Thursday Jun 23, 2016

Using Elasticsearch with PeopleSoft

We reported in April that PeopleSoft is planning to offer Elasticsearch as an option.  Our original plan was to make Elasticsearch available with the first generally available release of PeopleTools 8.56.  We have since revised that plan.  We now plan to make Elasticsearch available with PeopleTools 8.55/Patch 10.  This will enable us to offer Elastic as an option a bit sooner.

Oracle-PeopleSoft will continue to support Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search (SES) with PeopleSoft through the support of PeopleTools 8.54 at a minimum.  We are evaluating whether to extend that support, and we'll announce further support plans in the near future.  It's important for customers to know that if they have deployed SES, they will be supported for some time until they make the transition to Elastic.  Elasticsearch will be the only option offered in PeopleTools 8.56.

As described in the original announcement, we plan to provide guidance on migration from SES to Elastic as well as deployment guidance to help with peformance tuning, load balancing and failover.  We are also planning to produce training for Elastic with PeopleSoft.  We are also presenting a session at Oracle Open World on Elasticsearch with PeopleSoft.  We want to make the move to Elasticsearch as quick and easy as possible for our customers.  Based on customer feedback, we believe Elastic will be embraced by PeopleSoft customers, and it will provide significant benefits.

Tuesday Jun 07, 2016

Automated Configuration Management in PeopleSoft

Content Contributed by Biju Narayanan

This post is the first in a series on Configuration Management

Configuration the Old Way

PeopleSoft system administrators have generally spent a good deal of time on manual, repetitive tasks while setting up and configuring their PeopleSoft system.  When you set up a new PeopleSoft demo environment or upgrade/clone environments, considerable effort is spent on configuration-related activities. This often involves going through hundreds of user interface pages to manually configure functional components like Integration Broker, Secure Enterprise Search, Process Scheduler, and so on.  Testing for correctness is also required. If you cloned or made copies of systems configurations, they needed to be redone. Host name entries are spread within many configurations from webserver to appserver tiers and in many objects within databases, which adds to the challenge.

What We've Done to Improve the Process

With PeopleSoft 8.55, configuration is centralized with the Cloud Deployment Architecture (CDA).  Deployment Packages (DPK) are a new delivery mechanism provided with PeopleTools 8.55 (for use with Linux and Windows operating systems). Deployment Packages contain all the software created by PeopleSoft as well as the required components pre-installed and fully patched, along with a deployment and configuration automation system. In addition, all Update Images delivered after 8.55 will also take advantage of the Deployment Framework, and will be comprised of Deployment Packages.  DPKs have three parts:

  • Binaries based on platform: Middleware binaries for Application Server runtime Tuxedo, WebServers - Weblogic, PeopleSoft binaries (PS_HOME), database, Client binaries, etc.
  • Puppet-based automation for installation and deployment of middleware - The PeopleSoft Puppet modules provide automation for setting up the middle ware, deployment of PeopleTools binaries and configuration of Application server and WebServer domains.  (For detailed information on Puppet see puppet.com, and docs.puppetlabs.com)
  • ACM - Automated Configuration Manager to configure PeopleSoft components like Integration Broker, Secure Search, Process Scheduler etc.


With DPKs configuration is centralized in Pupprt configuration files, and can be customized by overriding configuration attributes in psft.customizations.yaml. 

Automating PeopleSoft Configuration Using ACM

Automated Configuration Manager (ACM) is a tool set available beginning with PeopleTools 8.54.  It is used to automate PeopleTools product configuration. ACM allows you to externalize product configuration as a template and then use the template to automate configurations across systems. ACM comes with graphical user interfaces,  command-line tools, and a suite of configuration plugins that help administrators configure the base PeopleSoft components.



Peopletools 8.55 delivers the following predefined templates that you can start with.



The other functional plugins include the following:

  • Integration Broker
    • Rename local node, purge messages
    • Configure default local node, set target location, configure content/portal URI
    • Configure gateway URL, load gateway connectors, configure nodes in the gateway
    • Set advanced gateway properties like keystore password, proxy/non proxy information
    • Activate IB Domains and Queues
    • Cleanup
  • Secure Enterprise Search
    • Configure Search Instance
    • Configure Identity plugin and proxy login
    • Deploy/Undeploy, Index search definitions
    • Cleanup Meta-data
  • Process Scheduler
    • Report Node configurations
    • Server Definition configuration
  • Cluster
    • Network Node Registration
    • Single Sign-On configuration
    • Unified Navigation configuration, creation of remote folders
    • Import SES search indexes to Portal environment
  • Approvals
    • Enable SSL configuration for MAP layouts
    • MAP approval Svc Install configuration
    • Introspection and Deployment of IB services
  • Miscellaneous Utilities
    • Performance Monitor Configurations
    • Grant PTF roles to users
    • Setting URL identifiers, url properties and its values
    • Web Profile related configurations

Working with ACM

An administrator typically performs the following process to develop a configuration automation template. The template contains configuration units, and the sequence and dependencies in which the configuration has to be automated. After the template is developed, it is tested and used as a base version to automate other environments.

Pre-Requisites for Executing ACM

  1. User should have "ACM Administrator" Role:  Navigate to Main Menu > PeopleTools > Security > User Profiles > User Profiles, then add the "ACM Administrator" role for the corresponding user.
  2. The newly created Template should have sufficient privilege: Navigate to Main Menu > PeopleTools > Security > Permissions and Roles > Permission Lists, then choose permission list "PTPT4800", then add the newly created template to the list present in the "ACM Templates" tab.

The Process

  1. Design a Template: Automate functional units of configuration. You can group configuration plugins, set configuration attributes and sequence then to automate functional parts. This can be done from PeopleTools > Automation Configuration Manager > Templates



  2. Execute the Template: The template can be executed interactively in three ways:
    1. Interactive: Navigate to: Peopletools > Automation Configuration Manager > Templates
    2. Command line: Administrators generally prefers to automate configurations by running scripts. This is the recommended method for automating configurations.



