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PeopleTools and Technology Update and Roadmap: RECONNECT Dive Deep 2021

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During RECONNECT Dive Deep, David Bain, Senior Director Product Management of Oracle PeopleSoft PeopleTools, shared what you can expect from PeopleTools 8.59. He gave a rundown of the features and enhancements that are most advantageous to you, splitting his presentation into two categories:

  1. Reduction of operational costs
  2. Increasing the value for line of business

First, David mentioned one of the major accomplishments of 2021 so far—Cloud Manager 12. Cloud Manager 12 is available on the Oracle Marketplace. If you’re running in OCI and you’ve lifted your PeopleSoft apps to OCI, you can take advantage of the Cloud Manager for no additional cost.

Secondly, PeopleTools 8.59.01 is available to install on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Cloud Manager, and PeopleTools 8.59.03 is available for download to all on-premises environments. The remaining PeopleTools release schedule is below.

Additional changes made this year include PeopleSoft Tech Updates. PeopleSoft uses two means of communication for alerting you to things that may impact your technology support. The first is through platform certifications. Go to My Oracle Support > Certifications > PeopleTools Release.

The second is a communication avenue for PeopleSoft Enterprise PeopleTools. The document is Doc ID 764222.1. They recommend bookmarking the doc to stay in the know, easily.

On the roadmap for PeopleSoft PeopleTools are several enhancements. As mentioned, each of them falls into one of two categories: reduction of operational costs or increased value for the line of business.

Reduce Operational Costs

Beginning with reducing operational costs, the team is investing heavily in Cloud Manager. They believe Cloud Manager is an avenue to maintaining applications with a better experience, better cost, and better value for the customer.

If you read the Innovation Stories about customer migration to OCI, across the board, customers are experiencing lower costs, better performance, and a better administration experience. If you haven’t made the move to OCI, you should look into it. It will eliminate hardware refreshes, and offer a bucket of exciting features for you to take advantage of.

Policy Management

What are policies? Policies are administrative tasks that you perform on your applications. Examples include backing up DEV environments on a nightly basis or automating weekly refreshes from a production environment to a test environment.

Now, you can define policies within Cloud Manager. They can be lifecycle processes or applied administrative tasks. Policies can be based upon events—something external triggers the policy (ex. PRP gets published)—or schedules. Schedule-based policies start and stop environments, add or remove resources from middle-tiers for running environments, back up and restore environments, or refresh Dev and Test environments from Production.

You can automate your operations to:

  • Run nightly backups on development environments
  • Refresh test environments from development on a scheduled basis
  • Expand middle tier on anticipated scheduled peak times
  • Make UAT environments available only during scheduled working hours

Add policies to optimize the use of your system and automate repetitive tasks.

Additionally, you now have the ability to run Oracle Live Labs from your home or office. Run through the steps displayed below to take advantage of it. If you have an interest in Cloud Manager,  make sure to sign up for the live lab.

Customer Example

Gideon Taylor recently acquired Newbury Consulting Group and took BYU-Hawaii live on GT-hosted OCI Cloud Infrastructure. A few highlights of their shift are listed below:

  • GT’s PureRed™ Configuration = PS Optimized on OCI
  • Less than 30 minutes downtime for Production cutover
  • Full on-site hot replication with a 15-minute delay
  • Auto-scalable Capacity on Demand
  • Recovery Point Objective = 15 minutes, versus 1 to 2 hours
  • Drastic performance improvement

Overall, they experienced  67% less time applying PUM updates, 30x faster non-prod instant refreshes, and 40–60% reduction in infrastructure cost. This was a great sample of the shift to OCI.

Lifecycle Management

When it comes to Lifecycle Management, most customers are familiar with the tools. However, it’s the processes that wrap around those tools that impact how you choose to use them.

