Cedar at the Modern Business Summit

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Cedar will be at Oracle’s Modern Business Summit at the end of April. Come and see us if you want to learn about all things HCM Cloud.

It’s a 3 day event held at the Hotel Pullman in London, just a short 5 minute walk from our Kings Cross office. (We actually have some exciting news about a new office coming, but that’s for another entry.)

Cedar are Gold sponsors of the HCM day (there are also days for Financials and Marketing/Sales), we’ve got an exhibition stand and we will be discussing how our services can help you.

I attended last years’ event at the ExCeL convention centre in the London Docklands. It was really, really busy and there was a lot of great content to take in. This year is only going to be bigger. If you’d like to attend please get in touch and we’ll help you to register.

My Remote Working Setup

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Much the same as you all, I’ve seen the studies regarding how bad sitting at a desk for long periods is for your health – both physical and mental – such as:

For those who’ve followed my blogs for a while, you may recall that I’ve been experimenting with a standing desk (by placing a large, sturdy card box on my desk that’s big enough for laptop, keyboard, mouse etc). It’s worked really well, however it was clearly only a temporary solution so I’ve been slowly accumulating the pieces for my desired setup (it would have been too expensive to do it all at once).

I get to work from home a lot more with Cedar than I did previously which means that I needed to get my home working environment in shape. I used the Christmas break to get everything that I needed in order and set-up.

An awful lot of research has gone into this, so I thought I’d share it in case someone else can benefit.

Multiple Monitors

I use my laptop screen (for email, HipChat) plus 2 larger monitors for documents, applications etc. There are lots of studies that investigate productivity correlation with the number of monitors and it seems that for development tasks the optimum number is 3 (one for coding, one for documentation, one for the final app). I also went for the ‘old fashioned’ 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the newer 16:9 monitors. Wider screens are great for movies but I want these monitors for Word Documents, Application screens etc so appreciate a taller monitor.

I went for 2x IIYAMA 19 inch LED Monitor and 2x £10 monitor arms.

I also picked up an Anker docking station. It’s got the display ports to drive the multiple monitors, plus enough USB ports to drive my keyboard, mouse, headphones, external hard disks and a powered USB port to charge my mobile. A nice bonus is that I need just a single USB3 connection to my laptop (all the other peripherals plug in to the docking station) so when I need to go somewhere with my laptop I only need to unplug the USB cable, the laptop power cable and that’s it.

Other Peripherals

I use a cheap USB external keyboard (if I use anything fancy it messes up my typing when I need to use a regular keyboard on client site). I also use an Evoluent vertical mouse to prevent RSI. It gets a lot of comments if I take it with me to a client, but it looks a lot better than some of the other RSI-reducing mice. I also have a Microsoft LifeChat USB headset at the recommendation of the Wirecutter which gives excellent clarity on our team’s Google Hangouts/Skype calls.

Desk and Chair

After loving standing with my laptop on a cardboard box I decided to bite the bullet and buy a proper, variable height standing desk. I went for one with quite a small sized table top as big ones can be upwards of £1,000, whereas mine was £400. It’s been a real help, because I like to alternate between sitting and standing (during a normal day I’ll probably stand for 70% and sit for 30%).

The only downside that I encountered was that the floor in the room that I have the desk in is quite hard and I found that I’d get ache in my knee joints after a full day of mostly standing. I read that the floor hardness makes a difference, so bought a standing mat and things have been fine since (although it did make the room smell really rubbery for the first 2 weeks).

Finally, I went to a local back shop and tried out all of the kneeling chairs there. By far the best was this one which fits under the desk nicely when I’m standing. I managed to get it off of a wholesaler (in an unfashionable colour) for much less than the published price so was very happy.

The Final Result

Here’s what it all looks like when put together:

Desk

This is how it always looks, I definitely didn’t tidy it for the photo!

The Year 2014 in Review

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Once each year completes I try to do a run down of which posts have garnered the most attention during the last 12 months, both on this blog and on the Fusion Weekly newsletter. Here are the most viewed stories from 2014.

Fusion Weekly Newsletter

Our Fusion newsletter is more than a year newer than our PeopleSoft one and consequently the subscriber base is a lot smaller. Despite this it still more than doubled in size during 2014.