    3. DPK Puppet: Set the configuration in Puppet modules prior running the deployment scripts. You can specify your entire configuration in the "/etc/puppet/data/psft_configuration.yaml" file, before running the DPK automation process. The code block below shows how to set IB Configuration in your deployment configuration.

integration_broker:
    run_control_id: intbroker
    os_user: '%{hiera(''domain_user'')}'
    db_settings: {
      db_name: '%{hiera(''db_name'')}',
      db_type: '%{hiera(''db_platform'')}',
      db_connect_id: '%{hiera(''db_connect_id'')}',
      db_connect_pwd: '%{hiera(''db_connect_pwd'')}'
    }
    acm_plugin_list:
      PTIBRenameNode: {
        env.default_local_node: '%{hiera(''gateway_node_name'')}',
        env.app_msg_purge_all_dms: true
      }
      PTIBConfigureDBNode: {
        env.pia_webserver_host: '%{::fqdn}',
        env.pia_webserver_port: '%{hiera(''pia_http_port'')}',
        env.pia_webserver_ssl_port: '%{hiera(''pia_https_port'')}',
        env.pia_site_name: '%{hiera(''pia_site_name'')}',

   4.  Test and Debug: After the execution you can monitor and debug the execution by  navigating to PeopleTools>Automation Configuration Manager>Monitor



After you generate a working version of the template, you can keep it as a configuration baseline and use it to clone configurations across multiple environments.  The template is the source of truth for configuration, and ACM allows you to re-run the configuration any number of times.


Monday May 23, 2016

Analytics in Search

Content contributed by Balaji Pattabhiraman

In two recent posts (creating simplified analytics--user perspective and creating analytic home pages), we’ve described some of the capabilities of Simplified Analytics.  In this post, we’ll examine how analytics and charting can be used to enhance search. 

Searching is an important part of the PeopleSoft UI, and we are continually improving it.  For example, we included related actions in search pages, enabling users to act on data directly from the search results without even having to navigate to transactions.  We also included commercial search features like facets and filtering to focus result sets.  Following that, we provided search in the Fluid UI, making search easier to use across form factors, including phones and tablets.

Now as part of Fluid Component Search, we have enabled analytics which helps users visualize and understand their results better, so they can act on those results more effectively.  Let’s examine what that looks like and how to enable it.

Analytics on a Search Page

First, recall what a classic component search page looked like.



It’s useful, but not as powerful as it could be.  As of PeopleTools 8.54 and higher we have transformed the search experience for all Fluid Components. 

Here is an example of a Contracts search.  In this example, the user can look at the Gross Contract Amount by Supplier in addition to searching for the contract.  Notice how the search page is transformed in Fluid. The left panel provides filters to narrow the results or initiate a new search. Here we have some Administrator and Contract Style filters applied. You can select a row of detail to open the page for that contract detail after narrowing the search. In this case, Gross Amount by Supplier Name.  Applying a filter will update the analytics as well as updating the search result grid because the analytics reflect live data.



Analytic charts are available for this page, so the user switches on the chart slider in the upper right of the page.



Here is the same search result page with the analytic turned on.



The charts are interactive like any Fluid Pivot Grid.  This means that you can select any data point and drill down using related actions.  Here we view the details by another field for the selected supplier (For example view contract date vs amount for a supplier).  You can also narrow the results for the supplier from the chart data point by selecting the Detailed View option.   There are more options under the gear menu in the upper right.  This lets you change chart options, download data to spread sheets, etc.



Adding Analytics to a Search

Now let’s see how to build a Fluid component search to include Pivot Grids.  Open the component properties.  (You would have already enabled the Fluid Flag while building the fluid component.)  In this case we’ll set the Search Type to Standard.  The other option for Search Type is Master-Detail, which enables you to persist the search results on the left panel after selecting a search result and opening the transaction.  This allows easy navigation between the search results without navigating back to the search page.   (You would also have the search/add record filled for the component, which is similar to any classic component with search.)



Next, open the Pivot Grid wizard and create a new pivot grid model.

In step 1, give the pivot grid a title and, optionally, a description.  You can also set the Type and Owner here.

In step 2, choose the data source type.  Here we’ve set the type as Component.  Then choose your component.  Also, choose a tree name and access group you generally use with the product line.  In this case we’ve chosen the Purchase Order access group.  This will ensure a query can be created from the search record and the end users of the component can see the search results. (Note: The search record will be added as part of this tree and the permissions from the component are added to the tree).  When we click Apply, this creates a query with the same name as the component and the fields will be listed.  Now we choose the fields that we want the end-user to see. 

In the step 3, we set overriding labels for the fields and choose the column type--whether a field is only for display in the grid or whether it should be part of the chart axis or the value the chart plots.  In addition, all the key fields become prompts for the pivot grid model automatically.  We can set default values for these prompts.  Note that you can change the prompt fields and change the criteria by modifying the generated query.  In most cases, the key fields serving as prompts will suffice. You can also choose which prompts to show or hide to the end-user in this step.

In step 4, we specify axis information including which fields will be the x-axis, y-axis and the filters.  In addition, under the Fluid Mode Options, we can fill the list view Title and Summary fields to show if your component is to be used on small form factors like a phone. 

You can optionally preview the chart in the last step and save the pivot grid definition.  This completes the setup.
Now when a user navigates to the component, the search page will show up based on the configuration.   (Typically a user might navigate from a home page tile, registered using the tile wizard.)

Now you can open the Search page by selecting the Group and Special Contracts tile.  You can view it with or without the chart.


Because this uses the PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface, the search page renders nicely on smaller form factors like smart phones and tablets.  This requires no additional configuration.  Here is the same page on a smart phone.



