It’s no surprise the value customers are seeing with 9.2, specifically in the areas of Fluid User Interface. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many customers about what they are doing in these areas. Michelle Erkenswick, PeopleSoft Technical Lead for Jack Henry & Associates primarily supports the Human Capital Management (HCM) system, but also serves in an advisory capacity to other PeopleSoft areas. We discussed how Jack Henry & Associates is using Fluid within their PeopleSoft systems.
- Consider fluid navigation first
- Focus on self-service areas first
- Provide appropriate communication to the power users
Founded in 1976, Jack Henry & Associates provides more than 300 products and services that enable their customers to process financial transactions, automate their businesses, and succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Their three brands – Jack Henry Banking®, Symitar®, and ProfitStars® – support financial institutions of all sizes, diverse businesses outside the financial industry, and other technology providers.
The PeopleSoft technology team consists of 18 developers (four on HCM, seven on FSCM, and seven on CRM), and five PeopleSoft Administrators. Their first implementation of PeopleSoft was their CRM system in 2005, followed by HCM and FSCM in 2006. These were all version 8.8. They then upgraded HCM to 8.9 in 2007 and then to 9.1 in 2011. They upgraded HCM to 9.2 in 2015 as well as FSCM upgraded to 9.0 in 2009, and to 9.2 in 2015. CRM was upgraded to 8.9 in 2007. In 2014, they upgraded to 9.1. and are currently in the process of upgrading CRM to 9.2.
They have not always stayed completely current on patches and rolling out new functionality, but they try not to fall too far behind. Their current strategy will be to try to get up to date with patches at least every other year, if not more often.
What were the drivers for you to begin using fluid user interface?
In HCM, it was because we wanted to use some newly delivered content that was only available in the Fluid User Interface. For FSCM and CRM, it was because we were upgrading to PeopleTools 8.55 and decided it wasn’t worth trying to keep us Classic. Also, as the business side saw more and more Fluid demonstrations, they liked the new look and feel.
Where and how are you using fluid?
- Deployed Delivered Fluid Content in May 2016 to utilize Guided Self-Service
- Still using Classic navigation until 8.55 upgrade next spring
- Deployed Fluid Navigation with 8.55 upgrade in October 2016
- Minimal Fluid Content deployed, looking at delivered content now
- Deploying Fluid Navigation with an upgrade
- Minimal Fluid Content will be deployed with an upgrade
- Custom Fluid Content will be deployed post-upgrade
- Deployed Fluid Navigation in March 2016. Classic Navigation still available
- Deployed a few custom Fluid Tiles and Pages
How are you rolling out fluid user interface to your end users (e.g. pilot, phased, big bang, etc.)?
We started with a small pilot on our Phire system. (Phire is a third-party change management/version control system built on PeopleTools: www.phire-soft.com) Phire had not delivered Fluid content, so this allowed the technical side to work with Fluid and create some content before we started working with it in our larger installations. The user base for Phire consists of the technical team, the business analyst teams, and the QA teams. We wanted everyone to have an opportunity to use Fluid navigation on a smaller scale before we started to implement elsewhere. This was an excellent educational opportunity for everyone.
We definitely have a phased approach to rolling out Fluid User Interface. In HCM, we wanted to utilize the Guided Self-Service functionality delivered for Manager Self-Service. This would resolve a lot of business issues for us, and it was delivered only in Fluid User Interface. We decided at the time not to implement Fluid Navigation primarily because we didn’t have the time to focus on the business decisions needed for creating Homepages, and we were still on 8.54 tools which didn’t require that we actually move to Fluid Navigation. We considered rolling out a few other delivered Fluid pages (like the Employee Self-Service View Paycheck), but opted not to because at the time bugs on the pages were identified. We will be rolling out Fluid Navigation next spring with our 8.55 upgrade in HCM.
In FSCM, we rolled out Fluid Navigation with our 8.55 tools upgrade. We have removed all Classic Navigation, including the Classic Homepage and breadcrumbs. Several Homepages were created based on user roles. An Employee Homepage, for example, includes tiles that allow them to access various links related to Expense Reports. For a Manager, the Homepage contains tiles that link to their Worklist, several Approval pages, Reporting, and others. A Finance user’s Homepage contains tiles that link to landing pages built for each module. The Accounts Payable tile, for example, would link to a landing page that contains the same links that you would see if you had clicked on the Accounts Payable menu in the Classic Navigation. There is also a Homepage for users outside of Finance who have additional access to the system.
