice, first using the Microsoft recommended openXML method and then, as the first does not support macros, using the traditional PeopleSoft Excel automation. Interesting to know!

Meet the PeopleTools Experts

The next session was one of my preferred ones, as it consists of several round tables where you can directly talk to the PeopleTools development team. It is also useful to hear the concerns and doubts of customers and partners.

There were plenty of questions about Fluid User Interface, Cloud Architecture, Lifecycle Management and so on. If you ever attend Oracle Open World in the future, I strongly recommend this session.

PeopleTools Product Team Panel Discussion

Just after lunch, the next session was this classic of Oracle Open World. It consists in an open discussion between the PeopleTools Product Team and customers and partners. It is always interesting to attend this type of sessions and listed to thoughts and ideas from the PeopleSoft community.

Monitoring and Securing PeopleSoft 

My last session was Hands-On with PeopleSoft: Develop Practices to Harden and Protect PeopleSoft [CON7074] delivered by Greg Kelly. The presentation was basically around the Securing Your PeopleSoft Application Environment document available here. I found it really illustrative, and taking into account my rather shallow knowledge of security, rather scary :). Next time I will make sure I prepare myself upfront to take more advantage of Greg's wide knowledge on the area.

Wrap Up

This was an interesting edition of Oracle Open World in what is related to PeopleSoft. There were not many announcements made since the last edition. Still, I think the PeopleSoft team at Oracle is doing a great job. This is still a great product indeed.

On the other hand, I have the feeling that PeopleSoft customers are lagging behind in terms of adoption of new features. Now, personally I don't think this is because the update of PeopleSoft to the latest features is complex. Actually, we can say that with Selective Adoption, DPK and other Lifecycle Management tools it has never been this easy to update. The barrier, in my opinion, is not in the product, but in marketing. All Oracle marketing and sales horsepower has been exclusively dedicated during the last years to their cloud offering. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable to have uncertainties about how wise is to perform future investment in PeopleSoft as opposed to moving to the cloud. And we know uncertainty does not accelerate investment...

From a more personal standpoint, this was great event in terms of networking. Being able to meet PeopleSoft talents such as Jim Marion, Graham Smith, Sasank Venama and many others including the PeopleSoft development team is always the best way to nurture and trigger new ideas.

Just my two cents. Thanks for following this blog during this event!

PS: I bought Jim Marion's book from the bookshop at Moscone South and have a good deal of fun and learning guaranteed for my flight back to Madrid.


MHC said...

Javier, this is a great post. Thanks for sharing!

I think your final comments about why customers are failing to adopt PeopleSoft's newest features hits the nail on the head. Oracle is 100% about growth and is putting very little marketing on the PeopleSoft side. This in turn is causing existing PS customers to limit investing FTE or services budgets into adding the latest features. Everyone seems to be in a wait and see mode.

This is unfortunate for existing customers, but makes sense from Oracle's perspective. While TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of On Premise for existing customers make strong case against Oracle Cloud/Workday, Oracle's growth will come from NEW customers. And there is no doubt a cloud based ERP makes much more sense on many levels for NEW customers. So if Oracle wants to grow, they need to capture the new customers. And if they want to maximize profitability, then they need to get to a single offering (or at least minimize the # of development teams).

My firm is going to be holding a webinar very soon in a Debate style format discussing On Premise vs. Cloud. I'll be sure to let you know once we confirm a date, and possibly solicit your questions.

Thanks again for the post!

Javier Delgado said...

Thanks Michael for your comments. We're also working on SaaS implementation projects (Workday and Oracle Cloud) and there's definitely a good value proposition for many customers, basically around the quick evolution of these products. Now, it is also true that PeopleSoft is not bringing new customers to the table to Oracle just because it is not being actively sold. The default solution is Oracle Cloud. The second one is Oracle Cloud. And many iterations later, found on a dusty shelf, they would offer PeopleSoft.

Anyway, please keep me updated of your seminar. It will be nice to attend!

Francis said...

Hi Javier!
Very awesome presentation. How did your Sept. 29th go live go?

Javier Delgado said...

Hi Francis

Thanks for your feedback!
Go live went well. We're trying to fix some operational issues but nothing really big up to now. We will leave a month to stabilise the system and then proceed with further implementation of Fluid for custom pages.

stella said...

In PeopleTools 8.55, the new tile wizard makes tile creation easy. The user can publish their reports to the central storage for others. And the major update is simplified analytics by using pivot grids, transactions etc. But still, crystal reports are not supported in this version.