Wednesday May 04, 2016

Transforming Analytics and Reporting

Content contributed by Balaji Pattabhiraman

A few months ago, I wrote in this blog about a feature in PeopleTools called Simplified Analytics.  This is really transformative technology that puts tremendous power in the hands of end users, enabling them to perform ad-hoc analytics right in context of their transactions and business processes.  It makes reporting timely, secure, and relevant.

Let's expand on that concept and take advantage of some other PeopleTools featues.  In this case, imagine I am a manager or subject area expert.  I've created several simplified analytics that I want to make available to my team for use in their daily work.  Simplified analytics enables me to create a tile from any analytic I create.  Those tiles can then be placed on any Fluid home page or Dashboard, which is another new PeopleTools feature.  Lets see an example of this.

As a business administrator I've created several simplifed analytics for the My Team page.  These are available in the My Analytics tab in Related Information.

Note that each tab on this page--Summary, Performance, Compensation, and Leave Balances--contains different analytics relevant to each topic.  I've created these analytics  to provide better decision support for these processes.

This calls for a quick review of an important part of the Simplified Analytics process.  When creating or editing the analytic, I have the option of publishing the analytic so it can be used by others.  (See this post for more info on creating a Simplified Analytic.)



When I choose to publish, I have the option of publishing to the My Analytics section of the Related Actions frame or publishing to the Tile Repository. Since I'll be creating an analytic dashboard, I'll save to the repository.



Now I can go to the Personalize option from the menu in any home page.  From here I can create my new analytic home page.  (This could be created as a Dashboard as well.)



In this case, I'll create a new home page called Team Analytics.  This will provide a single access point for our group of analytics, making them available in a convenient form to all team members.



Now that I've created the new home page, I can add tiles representing the analytics that were created previously.



I'll add several analytic tiles and make this home page a robust and valuable analytic tool.



Once I save the page it is displayed.  Here you see the home page with all the tiles I've added.



Now let's publish the home page and make it available to the team so all can benefit from it.  (Note: If I don't publish the home page to other users I can still use it as a personal home page.  One might do this for analytics that are used exclusively by me.) 



Enter a name and label and any other field data necessary. In this case I'm making it public, but in many cases you will want to make a page like this available only to a particular role or permission list.

Now when someone on our team logs in, (in this case Rosanna) she will have access to the new Team Analytics page.

Note that the data from the analytics correspond to Rosanna's team.  If the same analytics were published to a different group, the data would be relevant to that group.  The data, context, and security are determined by the PS Query that forms the basis of the analytic.

This illustrates how you can extend the power of Simplified Analytics to make valuable decision support available to teams, not just individuals.

Monday Apr 25, 2016

Searching in PeopleSoft

Many customers have asked us about PeopleSoft’s search strategy.  They may have seen that Oracle’s Secure Enterprise Search (SES) isn’t on the price list any longer, so they wonder about PeolpleSoft’s continued use of that product. 

First and foremost, Search is an important part of PeopleSoft’s overall user experience, and we are continuing to invest in a consumer grade search experience for the enterprise.  When we re-architected our approach to Search several releases ago, we built a PeopleSoft search framework that provides a great Search UI that enables users not only to search enterprise information, but to refine their search results with facets and filters.  We also made it possible for users to act directly on search results through our Related Actions framework.  In many cases, users do not even have to navigate to a transaction page to complete a task.  This provides a rich Search UI that users have come to expect.  Further improvements using PeopleSoft’s Fluid UI include Pivot Grids in search pages that allow users better visualization of search results.  Oracle’s Secure Enterprise Search is the engine for that search in PeopleSoft. 

In an effort to provide choice, PeopleSoft is working on providing an alternative search engine that customers can use in their PeopleSoft ecosystem.  We are planning on offering Elastic Search as an option with PeopleTools 8.56, and our applications that are delivered on 8.56 are planned to contain Elastic indexes.  Note that Oracle will continue to support SES with PeopleSoft for some time yet, and customers can continue to use SES if they have deployed it.  We think that Elastic will be an attractive option for many customers, however.  It is important to note that whichever search engine you use, the PeopleSoft search framework will work with either search engine, and the search UI will be essentially the same regardless of your choice.  Here are a few key points about the Elastic Search option for PeopleSoft:

  • Planning on Elastic availability in 8.56, back porting to 8.55
  • Leverage PeopleTools Search Framework
    - SES or Elastic is a deployment Choice
    - Deploy Elastic on the separate search host instead of SES
  • Take PeopleSoft Images for application fixes and Elastic indexes
  • Will require a one-time full index build with Elastic using the new process
  • We plan to provide a migration guide to help deploy Custom indexes on Elastic
  • PeopleTools DPK for Elastic infrastructure
    - Supported on Linux and Windows
  • We plan to provide a deployment guide to help with performance tuning, load balance, and failover

Our initial testing indicates that Elastic will require fewer resources and will perform better—and will be easier to install than SES.

There is also some discussion of our plans for Search in this PeopleSoft talk video.  The Search discussion is at the 5:50 point.

Tuesday Mar 01, 2016

Updated PeopleTools Performance Guidelines Red Paper Available

This performance tuning document is not a general introduction to environment tuning.  To use it, you should be experienced IT professionals with a good understanding of PeopleSoft System Administration. To take full advantage of the information covered in this document, we recommend that you have a basic understanding of system administration, basic Internet architecture, relational database concepts/SQL, and how to use PeopleSoft applications.

