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Posts Tagged ‘dashboards’

Configuration of WorkCenters

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WorkCenters are a very powerful feature of PeopleSoft 9.2. They offer one-page information designed to support the most common work activities, reports and analytics for a job function. PeopleSoft delivers a lot of content for WorkCenters, but as with most content, some of it is applicable for most businesses and some needs to be configured specifically for an organization’s needs. In this multiple part blog series, we’ll demonstrate how to configure WorkCenters to allow your organization to tailor it to your specific needs.

First, let’s look at the right side of the WorkCenter page with the “Dashboard” enabled.

WorkCenters 1

You can personalize the content by clicking on the CONTENT hyperlink in the top right corner. This brings up all the embeddable pagelets that are available to add to your dashboard. Users can select those that are most relevant to their job function.

WorkCenters 2

A couple of things to remember when doing this:

  1. Try and stick to 5-6 embeddable pagelets because they refresh when the dashboard is engaged and you don’t want impact performance. Limiting the number of pagelets selected should not be an issue because the goal of a dashboard is to focus on answering “top” business questions.
  2. Remember that you can select those that are delivered by Oracle and those that you create.  This allows you to personalize dashboards with content specific to your organization. We have posted multiple blogs on the topic of creating embeddable pagelets if you need help.
  3. In addition to selecting the specific embeddable pagelets, you can organize them with a 2 or 3 column configuration.

WorkCenters 3

Additionally, each embeddable pagelet has options for configuration or personalization.

WorkCenters 4

Personalization of this pagelet allows the user to select the business unit to return and max rows.

WorkCenters 5

Each pagelet may offer different options based on the type of pagelet and how it was designed.

WorkCenters 6

For the Buyer WorkCenter Dashboard, these are the options to allow users to configure and personalize the content, keep in mind, user-created embeddable pagelets can also be added to the dashboard.

In the next blog, we will begin to look at options for the left side of the WorkCenter or the action side.

If you would like additional information, please contact me at larry.zagata@miproconsulting.com.

Ease of Use – Millennial PeopleSoft

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PeopleSoft 9.2 Dashboards, WorkCenters and PeopleSoft FUI 

Happy New Year!!

PeopleSoft 9.2 Dashboards, WorkCenters and PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface (FUI) will turn your current PeopleSoft system into a modern, up-to-date system and, most important – make the system more user friendly and just plain easier to use.

While many companies have upgraded to PeopleSoft 9.2, and many others are still planning to, we have found that most clients who have upgraded have yet to really take advantage and leverage the latest enhancements and updated value available for their organizations to use.  It is one thing to keep up with the new features and benefits through the current 9.2 Selective Adoption systematic process with the regular PUM Image Updates, but everyone should give serious thought to modernizing the “ease of use” and updated “look and feel” by changing the user interface to the latest Fluid User Interface (FUI) and by using the new personalized Dashboards and WorkCenters.  These new enhancements meet the objective of many organizations in offering modern current tools to attract new hires and for their “Millennials” to work with.

Below are links to a number of articles from our MIPRO Blog (where there is a lot of useful information) which will give you a good overview of what these are all about and how you might take advantage and leverage these new capabilities.  There are more articles out there to read, so below are several that might introduce the concepts for your consideration

PeopleSoft 9.2: Dashboards vs. WorkCenters. Over the course of a few presentations we’ve watched as well as several discussions we’ve had, we’ve come to notice there is some confusion between Dashboards and WorkCenters in PeopleSoft 9.2. So, we’d like to clarify to make sure these two terms don’t get conflated or swapped. It’s the old adage: if one person has a question about something, rest assured others do too. So, Dashboards vs. WorkCenters…….

