Monday Apr 29, 2013

10 Innovations in PeopleSoft 9.2 - #6 Industry-Focused Analytics & Tools for PeopleSoft Projects (ESA)

PeopleSoft ESA delivers unique industry support for staffing, higher education, healthcare, research grants, public sector appropriations, professional services, government contracting, and more. Release 9.2 re-confirms our commitment to the industries that rely on our products.


Many of the key 9.2 features have been built through hands-on collaboration with customers. For a number of these highly complex features, we even sent our developers to customer sites to work through requirements, designs, development, and testing. In addition, participation in customer and partner testing was exceptional, resulting in delivery of deep use case coverage that was rigorously vetted by your industry peers. Adopting features designed in this manner can dramatically reduce your deployment challenges and risks, because people like you, who work with these features every day, aggressively exercised the functionality before it was released.


Let’s take a look at a few examples of what you can get out of PeopleSoft Projects 9.2.


For Higher Education, Research, Healthcare and Public Sector, users gain a number of new tools and enhanced accounting processes to easily view and manage budgets, spending, and adjustments for both sponsored and non-sponsored projects.  Based on configurable security parameters and enhancements to the Principal Investigator (PI) Grants Portal; PIs, researchers, and accounting staff can acquire immediate insight into key financial information at a granular level in order to make informed spending and project staffing decisions. Staff can quickly access important details, such as all of a PI’s related awards and projects, credits, rebills, adjustment period transactions, and project transfers, and they can improve their ability to manage their fiscal responsibilities. To support legislative, regulatory, and institutional analysis and reporting needs, institutions can configure (without having to customize) industry-specific data fields by utilizing the PeopleSoft Supplemental Data Framework which has been extended to awards and projects. Also, requesters, buyers, and accounting staff can reduce the administrative effort required to track and capitalize equipment costs. They can take advantage of the new Procurement Group feature, which enables grouping of requisition and purchase order lines that correspond to a single asset. And, PeopleSoft 9.2 also offers the ability to control how to allocate credit vouchers across assets that may have been purchased as a group. These new accounting-related features offer a simplified process for tracking capital projects that is very common among these industries.


Professional Services and Government Contracting firms will find powerful new pricing and expense management features to be very useful in addressing the complexities of global contracts, provisional rates, and enforcement of travel and expense policies across a disparate workforce. The new Custom Rates capability enables pricing administrators to dynamically configure contract and project rate sheets by up to 5 dimensions of their choosing. For instance, you could identify cost and bill rates by source type and vendor; jobcode and department; or fund, role, department, and region and know that the software will price, bill, and recognize revenue accordingly. Financial analysts and contract administrators can apply retroactive rate adjustments, account for finalization of provisional rates, and correct rate errors quickly and easily with Variance Pricing. What used to be a complex recalculation requiring a great deal of attention from accountants is now an intuitive online mass update that can process tremendous volumes of changes rapidly and thereby ensure timely, accurate project financials. On the expense management side, finance departments can configure global per diem business rules to handle the unique reimbursement methodologies and deductions found around the world, and every user can power through expense report entry faster with a new, streamlined expense reporting page.


For the Staffing Industry, branch teams and individual recruiters can manage their clients, candidates, orders, and assignments through a client-specific, fully integrated on-boarding process. Whether you are a manager, a team member, or an individual recruiter, you can proactively manage critical accounts, orders, and high-value candidates and address the need for speed with actionable, user-configurable dashboards, alerts, and analytics. You can drive business processes faster, increase revenue, and offer an unparalleled level of customer satisfaction by seeing the data you need to see, the way you want to see it and take action on it immediately from a single location. It has never been easier to drive profitability with rapid, high-quality order fulfillment.