This document is not intended to replace the documentation delivered with the PeopleTools PeopleBooks. Many of the fundamental concepts related to PeopleSoft Internet Architecture are discussed in the following PeopleSoft PeopleBooks:

  • PeopleSoft Internet Architecture Administration (PeopleTools|Administration Tools|PeopleSoft Internet Architecture Administration)
  • Application Designer (Development Tools|Application Designer)
  • Integration Broker (Integration Tools|Application Messaging)
  • PeopleCode (Development Tools|PeopleCode Reference)
  • PeopleSoft Installation and Administration
  • PeopleSoft Hardware and Software Requirements

 

Additionally, we recommend that you read documentation on Oracle Application Server, BEA Weblogic/Tuxedo, and IBM Websphere. See your PeopleSoft Installation and Administration PeopleBooks for directions on accessing the Oracle, BEA, and IBM documentation.

Thursday Feb 25, 2016

Reporting in PeopleSoft Without Crystal Reports

As you’ve probably heard, PeopleTools 8.55 will not support the use of the Crystal Reports product with PeopleSoft. (Click here for more information).  Most of you know that we’ve been talking for years about ways to move away from Crystal Reports.  The obvious alternative has been to migrate your reports to Oracle BI Publisher.  I’m writing this post to help you understand that you have other options, and that we think that in many cases, there is an even better solution that will give your users more relevant and timely information.

Conventional reporting tools are used to create and publish static reports.  That is, they query the database and present information as a snapshot in time.  One of the problems with this approach is that important data can become instantly stale and not secure. 

Contemporary reporting is changing, however, and we feel that customers should re-evaluate how they can take advantage of some of the new reporting and analytic capabilities that PeopleSoft offers.  New options exist that help make reporting a strategic part of enterprise business processes.  In fact, you can easily incorporate business intelligence and real-time analytics directly into business process flows as an integral part of the application user experience. 

Using this more modern approach, designers are able to provide users relevant information directly in context of related business activities.  In this way, the user doesn’t have to “look up” information or pull up a report.  Instead, the application system provides the information directly on the page, or as part of a process, which leads to better decisions.  With modern PeopleSoft reporting capabilities, the data is fresh and secure because it never actually leaves the system. 

Take this approach to decide whether you need to replicate every one of your static reports from Crystal Reports in BI Publisher.  We believe that many older, static reports can be repurposed as online, real-time analytics rather than simply rewritten in a new reporting tool.

Chief among these exciting PeopleSoft reporting capabilities are the new Simplified Analytics and updated Pivot Grids.  These new features enable users to produce analytics and reports right in the context of their transactions, providing more agile and powerful analytics that result in better decision support.  In addition, these new reporting tools are easy to use and put power in the hands of end users and business experts.  Functional users won't have to rely on technical professionals to generate the reports they need.  With these tools, data can be sliced and diced as required, as well visualized in different ways to gain greater understanding of the information presented.

PeopleSoft applications teams will also be delivering new reports and analytics using these tools, so customers will get many new reports as they continue to take new application images.  Again, this means even fewer Crystal reports that need to be recreated.

Of course enterprises will still need conventional reports for things like Period Close and other regulatory reporting.  In those cases, customers can indeed convert old Crystal Reports into BI Publisher reports.  However, we believe that after thoughtful analysis, the number of such reports that need conversion into traditional formats and uses will be much smaller than you may have originally anticipated, and that most business needs will be better served with newer tools for producing on-line, real-time, business analytics. 

Friday Feb 19, 2016

Tools - Only Upgrades for the Interaction Hub

Now that the Interaction Hub is on the Selective Adoption release process (like all PeopleSoft applications), some customers have been asking us about Tools-only upgrades for the Interaction Hub 9.1, and how that relates to taking maintenance and updates using PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM).

Although it is possible to do a Tools-only upgrade to 8.55 and continue to use your earlier (non-PUM) release of the Interaction Hub 9.1, we don’t recommend this.  Issues will arise when you need to apply maintenance or any kind of update in the future.  Instead, we strongly recommend that you first move your Interaction Hub to the PUM baseline, then do your Tools upgrade.  This will make the process of taking fixes for Interaction Hub much easier going forward.  Taking subsequent Tools upgrades and Interaction Hub images will be simpler and go more smoothly once Interaction Hub is on PUM.

Note that this is no different than the process for other PeopleSoft applications.  Selective Adoption and PUM are the means for taking all maintenance and updates for PeopleSoft applications now, and Interaction Hub is part of that.  Selective Adoption and PUM are great new processes and tools that make taking maintenance and updates simpler and easier, so you should take advantage of that.

Image 2 of the Interaction Hub 9.1 is now available, and it has some exciting features that you may want to adopt.  So that is another reason to start using Selective Adoption and PUM.  The Update Manger home page has the information you need to perform to get your Interaction Hub on the PUM model.

There is a lot of great information on Selective Adoption on the PeopleSoft Info portal. 

Monday Feb 08, 2016

Interaction Hub Image 2 Now Available

As we reported last June, the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub now uses the PeopleSoft Update Manager to deliver all updates and maintenance.  Customers can now take advantage of the Selective Adoption process when updating their Hub system.  This puts the Hub in alignment with all other PeopleSoft applications.  We are happy to announce that image 2 is now generally available from the PeopleSoft Update Manager home page. (Choose the Upate Image Home Pages tab, then choose the Interaction Hub Update Image page.)

Here are a few of the valuable features included in this image that customers should consider:

  • Guided process for branding.  The Hub offers a guided process that enables customers to do simple branding of their Fluid UI-based home pages and headers.  This is called Theme Builder and is described in PeopleBooks. Using this quick and easy process, administrators can set the header logo, banner color and text, background image and color, and more.  The administrator can also set roles to determine which branding themes are seen by which roles within an enterprise.  In addition, once the branding theme is set, you can publish your branding theme across all PeopleSoft applications in the wizard at the push of a button!  The Hub also gets its own delivered theme, but of course it's easy to create your own.
  • Administrator Landing Page.  The Hub delivers a landing page from which an administrator can monitor the health and performance of their PeopleSoft ecosystem.  This may also be where the administrator performs branding activities.
  • Guest Landing Page.  This page can be assigned to Guest roles for people that don't have full access to a system.
  • Navigation Collections.  Fluid Navigation Collections were actually implemented in PeopleTools 8.55.  However, Nav Collections have been used extensively in Hub designs, so now customers can design Fluid Hubs with home pages that use Nav Collections to streamline user navigation.

