Arkalgud Venkatesh, IT Manager at Alameda County, recently sat down with Quest to discuss their expansion into Fluid User Interface. Arkalgud is responsible for the County’s PeopleSoft footprint, including their expansion into Fluid User Interface.
- Fluid allows creative ideas like a help home page and easy access to external links
- Fluid rollouts can be done successfully with nimble ‘in-house’ teams
- Power users find Fluid UI more modern, simple and easy to use
About Alameda County
Alameda County, a county in the state of California, uses PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM) and Financials Supply Chain Management (FSCM). Alameda’s technology team supports applications that cover over 9,000 employees. Alameda County has been a PeopleSoft customer since 2000 and they are currently on Financials and HCM 9.2 as well as PeopleTools 8.55.
What were the drivers for you to begin using Fluid User Interface?
Users have always been commenting on the UI of legacy PeopleSoft applications. Though it is not fair, users always compared old UI to a typical web site that they use every day, such as Amazon or a bank site. When Oracle released the Fluid architecture, my team was excited by the new look and what we could offer our users. Moreover, our management’s task was to provide access via mobile devices. And finally, Fluid reduces the number of clicks to navigate from page to page.
Where and how are you using Fluid?
We are using most of the delivered Fluid pages. Our senior management loves to access via their mobile devices to approve time and, of course, review their paycheck. We intend to deploy the Fluid feature outside of the County to our county customers using the Strategic Sourcing module.
How are you rolling out Fluid User Interface to your end users (e.g. Pilot, Phased, Big Bang, etc)?
We have taken a big bang approach! As I mentioned earlier, we are deploying most of the Fluid pages that are relevant to us. We are pleased with the approach and our users have embraced it whole-heartedly.
What was your experience in deploying Fluid? What did you learn that other customers could benefit from?
Users really like the easy navigation, and clicking on the tiles is very simple. This helped us in not needing to train the users on the new interface. When there is a dramatic change to the UI (which Fluid is), change management across the institution makes it challenging. But Fluid is very intuitive with its easy tile-based navigation, which made the change management an easier task. That said, we did conduct road shows to prepare the super users and administrators of various functions, on the arrival of a new way to do business. We demoed how users had multiple home pages – employee self-service, manager self-service, admin pages and finally a help page containing a collection of tiles for all frequently used non-PeopleSoft tools and help desk support.
What obstacles, if any, did you encounter while deploying Fluid?
Thanks to the great effort from our users in testing the system thoroughly and the due diligence of our tech team, we had worked out all the kinks during our various testing phases.
We uncovered several tools-related issues during our testing phases, and Oracle provided us with multiple Proof of Concept fixes. By go-live time, we had no outstanding showstopper issues.
What concerns, if any, did your company have about deploying Fluid?
One of the main concerns we had was about the new “Tiles look”. We thought that the user populations would prefer “Classic look”. But we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the user adoption was much more universal. We continue to receive many kudos for the advanced UI.
Are you deploying Fluid as delivered? If not, how customized or modified are you and why?
For the most part, yes. But we created our own homepages, tiles and navigation collections. We attempted to adopt the new UI to act as a pseudo-portal where the users can have one-stop access to all their bookmarks as a tile and frequently used tools such as FileNet, DocuSign, etc. as a tile.
Since deploying Fluid, what benefits have you seen for you and your company?
Initial results and feedback show that the system is quite fast as compared to the previous non-Fluid performance. Power users who spend extended amount of time on the system don’t feel like they are using an older model of the system. Typical feedback from the users are on the simplicity of the UI, need for fewer clicks to navigate and not needing the maintenance of the long list of traditional bookmarks/favorites.
What services partner did you work with, if any?
Ah! This is my favorite question – we historically do not engage service partners for such endeavors and we did not use any for this particular rollout. Our internal technical teams are nimble enough to handle this on their own; they are able to juggle their day job of keeping the lights on and upgrades concurrently. We don’t have separate teams for any such initiatives!
Where do you want to take your company’s Fluid strategy in the next two to three years?
Of course, our strategy is largely dependent on Oracle’s own. That said, we plan to deploy dashboards as much as possible for executive reporting, admins for their frequent need of data and mining the data. One approach is to look at our top 10 or 15 frequently used global queries and convert them to dashboards, thus supplementing the powerful capability of PS queries in mining the data with the classy reporting capability of the new Fluid UI. As said before, we would like to roll out Fluid UI for the public (our vendors and prospective vendors) using the Strategic Sourcing module.
How involved was your company in utilizing the Quest community, or any other user group, during the upgrade process?
We are huge fans of Quest and everything they do! We constantly view webinars, conference presentations, etc. Our users attend RECONNECT and COLLABORATE where they are able to collaborate with their peers in other institutions by sharing and learning how the system can be used in their daily business life.
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