For CRM, we will be implementing the Fluid Navigation as the first implementation of Fluid while leaving the Classic home as well. We will be implementing some Workcenters but no Fluid pages. We plan on implementing a custom support page as the first CRM Fluid page.
It was decided not to roll out Fluid Content at the same time as the navigation for a number of reasons. First, it was found that some of the pages we wanted to use were a little buggy and seemed to have performance issues in the initial testing. Secondly, trying to roll out a PeopleTools upgrade, navigation changes and coordinate patches from PUM to work with the Fluid Content got to be a little more time consuming than our project schedule would allow. We are working on deploying the Fluid Content now, and it will be rolled out in phases.
What was your experience in deploying fluid? What did you learn that other customers could benefit from?
- Users will need to get used to it. Losing the breadcrumbs is difficult for power users, but casual and self-service users seem to accept it easily.
- Fluid Tiles can navigate to Classic pages, even to Classic Portal Registry Folders. Navigation collections are useful in this process.
- Determining what Homepages are needed and what needs to be on each one takes time. This is something the business side should be considered prior to beginning the Fluid implementation.
- We found that it seems to be much easier to deploy navigation than to try to deploy navigation and content all at once. The content changes are much more seamless for end users than navigation changes.
- We found that some of the Fluid content delivered was buggy (it is new, after all), and was not quite ready to be rolled out.
What obstacles, if any, did you encounter in deploying fluid?
Getting Fluid deployed on Tools 8.54 wasn’t too much of an issue. There were pain points in getting 8.55 to run right. The framework between the Tools versions behaves differently – on 8.54, the Classic and Fluid Frameworks run separately, but in 8.55, it’s all one framework.
We wanted to make sure that each platform had a Homepage look that was consistent with the other tiers. Getting everyone on the same page when considering how Homepages should look, the number of tiles on each page, the kinds of images used, what kinds of personalization would be allowed, was tricky because the business teams from Finance, HR and CRM really hadn’t worked that closely together before.
Getting power users to let go of the breadcrumbs was also an obstacle. We decided to remove them completely to make the transition to the new navigation more complete. Managing this change was a challenge, but with appropriate communication to the power users, it wasn’t as painful as we may have expected.
What concerns, if any, did your company have in deploying fluid?
The biggest concern was probably around managing change. We knew that the power users would likely resist losing their breadcrumbs, and we needed to get them involved as early as possible in the process so that they could provide their input.
We also had some concerns about performance, as the new tools and some of the new Fluid content seemed to cause us some performance issues. We spent some time looking closely at potential issues and opted to wait on deploying any content that may have had potential performance problems.
Are you deploying fluid as delivered? If not, how customized/modified are you and why?
For the most part, we are rolling things out as delivered. We have made a few modifications on the navigation side by customizing a few of the Portal Content References to get Fluid Tiles to link to existing Classic pages. We have also added some minor customizations to the new Guided Self-Service pages that we rolled out in HCM.
CRM will be rolling out some custom Fluid pages after the upgrade is complete.
Since deploying fluid what benefits have you seen for you and your company?
In HCM, the new Fluid Guided Self-Service Content has helped a lot with improving the processes managers use to submit employee transactions (promotions, transfers, salary changes, etc.). The process is easier to understand and fewer mistakes are made. The managers also find the Fluid pages easier to read and simpler to use than the Classic versions.
In FSCM, casual users of the system found that the Fluid Navigation was much easier to use than the Classic. The tiles took them directly to where they needed to go without having to remember any navigation.
Where do you want to take your company’s solution in the next 2-3 years?
Within the next year, we will have all of our PeopleSoft applications using Fluid User Interface for navigation. We plan to continue to roll out new Fluid Content as it is delivered and as we are able to pull and test it. Our focus, like Oracle’s, is to target Self-Service areas first, with a focus on areas that are most likely to be utilized on mobile devices(Expenses in FSCM, Candidate Gateway in HCM, Customer Cases in CRM). Trying to keep pace with where Oracle is with converting to Fluid Content is something we aspire to accomplish. Converting custom pages in areas where Oracle hasn’t started delivering any Fluid Content is not a priority.
How involved was your company in utilizing the quest community, or any other user group, during the upgrade process?
We watched a lot of Quest webinars in preparing for the implementation of Fluid. Attending COLLABORATE and RECONNECT conferences provided a lot of information that we were able to bring back to share with the organization and gave us some insight into how others were approaching the implementation.
Would you like to share your own story with the Quest community? Contact us and Quest staff will get in touch!