See the Update Image Home Page for complete details about this image.  

In addition, review the Planned Features page on My Oracle Support for updates regarding the Hub and a look at what we have planned for future images. 

Multiple PeopleSoft Applications: Using the Interaction Hub or Not

Many PeopleSoft customers have multiple PeopleSoft applications.  We often refer to this type of environment as a ‘cluster’.  Customers have different types of clusters, some using the Interaction Hub to unify the cluster and some without the Hub.  We are often asked how these are different.  Should a customer use the Interaction Hub for clusters?  Can you get by without it?  

The scenario I’m describing in this post relates to PeopleTools 8.55 and it’s use with applications using the Fluid header (whether the content is Classic or Fluid).

What is a Portal System in PeopleSoft?

This can be somewhat confusing because the PeopleSoft Interaction Hub was originally called the ‘PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal’, which was designed to be used as a traditional portal, aggregating content from multiple sources.  People still often refer to that product as simply ‘The Portal’.  The Interaction Hub still provides that traditional, aggregating functionality.  However, PeopleSoft also uses the term ‘Portal System’ to mean more than just the Interaction Hub system connecting to content systems like HCM, FSCM, and Campus Solutions.  In PeopleSoft, whatever system the user logs into first is considered to be acting as the Portal system.  For example if Single Sign-On (SSO) is set up between HCM and Campus Solution and the user logs into the HCM system and from there access Campus solution then the HCM system acts as the Portal system. 

What Does This Mean to My Users?

Let’s look at a specific Example.  In this scenario, the customer is NOT using the Interaction Hub, but they have PeopleSoft HCM and FSCM and have SSO set up for these applications.  A user of this system logs into HCM and is presented with an HCM-based Employee Home Page.  That home page contains a tile for FSCM content, and there is other FSCM content represented in the Nav Bar.  When the user selects an FSCM tile, they are presented with the FSCM content, but the header context remains in HCM. This means that the Nav Bar will still be the one from the HCM system.  It also means that if the user employs Global Search, the results will only come from HCM. Similarly, any notifications/alerts/actions they receive will originate from HCM only.  Basically, the partitioning between the applications is maintained.  If users want to search in FSCM, they must log out of HCM and log into FSCM, which at that point will become the acting portal system.  

Now let’s look at an example in which the customer is using the Interaction Hub to unify the cluster including HCM and FSCM.  In this scenario, the user logs into the Interaction Hub system, which provides the header and context.  The home page displayed initially can come from HCM or FSCM (or any application), and the Nav Bar can contain content from any PeopleSoft application where the content from these applications are registered.  When the user navigates to any content--whether it comes from the Interaction Hub, HCM or FSCM--the header and the Nav Bar is from the Interaction Hub system, which is where the user originated.   In this case, even when the user navigates to an HCM or FSCM transaction page, they can still use the header or the Nav Bar to navigate to any content in the cluster seamlessly.  In addition, if the user executes a search, the results of that search can come from any application in the cluster—in this case HCM, FSCM, or the Interaction Hub.  Furthermore, the user can take action from those search results using Related Actions regardless of where that content originated.  Similarly, the notifications in the header will deliver actions and alerts from all content systems in the cluster, and users can act on those notifications from the notifications window.

What We Recommend

Customers that have a cluster of multiple PeopleSoft applications should use the Interaction Hub to unify their user experience.  The Hub enables you to break down the barriers between applications and align your user experience with your business processes.  This enables your users to navigate freely among PeopleSoft content (and even external content) to complete their work--without having to know which PeopleSoft application is being used.  In addition, users don’t have to log in and out of different applications to complete business processes that may cross application boundaries.  Instead, the Hub presents the PeopleSoft cluster as a single unified ecosystem.

Friday Feb 05, 2016

PeopleTools CPU analysis and supported versions of PeopleTools (update for January 2016 CPU)

Questions often arise on the PeopleTools versions for which Critical Patch Updates have been published, or if a particular PeopleTools version is supported. 

The attached page shows the patch number matrix for PeopleTools versions associated with a particular CPU publication. This information will help you decide which CPU to apply and when to consider upgrading to a more current release.

The link in "CPU Date" goes to the landing page for CPU advisories, the link in the individual date, e.g. Apr-10, goes to the advisory for that date.

The page also shows the CVE's addressed in the CPU, a synopsis of the issue and the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) value.

To find more details on any CVE, simply replace the CVE number in the sample URL below.

http://www.cvedetails.com/cve/CVE-2010-2377

Common Vulnerability Scoring System Version 2 Calculator

http://nvd.nist.gov/cvss.cfm?calculator&adv&version=2

This page shows the components of the CVSS score

Example CVSS response policy http://www.first.org/_assets/cvss/cvss-based-patch-policy.pdf

All the details in this page are available on My Oracle Support and public sites.

The RED column indicates the last patch for a PeopleTools version and effectively the last support date for that version.

Applications Unlimited support does NOT apply to PeopleTools versions.

Tuesday Feb 02, 2016

Fluid Header and Navigation is the New Standard

Beginning with PeopleTools 8.55, PeopleSoft 9.2 applications will have a Fluid header on their classic pages that matches the fluid pages.  This unifies the user experience of classic pages with newer fluid pages and applications.  With the fluid user interface, user navigation is more seamless and intuitive.  Using fluid homepages, tiles, global search, related actions, and the new fluid Navigation Collection feature, users can more easily navigate to the information most important to them.  Refer to the PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface and Navigation Standards White Paper (Document ID 2063602.1) for more information on design best practices for navigation within PeopleSoft applications.