FSCM PUM Image 12 – Pricing Manager WorkCenter On May 6th, Oracle released Image 12 for PeopleSoft FSCM. One of the enhancements released was the Pricing Manager WorkCenter in Order Management; it is designed to streamline the daily functions for power users. The Pricing Manager WorkCenter contains the pricing dashboard, alerts, additional analytics, reports and queries and links to the most common work functions in Order Management…

PeopleTools 8.55 – Fluid User Interface Enhancements Posted July 6, 2016 with the release of PeopleTools 8.55, those that have upgraded have realized the value in many of the new features this version offers. There are significant enhancements in the areas of dashboards, reporting, analytics, query and the all-important update manager (all of which we will discuss in future blogs). The one area that is receiving …

Fluid Dashboards. There has been a lot of discussion on new functionality and features with Fluid User Interface (FUI) that have been delivered since the release of PeopleTools 8.54. Now with the release of Tools 8.55, FUI extends itself into the technology area in several ways:

  • PeopleTools Health Center
  • PUM Dashboard
  • FLUID Dashboards
  • FLUID Related Content

PeopleSoft Fluid and Classic WorkCenter Scope.  PeopleSoft Fluid and Classic WorkCenter Scope was introduced in PeopleSoft FSCM Update Image 19 in June 2016. If enabled, PeopleSoft Fluid and Classic WorkCenter Scope allows the end user to select filters to better narrow, or filter, the content in their WorkCenter. One scope or multiple scopes can be defined. When the end user changes scopes, they are changing the set of filter values applied to all the configured My Work links. This gives them the ability to quickly change between work for different operations with one drop down list selection.   Users may want to setup scopes for different regions, groups of buyers, groups of business units, etc.  Here is an example for WorkCenter Scope setup in the Billing WorkCenter…….

PeopleSoft Image 20 – Fluid Forms and Approval Builder.   As we have been discussing over the last few weeks on Unfiltered, Oracle has released PeopleSoft Financials/Supply Chain Update Image 20.  In this week’s feature of Unfiltered, we are going to highlight another specific subset of the more than two dozen features included in the new PeopleSoft Image: Fluid Forms and Approval Builder. If you missed our previous blogs follow the links at the bottom to catch up…..

Improve Your Efficiency with PeopleSoft – Part 1  PeopleSoft Personalized Homepage Dashboards Looking for a great way to easily improve your efficiency with PeopleSoft and greatly improve your ability to manage and prioritize your work? Then you should consider configuring personalized PeopleSoft Homepage Dashboards and WorkCenters for your users. Today we will take a look at personalized Homepage Dashboards and next week we.…

Improve Your Efficiency with PeopleSoft – Part 2  PeopleSoft WorkCenters are another great tool to Improve Efficiency. Last week on our blog we talked about one way to easily improve your efficiency with PeopleSoft – personalized Homepage Dashboards! If you missed last week’s blog – click here to see what you missed. Today, we are going to talk about another way to improve.…

When you would like to discuss these in detail, just let us know and we can arrange for that. These can make a big difference to your users and they do make it look like a different system, by being more intuitive and “user friendly,” but with the technology that you already have in place. You don’t need a new system to do that – you just need to update the one that you already have in place. Feel free to email us at bob.neely@miproconsulting.com or Larry.zagata@miproconsulting.com

PeopleSoft 9.2: Dashboards vs. Workcenters

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Analytics_v2

(Note: Jack Kochie, a MIPRO Senior Principal Consultant, contributed to this post.)

Over the course of a few presentations we’ve watched as well as several discussions we’ve had, we’ve come to notice there is some confusion between Dashboards and WorkCenters in PeopleSoft 9.2. So, we’d like to clarify to make sure these two terms don’t get conflated or swapped. It’s the old adage: if one person has a question about something, rest assured others do too.

So, Dashboards vs. Workcenters.

Dashboards let a user build a customized home page by selecting pagelets from a predefined list.  A pagelet is a query-based display that provide consolidated transaction information (e.g. most ordered items) or to-do lists (e.g. requisitions awaiting sourcing).  The pagelet includes links to transaction components (to the requisitions in the list for example) to assist with navigation.

Workcenters include pagelets but go beyond to provide customized menus, access to a component without changing pages, query results and other PeopleSoft resources.  WorkCenters are configured to allow access to all the pages needed to perform a job without needing to navigate to multiple components using menus.