As you can see, a rich feature set targeted for the unique demands of our customers’ industries is available with PeopleSoft ESA 9.2. Beyond what we have described here, there are many other new capabilities for other industries, and regardless of your industry, you will find that we have exploited the latest PeopleTools technologies, such as WorkCenters, Pivot Grids, and Related Actions, to help simplify every user’s experience when interacting with the applications.  With PeopleSoft Projects 9.2, you can see what you need to see, the way you need to see it, when you need it. Take a look at 9.2…we think you’ll like it.

Thursday Jun 14, 2012

PeopleSoft Upgrades, Fusion, & BI for Leading European PeopleSoft Applications Customers

With so many industry-leading services firms around the globe managing their businesses with PeopleSoft, it’s always an adventure setting up times and meetings for us to keep in touch with them, especially those outside of North America who often do not get to join us at Oracle OpenWorld. Fortunately, during the first two weeks of May, Nigel Woodland (Oracle’s Service Industries Director for the EMEA region) and I successfully blocked off our calendars to visit seven different customers spanning four countries in Western Europe. We met executives and leaders at four Staffing industry firms, two Professional Services firms that engage in consulting and auditing, and a Financial Services firm.

As we shared the latest information regarding product capabilities and plans, we also gained valuable insight into the hot technology topics facing these businesses. What we heard was both informative and inspiring, and I suspect other Oracle PeopleSoft applications customers can benefit from one or more of the following observations from our trip.

Great IT Plans Get Executed When You Respect the Users

Each of our visits followed roughly the same pattern. After introductions, Nigel outlined Oracle’s product and technology strategy, including a discussion of how we at Oracle invest in each layer of the “technology stack” to provide customers with unprecedented business management capabilities and choice. Then, I provided the specifics of the PeopleSoft product line’s investment strategy, detailing the dramatic number of rich usability and functionality enhancements added to release 9.1 since its general availability in 2009 and the game-changing capabilities slated for 9.2.

What was most exciting about each of these discussions was that shortly after my talking about what customers can do with release 9.1 right now to drive up user productivity and satisfaction, I saw the wheels turning in the minds of our audiences. Business analyst and end user-configurable tools and technologies, such as WorkCenters and the Related Action Framework, that provide the ability to tailor a “central command center” to the exact needs of each recruiter, biller, and every other role in the organization were exactly what each of our customers had been looking for. Every one of our audiences agreed that these tools which demonstrate a respect for the user would finally help IT pole vault over the wall of resistance that users had often raised in the past. With these new user-focused capabilities, IT is positioned to definitively partner with the business, instead of drag the business along, to unlock the value of their investment in PeopleSoft.

This topic of respecting the user emerged during our very first visit, which was at Vital Services Group at their Head Office “The Mill” in Manchester, England. (If you are a student of architecture and are ever in Manchester, you should stop in to see this amazingly renovated old mill building.) I had just finished explaining our PeopleSoft 9.2 roadmap, and Mike Code, PeopleSoft Systems Manager for this innovative staffing company, said, “Mark, the new features you’ve shown us in 9.1/9.2 are very relevant to our business. As we forge ahead with the 9.1 upgrade, the ability to configure a targeted user interface with WorkCenters, Related Actions, Pivot Grids, and Alerts will enable us to satisfy the business that this upgrade is for them and will deliver tangible benefits. In fact, you’ve highlighted that we need to start talking to the business to keep up the momentum to start reviewing the 9.2 upgrade after we get to 9.1, because as much as 9.1 and PeopleTools 8.52 offers, what you’ve shown us for 9.2 is what we’ve envisioned was ultimately possible with our investment in PeopleSoft applications.”

We also received valuable feedback about our investment for the Staffing industry when we visited with Hans Wanders, CIO of Randstad (the second largest Staffing company in the world) in the Netherlands. After our visit, Hans noted, “It was very interesting to see how the PeopleSoft applications have developed. I was truly impressed by many of the new developments.”

Hans and Mike, sincere thanks for the validation that our team’s hard work and dedication to “respecting the users” is worth the effort!