Part of this change that makes Fluid the default is the replacement of the drop down menu navigation.  In most cases, customers will want their users to simply use the Nav Bar in place of any classic menu navigation.  However, if there is a special circumstance where customers want to maintain the classic menus, they can do so.  There are two ways of displaying the classic menus:

 Method 1 – Switch back to default tangerine or Alt-Tang theme

1. Go to PeopleTools >> Portal >> Branding >> Branding System Options;
2. Change the system default theme back to default tangerine or alt-tang;
3. Sign out and sign in again to see the changes.

Method 2 – Unhide the drop down menu in default fluid theme

1. Go to PeopleTools >> Portal >> Branding >> Define Headers and Footers;
2. Search and open the DEFAULT_HEADER_FLUID header definition;
3. Copy the following styles into the “Style Definitions” field at bottom of the page, and then save;
.desktopFluidHdr .ptdropdownmenu {
    display: block;
}

4. Sign out and sign in again to see the changes.

We encourage customers to stick with Fluid navigation as the standard.  It's simply better and more intuitive. 

Monday Dec 21, 2015

Simplified Analytics: Putting Power in the Hands of End Users

PeopleTools 8.55 is an important release with lots of exciting features.  We recently held a Partner Summit, where PeopleSoft Development and Strategy met with many of our implementation partners to describe and discuss the new capabilities of our products and the value they provide to customers.  One feature that garnered quite a bit of interest is our new Simplified Analytics feature.

Simplified Analytics is important because it puts reporting and analytic power in the hands of end users.  It enables users to generate ad hoc analytics in the context of transactions.  This can be tremendously valuable for a myriad of business processes.  For example, when a manager wants to give an employee a raise, they may want to analyze how that employee is currently compensated compared to peers in the same role and performance class.  Or suppose a person is working with suppliers and they want to determine which suppliers to use.  They may want to analyze suppliers’ performance, price, etc.  Simplified analytics can be valuable in so many transactions, the list is almost endless.  And again, end users can employ this feature without having to turn to technical experts to generate reports for them.

Let’s look at how this would work from the end user perspective for one of the use cases I mentioned above:  I am a manager who is planning to give one of my employees a raise, and need additional information to provide the appropriate amount.

As a manager, I use Related Actions to initiate a Salary Change for Rosanna, one of my subordinates.

This takes me to the transaction where I can provide the change, but I’m not sure how much to give Rosanna, so I create a new analytic in the related information section on the right side of the page.

This initiates the simple process for generating a Simplified Analytic.  Note that the analytic is contextually bound, so the results are generated for me as the user of the transaction in this context.  

It’s quite easy for me to create the analytic I want for my purpose with this guided process.  First, I’ll give my new analytic a name and determine how I want the data visualized.

In this case I’ve chosen a chart to render the output.  Next I’ll choose the data that I want.  Notice that the Manager name is already determined.  (Betty is the person I logged in as.) 

I can select or deselect fields until I have what I want.  

When I save the Analytic, it is presented to me using the visualization I chose earlier; in this case, a chart.

Note that I have row and column data, and other data is represented as facets.  Facets can be selected to filter the results, or I can drag data items to or from the Row and Column areas to slice and dice the analytic any way I wish.  It’s flexible and powerful.

In this case, I’ve dragged the Department field to the Row area, which changes the Analytic and gives me a new perspective on the information.

Now when I save the analytic, it appears in the related information area so I can run this any time I’m in this transaction.  The data is fresh and secure. 

If I’ve created an analytic that I want to use frequently and have at hand regardless of context, I can easily create a tile for it and add it to any of my home pages. 

Now the analytic appears as a tile, and I can run it easily any time from my home page. 

As you can see, creating simplified analytics is easy and fast for end users.  It is wonderfully useful, because users can get the information they need when they need it, without having to seek assitance from IT or reporting experts.  

Our applications teams will be delivering some simplified analytics with our products, so you will see some when you simply take upcoming PeopleSoft Update Images.  However, simplified analytics are easy to create, so you can provide them to your users wherever you see a need.  

Look for more posts on this topic.  We’ll also cover how to publish reports to make them available to other users, and we’ll show you how to set up simplified analytics to make them available for your end users. 

Friday Dec 04, 2015

Oracle Proudly Releases PeopleTools 8.55

PeopleTools 8.55 has now been released for general availability.  With this release, Oracle continues to demonstrate our commitment to extend the value of our customers’ investment in PeopleSoft.  The capabilities included in this release have been designed to enhance many of the features we’ve delivered previously as well as to provide our application users substantial new functionality.  Features in this release focus on continued improvements to the PeopleSoft User Experience while providing additional technology options that will help you take advantage of data center innovations proven to reduce ongoing operating costs and assist in developing a Cloud deployment strategy. Our beta customers have been using PeopleTools 8.55 for a few months and definitely liked what they saw.

The PeopleTools Beta Program had two participants, Centene Corporation and Cerner Corporation. During the Beta Program, participants explored the improvements to the PeopleSoft Fluid User Experience and the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture (PCA) and found “smooth sailing” with few bugs reported and significant productivity improvements to environment provisioning with PCA.

PeopleTools 8.55 dramatically extends our investment in the Fluid User Experience. New in 8.55 are features such as Fluid Dashboards, Fluid Master/Detail pages and the new Activity Guide Framework.  Our intention with this latest release is to extend the capabilities of PeopleSoft Fluid to include functionality required by Power Users and to make the overall application experience as intuitive as possible. 

For example, PeopleTools 8.55 introduces a new Tile Wizard that makes the creation of these important navigation elements and process “building blocks” much simpler.  Tiles automatically resize based on the content they display, the size of the device being used, even based on the orientation of the mobile device. 

With this release we deliver Fluid Dashboards that augment our existing Fluid Home Page structures.  Dashboards can display tiled content just like home pages, but also allow Tiles to display external, non-PeopleSoft content such as information from a BI system or an external website or application system.