Here are the top 20 articles, as measured by subscriber clicks:

  1. Becoming a Fusion HCM Implementation Specialist
  2. Becoming a Fusion UX Specialist
  3. Fusion HCM Benefits module
  4. Becoming a Fusion HCM Reporting Specialist
  5. SuccessFactors, Workday, and SAP – Answers and More
  6. The pilots of Instagram
  7. Oracle Extends the Power of Modern HR in the Cloud
  8. With Wildly Stretched Valuation, Workday Is No Oracle
  9. Second Turn of the HCM Horse Race
  10. Download the Oracle Applications Cloud UX Strategy e-Book
  11. Floyd’s 14 for 14
  12. What Makes the Best Logos So Good
  13. Disney Parks, Data Science, Drones and Wearables
  14. Get Ready for a New Era of HR
  15. Oracle and the new road to UX – launch of Alta UI
  16. Productivity and Noise
  17. How to Stop Hating Your Oracle Sales Rep
  18. How BG Group binned SAP and passed over Workday to embrace Oracle HCM
  19. Using Error, Warning, and Log Messages in Groovy
  20. Progress Report – Oracle HCM gathers momentum

Fusion Tipster Blog

As a new blog, it’s still finding its feet. Views for the year were 2,679, from 1,665 unique visitors. Not huge, but a tripling of the previous year. The US is the most popular country of origin (38%), however the UK is close behind (27%) followed by India (11%) and Brazil (11%).

Introducing OTBI-E

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Today I was lucky enough to attend a pre-release workshop for OTBI-E (Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence for the Enterprise). The product is currently in controlled release but is going to be generally available very soon.

What is OTBI-E?

OTBI-E fills the gap between OTBI Standard (which is more operational in nature, reporting against the transactional database and for line managers to perform real-time BI) and the full OBIA (which is a fully-fledged data warehouse solution, delivered on-premises).

OTBI-E takes most of the power from the OBIA data warehouse solution and brings it to the cloud, allowing you to perform complex, strategic BI against your HCM and Talent Cloud apps, plus 3rd party apps (PeopleSoft, EBS, Siebel) and other external sources (i.e. public data). As it’s a DW solution you get full access to historical data to perform trend and predictive analysis (something which is apparently quite weak in some competing products).

Show me OTBI-E

There’s a video available here:

Which BI Solution is right for me?

The answer to this depends upon a number of factors, however here’s a quick decision tree to show some of the factors involved:

Decision Tree for Oracle HCM Cloud BI Solutions 1.0

(click for bigger)

Oracle Learning Streams

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Five years ago the only training that we could get was the in-person, classroom kind. The only options were whether you went to a partner or Oracle University, and whether travelled to the trainer’s venue or they came to your office. This type of training had some drawbacks, in that you had to commit to a specific week or set of days – often a long time in advance – and you had to take the training all in one go. In the fast-changing world of project work it was often the case that the training couldn’t be organised at short enough notice, or by the time it came around it was no longer convenient to take the time away from the office.

There is now a solution to this … enter Oracle Learning Streams … Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming a Fusion HCM Implementation Specialist

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In my quest to become a rounded out and properly qualified Fusion / HCM Cloud consultant, I’ve been working my way through the certification exams. So far I’d completed these 7:

The final exam to check off was the Implementation Specialist exam. This was a little different to the others in that it is proctored, i.e. you have to book in to go to a testing centre and all the travel etc that entails.

The exam itself is tougher than the others, and if you fail there is a period of time before you can retake it. Therefore it made sense to make sure that I nailed it first time.

Handily, I’d just come off of the Fusion HCM workshop for partners which gave me a good grounding in the topics and all it took was a couple more nights of study using the materials from the workshop and some sample questions (there’s a 10 question study guide available from Oracle here).

I was very pleased to pass the exam, but it was close as there were some fairly niche questions. The ones that caught me were mostly about security, and not security within the application – which I knew pretty well – but with APM (Authorization Policy Manager) which I was less familiar with) and I had four questions on which business sub-processes are within each product family.

Of course, the questions given are most likely selected from a large bank so others taking the exam may see other questions instead.

Becoming a Fusion HCM Reporting Specialist

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At first reading, the wealth of reporting options available to Fusion customers is a little confusing. How do you know your OBI EE from your OTBI and your BIP from your OBIA? Hopefully this post will clear it up a little. Read the rest of this entry »