Co-existence of PeopleSoft and Fusion Applications Just Makes Sense

As a “product person,” one of the most rewarding things about visiting customers is that they actually want to talk to me. Sometimes, they want to discuss a product area that we need to enhance; other times, they are interested in learning how to extract more value from their applications; and still others, they want to tell me how they are using the applications to drive real value for the business.

During this trip, I was very pleased to hear that several of our customers not only thought the co-existence of Fusion applications alongside PeopleSoft applications made sense in theory, but also that they were aggressively looking at how to deploy one or more Fusion applications alongside their PeopleSoft HCM and FSCM applications.

The most common deployment plan in the works by three of the organizations is to upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.1 or 9.2, and then adopt one of the new Fusion HCM applications, such as Fusion Performance Management or the full suite of  Fusion Talent Management. For example, during an applications upgrade planning discussion with the staffing company Hays plc., Mark Thomas, who is Hays’ UK IT Director, commented, “We are very excited about where we can go with the latest versions of the PeopleSoft applications in conjunction with Fusion Talent Management.”

Needless to say, this news was very encouraging, because it reiterated that our applications investment strategy makes good business sense for our customers.

Next Generation Business Intelligence Is the Key to the Future

The third, and perhaps most exciting, lesson I learned during this journey is that our audiences already know that the latest generation of Business Intelligence technologies will be the “secret sauce” for organizations to transform business in radical ways.

While a number of the organizations we visited on the trip have deployed or are deploying Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and the associated analytics applications to provide dashboards of easy-to-understand, user-configurable metrics that help optimize business performance according to current operating procedures, what’s most exciting to them is being able to use Business Intelligence to change the way an organization does business, grows revenue, and makes a profit. In particular, several executives we met asked whether we can help them minimize the need to have perfectly structured data and at the same time generate analytics that improve order fulfillment decision-making. To them, the path to future growth lies in having the ability to analyze unstructured data rapidly and intuitively and leveraging technology’s ability to detect patterns that a human cannot reasonably be expected to see.

For illustrative purposes, here is a good example of a business problem where analyzing a combination of structured and unstructured data can produce better results. If you have a resource manager trying to decide which person would be the best fit for an assignment in terms of ensuring (a) client satisfaction, (b) the individual’s satisfaction with the work, (c) least travel distance, and (d) highest margin, you traditionally compare resource qualifications to assignment needs, calculate margins on past work with the client, and measure distances. To perform these comparisons, you are likely to need the organization to have profiles setup, people ranked against profiles, margin targets setup, margins measured, distances setup, distances measured, and more. As you can imagine, this requires organizations to plan and implement data setup, capture, and quality management initiatives to ensure that dependable information is available to support resourcing analysis and decisions.

In the fast-paced, tight-budget world in which most organizations operate today, the effort and discipline required to maintain high-quality, structured data like those described in the above example are certainly not desirable and in some cases are not feasible.

You can imagine how intrigued our audiences were when I informed them that we are ready to help them analyze volumes of unstructured data, detect trends, and produce recommendations. Our discussions delved into examples of how the firms could leverage Oracle’s Secure Enterprise Search and Endeca technologies to keyword search against, compare, and learn from unstructured resource and assignment data. We also considered examples of how they could employ Oracle Real-Time Decisions to generate statistically significant recommendations based on similar resourcing scenarios that have produced the desired satisfaction and profit margin results.

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Although I had almost no time for sight-seeing during this trip to Europe, I have to say that it may have been one of the most energizing and engaging trips of my career. Showing these dedicated customers how they can give every user a uniquely tailored set of tools and address business problems in ways that have to date been impossible made the journey across the Atlantic more than worth it. If any of these three topics intrigue you, I’d recommend you contact your Oracle applications representative to arrange for more detailed discussions with the appropriate members of our organization.