One of the long-standing strengths of PeopleSoft’s user experience has been the ability for our customers to alter the look and behavior of the screens to reflect their own company’s “brand”.  With PeopleTools 8.55, we extend the Branding Framework to include the ability to easily apply your company’s brand to Fluid pages and components.

There are very many new PeopleSoft Fluid features in PeopleTools 8.55, all of which extend our commitment to ensuring you have the most powerful, complete business applications and that these applications reflect the intuitive usability that your employees expect from today’s web systems. 

In a similar vein, we have extended many other elements of the PeopleSoft system infrastructure including Selective Adoption and Application Lifecycle Management features, the PeopleSoft Analytics capabilities and the ability for customers to deploy and manage PeopleSoft in a cloud datacenter. Most of the cloud infrastructure technology applies to on premise customers as well, and even to customers who don't use virtualization. A major benefit of our approach is that we can bring cloud-like benefits to customers who are not running on any form of cloud infrastructure.

With PeopleTools 8.55, we have continued to address the needs of our customers to achieve improved operational efficiency in the deployment, configuration and administration of their PeopleSoft applications.  As our customers see innovations across the technology landscape that include cloud service offerings, datacenter efficiencies through system virtualization and improved resource automation, they have asked us to identify opportunities for them to take advantage these innovations to help them better manage their datacenter operating costs.  Many of our customers are looking to cloud offerings as a strategic opportunity to achieve improved leverage and efficiency. 

PeopleTools 8.55 introduces the new PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture (PCA), a comprehensive organization of system-wide structures, features and capabilities that will allow our customers to achieve greater operational efficiencies.  Whether a company has a DevOps strategy to improve the collaboration between their internal PeopleSoft development and Quality Assurance teams and their IT Operations group, or a comprehensive initiative to leverage Cloud solutions for datacenter operations, PeopleSoft’s Cloud Deployment Architecture will assist our customers to reach these strategic goals with their own PeopleSoft application investment.

The PCA and incorporated features such as Deployment Packages (DPKs) work with the Application Configuration Manager (ACM) and PeopleSoft’s virtualization capabilities to provide customers a near fully automated process to install and configure PeopleTools.  Our goal is to help our customers leverage server and datacenter innovations such as market-leading resource virtualization solutions with choice of virtualization platform vendor as well as dynamic deployment of our solutions to public and private cloud platforms. PeopleTools patches deployed using DPKs can be found on MOS on the new PeopleSoft PeopleTools Patches Homepage.

PeopleTools 8.55 offers significant enhancements across the entire product footprint.  We introduced new features that improve the productivity of your developers as well as your end users.  It will be easier to deploy PeopleSoft applications on the cloud, develop custom mobile applications that incorporate PeopleSoft data and provide your users personalized access to PeopleSoft information and analytic content.  This release builds functionality into the product as a result of direct customer input, industry analysis and internal feature design.  New features, bug fixes and product certifications combine to offer PeopleSoft customers improved application user experience and operational efficiency.

As you get started with your PeopleTools 8.55 planning, be sure to review PT 8.55 Certifications on MOS so that you don’t encounter any last minute incompatibilities. Setting up the infrastructure can take time – plan for it. If you are looking for more information on PeopleTools 8.55, be sure to review the Technology tab for PeopleTools 8.55 Features and Enhancements or go to peoplesoftinfo.com for more information on anything related to PeopleSoft.

Enjoy!

PeopleSoft Announces Certification of Oracle Database 12c with Secure Enterprise Search

PeopleSoft is pleased to announce that the Oracle's 12c database is now certified for use with Secure Enterprise Search and the PeopleSoft Search Framework.  Details on how to use 12c with PeopleSoft Search are available in PeopleTools Certification Notes (Document 2081577.1) and the Knowledge Document Upgrading SES database to 12c (Document 2084851.1).

In addition to the certification steps, we have also provided an automated mechanism for customers to upgrade their SES Database to 12c.  This is an important business need for customers to perform their SES Database Upgrade.


Tuesday Nov 17, 2015

PeopleSoft Information Portal--New and Improved!

The PeopleSoft Info Portal is a popular one-stop shop for getting at everything PeopleSoft. If you are looking for information on PeopleSoft and wondering where to begin, that is often the best place to start. It's an easy name to remember: www.peoplesoftinfo.com The new site is responsive, so you can access it from any form factor.  If you have any questions or want to find out what's new, what's coming in the future, where to learn more--try the PeopleSoft Information Portal.


Monday Nov 02, 2015

Cryptowall, USB's, emailed malware and "honor among thieves"

 I'm sure many of you have heard recently of the rising prevalence of ransomware, particularly Cryptolock/Cryptowall and the growing prominence of walk-in Bitcoin exchanges and Buttonwood meetups.

 Cryptowall is a case in point of the malware. Spread mainly by infected email and "found" or shared USB memory sticks.

==============================
What is CryptoWall?
https://www.pcrisk.com/removal-guides/7844-cryptowall-virus

What is CryptoWall?
The CryptoWall ransomware virus infiltrates users' operating systems via infected email messages and fake downloads (for example, rogue video players or fake Flash updates). After successful infiltration, this malicious program encrypts files stored on users' computers (*.doc, *.docx, *.xls, *.ppt, *.psd, *.pdf, *.eps, *.ai, *.cdr, *.jpg, etc.) and demands payment of a $500 ransom (in Bitcoins) to decrypt them. Cyber criminals responsible for releasing this rogue program, ensure that it executes on all Windows versions (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8). CryptoWall ransomware creates HELP_DECRYPT.PNG, HELP_DECRYPT.HTML and HELP_DECRYPT.TXT files within each folder containing the encrypted files.