Oracle itself explains it this way: just think of either of these as a “work area” and depending on what the objective of the work area is, then you can decide on what PeopleTools framework to use – Dashboards or Workcenters. Dashboards allow you to consume content and possibly take action on that content whereas Workcenters are for power users who look at them as where they go to manage their day-to-day tasks.  So Dashboards for a manager can provide specific content on their team and associated actions on the team such as compensation changes, performance, etc.  In contrast, for example, a payroll administrator would have a Workcenter that had their payroll cycle tasks, reports, exceptions, alerts and standard payroll reports.

If you have any further questions about this (and we know there’s some confusion out there), don’t be afraid to drop me a note.

Business Intelligence Requirements Gathering: Ask the Right Questions!

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We have discussed these things before: business intelligence requirements gathering, maintenance management, and even business intelligence for maintenance management. The following example dialog is intended as an easy way to understand how asking the right questions can lead to getting the right answers for your business when it comes to business intelligence requirements gathering. This is a key stage, and that’s where the right information needs to be collected.

For the purpose of this mock discussion, let’s assume the following:

MM Lead:  Leader in the maintenance area who has a requirement to give to the BI team

BI Lead:  Business intelligence leader trying to understand requirements

Example Conversation

MM Lead:  I need a report that tells me how many service requests have not been turned into work orders. That’s all I need, just a report.

BI Lead:  Ok, help me understand a little bit more.  What about this report is important to your business?

MM Lead:  It is an indicator of whether service requests are left open and work possibly being missed.

BI Lead:  Is part of the reason you are asking for this report because you are finding a high number of service requests left open?

MM Lead:  Not a high number, but occasionally I get calls asking about a service request that was entered but no work has started. It takes a lot of my time to investigate.

(more…)

VIDEO: Configuring Dashboards in PeopleSoft

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In our daily discussions, we often get asked about what’s the best way to get the most dashboard functionality out of PeopleSoft. Dashboards make organizations more efficient, allow the right analytics to be displayed in the right place, and help data turn into actionable information. Plus, they’re far more engaging for the end user.

The PeopleTools Dashboard Framework is the answer, and this video says more than our 600+ words would. Take a look.

When KPI Really Means “Keep Profits Increasing” (Hint: It Always Does)

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How’d you like that headline?

Yes, you and I both know KPI is an acronym for Key Performance Indicator but the goal for most organizations is to utilize these valuable metrics to keep profits increasing.  KPIs are the lifeblood for any company; they provide the pulse of the business.  All of the various metrics that people analyze provide valuable information to guide decision making and help chart a company’s path toward realizing their full growth and profitability potential.

They exist for no other reason.

This post by Rob Petersen, called 12 Experts Define Key Performance Indicators, provides a simple overview and four-minute video about KPIs. Petersen states that one of the best definitions he has heard is “KPI’s are an actionable scorecard that keeps your strategy on track. They enable you to manage, control and achieve desired business result.”

This article supports the notion that you do not need a lot of metrics. You need to select them carefully, report and take action.

Steps to consider:

  • Desired Business Result: Begin with a clear understanding of the desired result and be specific – how will you achieve your result? If you are clear about where you are going you can construct KPIs that get you there.
  • Actionable Scorecard: Choose a handful of measurements, generally no more than six or so that you believe are the most important to the achievement of your goal.
  • Keep Your Strategy on Track: You have raw numbers – the data. Use this data to measure your progress against the achievement of your desired result. And choose a comparison period: are you comparing this against last year, last month, last quarter?
  • Dashboards: This data provides graphical representations for your dashboard.

Now is always the perfect time to review your organization’s existing KPIs to determine if they are still relevant and it is the perfect time to create new KPIs if your company has not done so in the past.

Looking Ahead: What to Be Excited About in PeopleTools 8.53

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Being a combination business intelligence and PeopleSoft guy, I am always looking for enhancements to improve the end user experience and capability of embedding business intelligence into the business process. Here are some of the favorite enhancements I am most looking forward to evaluating in PeopleTools 8.53.

Related Actions/Related Content

Enhancement: The Related Actions Framework is a feature originally delivered with PeopleTools 8.52; it presents a mini menu of actions or options that are contextually appropriate to the user’s role and particular data presented on the application screen. PeopleTools 8.53 brings Related Actions to Pivot Grids, allowing users to take actions directly on data displayed in a pivot grid.