Saturday Apr 14, 2012

The Next Wave of PeopleSoft Capabilities for the Staffing Industry Is Here

With the release of PeopleSoft Financials and Supply Chain Management 9.1 Feature Pack 2 in January this year, we introduced substantial new capabilities for our Staffing Industry customers. Through a co-development project with Infosys Limited, we have enriched Oracle's PeopleSoft Staffing Solution with new tools aimed at accelerating and improving the quality of job order fulfillment, increasing branch recruiter productivity, and driving profitable growth.

Staffing industry firms succeed based on their ability to rapidly, cost-effectively, and continually fill their pipelines with new clients and job orders, recruit the best talent, and match orders with talent. Pressure to execute in each of these functional areas is even more acute on staffing firms as contingent labor becomes a more substantial and permanent part of the workforce mix. In an industry that creates value through speedy execution, there is little room for manual, inefficient processes and brittle, custom integrations, which throttle profitability and growth. The latest wave of investment in the PeopleSoft Staffing Solution focuses on generating efficiency and flexibility for our customers.

Simplicity

To operate profitably and continue growing, a Staffing enterprise needs its client management, recruiting, order fulfillment, and other processes to function in harmony. Most importantly, they need to be simple for recruiters, branch managers, and applicants to access and understand. The latest PeopleSoft Staffing Solution set of enhancements includes numerous automated defaulting mechanisms and information-rich dashboard pagelets that even a new employee can learn quickly. Pending Applicant, Agenda management, Search, and other pagelets are just a few of the newest, easy-to-use tools that not only aggregate and summarize information, but also provide instant access to applicants, tasks, and key reports for branch staff.

Productivity

The leading firms in the Staffing industry are those that can more efficiently orchestrate large numbers of candidates, clients, and orders than their competitors can. PeopleSoft Financials and Supply Chain Management 9.1 Feature Pack 2 delivers productivity boosters that Staffing firms can leverage to streamline tasks and processes for competitive advantage. For example, we enhanced the Recruiting Funnel, which manages the candidate on-boarding process, with a highly interactive user interface. It integrates disparate Staffing business processes and exploits new PeopleTools technologies to offer a superior on-boarding user experience. Automated creation of agenda items and assignment tasks for each candidate minimizes setup and organizes assignment steps for the on-boarding process. Mass updates of tasks and instant access to the candidate overview page (which we also expanded), candidate event status, event counts, and other key data enable recruiters to better serve clients and candidates.

Lower TCO

Constructing and maintaining an efficient yet flexible labor supply chain can be complicated, let alone expensive. Traditionally, Staffing firms have been challenged in controlling their technology cost of ownership because connecting candidate and client-facing tools involved building and integrating custom applications and technologies and managing staff turnover, placing heavy demands on IT and support staff. With PeopleSoft Financials and Supply Chain Management 9.1 Feature Pack 2, there are two major enhancements that aggressively tackle these challenges. First, we added another integration framework to enable cost-effective linking of the Staffing firm’s PeopleSoft applications and its job board distributors. (The first PeopleSoft 9.1 Feature Pack released in March 2011 delivered an integration framework to connect to resume parsing providers.) Second, we introduced the teaming concept to enable work to be partitioned to groups, as well as individuals. These two capabilities, combined with a host of others, position Staffing firms to configure and grow their businesses without growing their IT and overhead expenditures.

For our Staffing Industry customers, PeopleSoft Financials and Supply Chain Management 9.1 Feature Pack 2 is loaded with high-value tools aimed at enabling and sustaining a flexible labor supply chain. For more information, contact Howard.Shaw@oracle.com or Mark.Rosenberg@oracle.com.

About

This blog is dedicated to topics focused on PeopleSoft Applications, including Human Capital Management, Financials, Enterprise Service Automation, Asset Lifecycle Management, Procurement, Supply Chain and Customer Relationship Management.

For information about legislative updates to our PeopleSoft Applications see the PeopleSoft Legislative Updates Blog.

For information about PeopleTools see the PeopleSoft Technology Blog.

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