"Note that at time of writing, there were no known tools capable of decrypting files encrypted by CryptoWall without paying the ransom." 12 September 2015 
==============================

There is generally no good business reason why typical corporate workstation/laptop users should:
- have local administrator access
- have enabled USB ports
- need to open office productivity tools documents containing macros

These features should be disabled.

My "honor among thieves" statement relates to the tendency, as observed, that payment of the "ransom" in Bitcoins has been the only current successful way of retrieving the encrypted data/disks. The alternative is frequent backups.

Friday Oct 23, 2015

Attending OpenWorld? Come and say HI!

We’re ready, are you??  As you plan your schedule for next week, please be sure to stop by PeopleTools booths at the Demogrounds area in Moscone West, first floor. The Demogrounds will be open Monday through Wednesday, and you’ll find us in 3 pods in section 3155. Rumor has it that we’re back in the far corner to attract traffic throughout the entire vendor fair. Do you have questions about Selective Adoption? The Fluid UI? PeopleSoft on the Cloud? Be sure to stop by.

We’ll also have our PeopleTools experts available to chat with you in the Meet the Experts hall on Wednesday at 1:45 - stop by Moscone West 3001A and get answers to your questions. We’re not trying to put the Support Center out of business, so DON’T bring your list of open SRs…but if you have some things you’ve been wondering about, run them past us - we’ll share our thoughts.

See you next week!

Monday Oct 19, 2015

Oracle Open World Less Than A Week Away!

Open World is Oracle's biggest and most important conference, and PeopleSoft/PeopleTools is well-represented again this year. The PeopleTools tech team is presenting many sessions on topics that we think you will find interesting and informative.  (This optimism is born out by the pre-registration numbers for the Tech sessions.)  Come visit us in the PeopleTools demo pods as well. 

We hope you will be attending Open World '15, and if you do, please consider coming to see us at these sessions:

SESSION TITLE DATE / TIME LOCATION
CON8596 PeopleSoft Developer: Tips and Techniques Monday, Oct 26
12:15
MW 3007
CON8203 Using PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface for Exceptional HR Self-Service Tuesday, Oct 27
11:00
Palace - Twin Peaks S
CON8585 PeopleSoft Technology Update Tuesday, Oct 27
4:00
MW 2008
CON8587 PeopleSoft’s User Experience Roadmap: It Is PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface Tuesday, Oct27
5:15
MW 3016
CON8598 Develop an Effective PeopleSoft Selective Adoption Strategy Wednesday, Oct 28
11:00
MW 3016
CON8591 PeopleSoft in the Cloud: PeopleSoft’s Cloud Deployment Architecture Wednesday, Oct 28
12:15
MW 3014
CON8600 Customer View: Adapting to Take Advantage of PeopleSoft Wednesday, Oct 28
3:00
MW 3016
CON8595 Putting It to Work: PeopleSoft Automated Configuration Manager Wednesday, Oct 28
3:00
MW 3014
CON8593 PeopleTools Security Features Wednesday, Oct 28
4:15
MW 3016
CON8592 Simplified Analytics: The Latest Generation of PeopleSoft Reporting Wednesday, Oct 28
4:15
MW 3014
CON8204 How to Make the Most of the PeopleSoft Selective Adoption Model Wednesday, Oct 28
4:15
Palace - Twin Peaks N
CON8602 PeopleTools Platform and Infrastructure Roadmap Thursday, Oct 29
9:30
MW 3016
CON8599 Putting It to Work: Rolling Out PeopleSoft’s Suite of Lifecycle Management Tools Thursday, Oct 29
10:45
MW 3016
CON8589 Putting It to Work: PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface Component Thursday, Oct 29
12:00
MW 3014
CON8588 Simplifying Complex Processes with New PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface Activity Guides Thursday, Oct 29
10:45
MW 3014
CON8594 Putting It to Work: Securing Your PeopleSoft Environment Thursday, Oct 29
12:00
MW 3016
CON8586 PeopleSoft Technology: Executive Panel Thursday, Oct 29
1:15
MW 3014
CON8590 Putting It to Work: Configuring a PeopleSoft Applications Cluster Thursday, Oct 29
2:30
MW 3014
CON8601 Putting It to Work: Getting the Most Out of PeopleSoft RESTful Services Thursday, Oct 29
2:30
MW 3016

Friday Oct 16, 2015

Fluid Navigtion Design Guidelines Available

Many customers have asked us about guidance for developing in PeopleSoft's Fluid User Interface.  To address that, PeopleSoft's Information Development team has recently published a new guide for designing navigation in Fluid.  The way users navigate in the Fluid UI is quite different (and more efficient) than in classic PeopleSoft pages.  The new guidelines are available here.

The guidelines cover the philosophy of Fluid navigation focusing on the following:

  • Multiple paths for users to access functionality.
  • Users’ ability to choose the path that is most effective for them.
  • Use of Related Actions to make navigation work across all paths.

Classic PIA navigation uses a locator link (“breadcrumb”) menu with a deep menu hierarchy. Fluid navigation takes an entirely different approach, using homepages and tiles as the starting points for navigating to both Fluid and Classic pages. Further navigation to Fluid and Classic transactions is achieved through a variety of vectors like the Nav Bar, Related Actions, Search, and more.  The following 'how-to' topics are covered:

  • Create new homepages.
  • Add tiles to homepages via the Tile Repository.
  • Add a component tile to any homepage from within the component.
  • Add tiles to the NavBar.
  • Reorder tiles in the NavBar.
  • Add favorite components to My Favorites in the NavBar

In addition, we've published a Fluid UI documentation update, that covers troubleshooting, clarifications to official product docs, updates, and significantly, guides on the CCS that PeopleSoft uses to develop our applications.

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This blog provides information to the PeopleSoft community, about PeopleSoft Technology, otherwise known as PeopleTools.

For the PeopleSoft Applications blog see the PeopleSoft Strategy Blog.

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For information about PeopleSoft see the PeopleSoft Information Portal.

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