Comment: I’m looking forward to understanding what capabilities around “taking actions” directly on the data are introduced. I’m hoping for true ability to take action and navigate to source pages much like drilling URLs allows the end user. Combining this with grid reporting can be of real value.

Work Centers and Dashboards

Enhancement: Operational dashboards are designed to provide vital decision support information based on role. WorkCenters are used to streamline process execution, and they provide easier and faster navigation as well as other information that is needed for the transactions at hand. This release improves the way WorkCenters and Dashboards can be designed and used. Application developers and designers can deploy dashboard-like pagelets within WorkCenters to provide better decision support for WorkCenter transactions. This capability combines some of the features and benefits of Dashboards with WorkCenters. In addition, applications can now consume remote pagelets in WorkCenters, Homepages, and Dashboards.

Comment: This should prove to be a nice enhancement and improve the overall decision-making process by embedding more relevant business intelligence into the work centers. This is similar to what we have been helping our clients with related to homepage dashboards but focused on the workcenter.

Activity Guides

Enhancement: Activity Guides allow application designers to define processes that guide users through a series of predefined actions. Activity Guides are often used for infrequent self-service events, such as benefits enrollment, and also can be used for managing process-specific tasks, such as period-end-close in Financials Management. In 8.53, the Activity Guide enables application developers to define a list of action items tied to transactional, collaborative, or manual tasks. The action item represents a task that can be tracked for assignment and completion, and is secured by roles and user lists. Activity Guides also enable a hierarchical list of action items.

A new Activity Guide WorkCenter template is available for use with building and configuring Activity Guides. This template provides a frame with the navigation controls used to traverse an Activity Guide.

The WorkCenter template also provides the following features:

  • A status bar to indicate the progress of the Activity Guide, and the Active Action item is
    highlighted.

Comment: We have utilized navigation collections to mimick a process but this new functionality will take everything to the next level by assigning tasks and really creating a “guide” for a business transaction. I envision this as project oriented tasks associated with work centers and transactional business oriented duties. Thinking beyond just the use associated with the product, this may be expanded for user training and designing the activities as step by step processes. This could again, really change the end user experience.

  • Ability to do pre-processing and post-processing for an action item.
  • Pre-processing: Perform business logic before transferring the user to the appropriate
    transaction.
  • Post processing: Perform business logic when a save is performed on the transaction
    associated with the action item.
  • Ability to assign an action item to a role or a user.
  • Ability to create dependency rules for action items.

Hopefully, this overview makes you as excited for PeopleTools 8.53 as I am. We are asked constantly about the roadmap for PeopleTools, and this blog post represents the best of our understanding based on public information as well as personal projection and opinion. If you have questions or want to chat to sort this out a bit, I am always available. Drop me an email.

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More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

Counterpoint: Reasons to Like PeopleTools-based Dashboards

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ZD Net contributor Joe McKendrick wrote a great blog about three reasons to hate BI dashboards.  His opinion is certainly one that I share, and many of the blogs I have written here in the past try to focus on how to avoid these pitfalls.  McKendrick’s post can be found here.

Essentially his three reasons are:

  1. Dashboards haven’t gotten much smarter in the last 20 years.
  2. Dashboards don’t prioritize information.
  3. They don’t help individuals take action on the information they receive.

I can’t say I disagree, but I don’t on a wholesale level. I agree that those are prevalent problems with enterprise BI solutions that are used for every data source.  As many of our readers know, MIPRO is focused on everything PeopleSoft, from the application to the toolset.  Our approach to building dashboards within the PeopleSoft product itself addresses and resolves many of the issues McKendrick raises.

Previous blogs (here, here, here and here) outline the thought process around making these dashboards embedded into the business process, prioritizing information and helping individuals take action.  In these examples, the dashboards are made up of dynamic queries that are refreshed every time the user goes to the home page within PeopleSoft. This will happen many, many times throughout the day, which keeps the data fresh and always prioritized.  The dashboards are designed to prioritize the information such as the top five or top 10 or most urgent items as they relate to what is most important from a business user’s perspective.  All of this is controlled by the query and ordering the data based upon defined critical content.  Each dashboard, with drillable URLs, takes the end user straight to the transaction page which is directly linked to the content within the dashboard.