To get the most out of your tools, follow this Lifecycle Management Process:

  • Inventory/Document – Keep an inventory of customizations by business feature and custom categories
  • Evaluate – Each PUM cycle, evaluate how new changes impact existing customizations
  • Eliminate – Remove the custom feature from all impacted objects
  • Optimize – Refactor customization using new options
  • SkipMerge – Either don’t apply the changes or use the LCM tools to merge the change
  • Manage – Create long-term plans/automated tests for customizations

The updated Manager Homepage includes the following features:

  • Familiar Dashboard
  • Fluid Customization Repository
  • Download Repository
  • Settings
  • Job Scheduler

With PeopleSoft Automated Updates (PAU), you can automate tasks that were once manual. This feature is delivered in PUM images. Any PUM environment running the latest release has it. Leverage this tool to automate and schedule tasks such as:

  • PRP Downloads
  • Applying PRP to the PUM Image
  • Creating standard Change Package Definitions
  • Creating the Change Package
  • Running Source Side Apply

Another exciting new feature is the Customization Repository.

The Customization Repository is a list of objects that have changed. The changes can be uploaded in one of three ways: Upload all customizations from the database in one simple upload, upload all customizations from Project files (which retains the project name and groups files accordingly), or upload all customizations and manually group to take full advantage of custom categories. A single PeopleTools object can be in multiple groups.

PeopleSoft has also added the ability to automatically merge your PeopleCode, SQL, and XSLT. Your customizations and PT changes are merged for a best-result solution. The merge is not expected to turn out perfectly 100% of the time, but rules can be applied to choose which change is made, and which goes out as a comment.

The merge should give you an easier experience in applying customizations during migration. It’s the first step in the direction of a more automated change process. You do need to have a populated Customization Repository in order for this to work.

As is common knowledge, isolating customizations is incredibly important. PeopleSoft has delivered several features to empower you to isolate your customizations. However, even isolated customizations are customizations, and you need to keep an eye on them.

Now, you can capture isolated customer customizations for analysis with SQR Reports to:

  • Analyze impact
  • Component/page/record/field – App Clas
  • Page – Sub page
  • AE – Plugin AE
  • Invoke by Change Assistant
  • Invoke via Process Scheduler
  • Configurable inputs
  • Filtered or Full Report
  • Project or Full DB

On the Lifecycle side, everyone can take advantage of new features.

Customers who have moved to OCI can leverage features in Cloud Manager, as well as the automatic PeopleTools Patch and Update. Customers can take a running PeopleSoft, get an automatic download, apply the upgrade, and bring the system back up. Additionally, Cloud Manager Policy gives them a great way to look at their policies.

All of this prompts the next step—using intelligence to reduce operational costs of your enterprise. Through predictive analytics formed from artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can move away from a maximum footprint model and toward a less administrative approach to management.

Autonomous Database – Dedicated and Shared

The autonomous database is dedicated and shared. Benefits for PeopleSoft customers include reduced human labor, increased system availability, reduced risk, and the ability to leverage future Oracle innovation. Deployment options include dedicated infrastructure, shared infrastructure, and [email protected]

While you probably won’t be able to completely get rid of DBAs, as they will still play a role in managing the database, the benefits are clear. Below are the steps to taking advantage of Lifecycle/Operation Changes.

New for the Developer

Customization isolations continue to be enhanced. Currently, capabilities include:

  • Fluid Nav Collection to simplify event mapping and service definition
  • Default PeopleCode is not required
  • Option to override existing PeopleCode.

One of the biggest evolutionary features that has come in under the radar is the ability to supplement PeopleSoft data with external data for intelligence and reporting. You can integrate valuable data for AI/ML processing and leverage the value of the elastic search repository with little investment.

Regarding the Application Service Framework, one of the interesting byproducts of building out the conversational interface was the discovery of a new way to build integrations in PeopleSoft. The redesigned Application Services Framework was delivered in 8.57/8.58. It was designed specifically for conversations. In 8.59, PeopleSoft takes it into a general use facility. You’ll have the ability to use it for more than a digital assistant. It will be an infrastructure from which you can build RESTful services that can be very valuable.