So not only do we have the ability to drill down into data, but it’s not just more data: it’s the actual source of the business information so action can be immediately taken.  These dashboards can not only be on a homepage dashboard, but they can be embedded anywhere within the PeopleSoft application furthering their value by truly embedding them into the business decision process.

McKendrick is right: many BI dashboards aren’t valuable. But if you understand the business problem that’s trying to be solved — along with per-role requirements so users see what they need — you can build some amazing useful tools that literally change a person’s workflow for the better and help a business unit perform far better than it ever has.

A huge factor in whether or not a BI dashboard is effective lives in the requirements gathering, planning and design stage. If this part isn’t done properly, the end result could be quite a bit less than valuable. Garbage in, garbage out.

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More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

Piloting the Power of Business Intelligence

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In several of our previous blogs we have discussed the proper way to build a business intelligence enterprise solution.  Many of you have responded in agreement with much of the content and the steps required to truly unlock the potential of BI.  However, there are a number of readers who have reached out and asked for ways to promote BI within an organization that does not have a deep understanding or appreciation of what business intelligence can do. In other words, those that still view BI as mere reports.

Promoting BI certainly is a challenge if the organization has a lack of appreciation for what business intelligence truly represents.  However, there are still proven methods to promote BI within the organization.  The key way to do this is to find one area of the business that has acute pain, secure an executive sponsor who needs that pain resolved, and pilot the power of business intelligence.  Done correctly, the executive and business unit will become BI evangelists, spreading the word internally and driving the desire for business intelligence organization-wide.

The key to this approach is to deliver results in a very quick fashion.  Contrary to what has been preached previously on the holistic approach to BI, this will require an iterative development process, so you still need to be careful to treat this as a pilot and make sure the pilot does not become the foundation of the organizational BI structure and unknowingly paint yourself into corners that will later result in much rework.

In summary the steps to this approach include:

  • Find pain in the organization.
  • Secure an executive sponsor that requires a solution to that pain.
  • Take an iterative approach to development.  The first delivery may not be perfect, but show speed of response. (Also don’t worry about getting every BI requirement correct the first time.  Let the process develop the requirements. )
  • Demo the solution — perhaps start with a simple dashboard (see our earlier blog on how to build a proper BI dashboard) as this will help displace the myth of BI as a simple report.
  • Tweak the solution based upon feedback.
  • Once tweaked, let the business begin to utilize the BI solution, appreciate it and evangelize. Once it realizes BI truly helps enable more mature decision-making, that’s when buy-in occurs.

Hopefully, done well, there will be an influx of requests for increased business intelligence analytics across the organization.  Once that need is established, you can take the proper steps to build out your enterprise BI program.

Questions about this? I hear them all the time. If you have any, don’t be afraid to reach out.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

 

Oracle Mobile BI

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We have discussed OBIEE and its analytics capabilities in detail in previous blog posts here on Unfiltered.  So it follows that we’d call out that Oracle announced the availability of a new Oracle BI Mobile option, which allows any OBI 11g customer to deploy all their existing dashboards to mobile devices (iPad, iPhone) without any re-programming or manual porting efforts.  In today’s remote-but-connected work environments, the ability to have analytics always available is key.  As we have emphasized in the past, BI is much more than reporting, and having mobile capabilities allows you to make business decisions while traveling and away from the office. We’re not talking second-rate representations of your dashboards and analytics, either — we’re talking about the real thing. In mission critical environments, no longer do you have to wait days to take action if  you’re away from the office.  In many instances hours (let alone days) can be critical, so extending BI analytics to mobile devices can have a very broad positive impact.

Below are links to two short but very good demos on Mobile BI applications. You should check them out.

  1. Here’s an intro to Oracle Mobile BI.
  2. Here’s a brief rundown on Oracle Financial Analytics Application for mobile.

After reviewing the demos, if you have any questions, please let me know. As always, I’m happy to chat.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.