Another advantage comes in the form of Realtime Indexing. Knowing that search is becoming a bigger part of the application than ever before, PeopleSoft created a simplified way of accessing the ElasticSearch in almost real-time. The data is posted to the database—component, AE, batch, integration, SQL, etc, and then copied to a staging record using a database trigger. The new process constantly probes for staging records and updates are sent directly to the ElasticSearch index.

Note: When you are updating the tables in batch, you can have performance problems. The team is evaluating how to index based upon the end of batching.

Increase the Value for Line of Business

In 8.59, PeopleSoft invested in areas that will increase your value for line-of-business. They did a tremendous amount of work to enhance the user experience.

A main focus for enhancement was Fluid Navigation. In 8.59, it takes one click to access your Most Recents or Favorites. This is incredibly advantageous for today’s users.

Additional exciting improvements have been made to the use of and/or navigation to:

  • Notifications
  • Alerts
  • Favorites
  • Recent
  • Homepages
  • Menu Items
  • Digital Assistant
  • Enterprise Search

Additionally, Enterprise Search is receiving the attention it deserves with results ranking. Search is the primary means of navigation. Features include:

  • Menu/Contextual
  • Custom/Personalized
  • Weighted
  • Secure
  • Fast
  • Real-time
  • Synonyms

Suggestions are ranked based on the previous navigation history, with recently accessed at the top.

Chatbot for PeopleSoft

Another feature that has been added is the conversational interface, PICASO. PICASO is a single unified digital assistant for the enterprise. Skills are available in the areas of benefits, North American payroll, absences, employee directory, requisition inquiries, expense inquiries, and more.

What should you do to take advantage of the new UI?

  1. Get to Fluid Navigation (required in 8.58 and above)
  2. Emphasize using Enterprise Search
  3. Leverage the new Notifications admin and personalization
  4. Evaluate the benefits of Digital Assistants

Advanced Analytics Platform

PeopleSoft has improved the enterprise with both the ElasticSearch repository and advanced analytics in PeopleSoft through Simplified, Pivot Grids, Kibana, and the Oracle Analytic Cloud. The Advanced Analytic Platform leverages Kibana analytics, built with the Elasticsearch indexes, displayed on tiles with an integrated dashboard, and drill to Kibana. Aliases and display names are available for better readability and there’s a new external data integration.

To take advantage of the PeopleSoft Analytic Platform, follow these steps:

You can integrate and extend PeopleSoft with Oracle Cloud solutions:

  • Oracle Autonomous Database
  • Oracle Digital Assistant
  • OCI Data Science
  • Oracle Analytics Cloud and Planning, Budgeting
  • Oracle Monitoring Cloud
  • Oracle Identity Management
  • Oracle Asset Monitoring Cloud
  • Oracle Guided Learning

Key Takeaway

To take full advantage of the new technology and features being delivered at PeopleSoft, consider shifting to OCI. Once you make the move, you’ll reduce operational costs and increase the value of your line of business. You’ll have the opportunity for a modern administration experience and an elevated UX. Leverage the updates of Lifecycle Management, Cloud Manager 12, Cloud Manager Policy, and Autonomous and Predictive Learning with Fluid Navigation, ElasticSearch, Chatbot for PeopleSoft, and PeopleSoft Analytic Platform to take your enterprise to the next level of simplicity and efficiency.

Additional Resources

Make plans to join us for BLUEPRINT 4D, taking place in Las Vegas and online June 6 – 9th, 2022. The hybrid event format is designed to provide an optimal experience for customer participation and engagement both in person and digitally for a truly global event. This global Oracle customer event is your chance to get the updates and practical hands-on learning for JD EdwardsPeopleSoftOracle Cloud appsOracle Database & Technology, and Oracle Commerce!

Registration is open now!

PeopleTools and Technology Update and Roadmap: RECONNECT Dive Deep 2021