Cedar’s Annual Cloud Day – recap

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Cedar’s annual Oracle Day was held earlier this week in London. It had a good mix of content across 4 streams and we had about 80 people in attendance so some sessions were standing room only.

I was particularly pleased as this was our strongest year yet in terms of content and speakers for the Oracle Cloud stream.

Gender Pay & Robots, What Does the Future of HR Look Like?

We started with Andy Campbell’s session. In addition to the topics in the title he also talked about gig workers, diversity, millennials and we all played a game called “How likely is it that a robot will take my job?”

01 - Andy Campbell

If I recall correctly, there’s a 77% chance that bartenders will be out of work when the robot revolution arrives.

Oracle Recruiting Cloud and HR HelpDesk Cloud

Mike Everitt followed up with two sessions, one focusing on the new Oracle Recruiting Cloud that Oracle have released which looks great and is very, very exciting – particularly for mid-size clients initially.

Mike also gave us a thorough demo of the HR Helpdesk Cloud. For those from the PeopleSoft HR world we always had to deploy CRM to get HR Helpdesk, now we can get it without having to set up lots of integration between pillars.

02 - Mike Everitt

Lucy Group: Around the World in 30 Days

Bianca Shephard – the client-side Project Manager for the Lucy Group implementation – gave a really good session on how to implement HCM Cloud and end up with a company full of employees who love the system.

03 - Bianca Shephard

If you want to hear Bianca speak or more about the implementation there’s a 3 minute video here.

Keynote: What’s Now & Next for Oracle HCM Cloud

Excitingly we had two speakers for the HCM Cloud keynote – June Farmer and Sarah Henry.

June appeared via video link to give us a run through of the high-level themes and a bit about where AI fits into the applications (areas where we already have it, and areas that it will be added to). June did a great job, despite it being very early in her time zone and didn’t mind us beaming her face up on the 12 foot wide screen.

04 - June Farmer

June was followed by Sarah who gave us great demo of how the newsfeed UI – that we’re expecting later this year – is going to dramatically improve the experience for our customers and their users. Not only is the homepage very different, but many of the application pages are being redesigned and streamlined too.

05 - Sarah Henry

Sarah did an awesome job demoing across multiple gadgets to show how the UI adapts responsively to different device resolutions.

Summary

So, in summary, a great event with a lot to consider for customers – whether it’s future HR trends, potential new modules, how to make your users fans of the system or how the newsfeed UI will change the game.

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R13 – Get Username Displayed Again

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One of the things that we lost when we moved from R12 to R13 is the username in the top right corner. For end-users in production it doesn’t really matter as they’ll only be logging in as themselves, however during the implementation in Test we frequently log-in as different personas so it’s useful to see who the user is for your current session.

username

The initials we have in R13 offer a clue, but in non-Production pods it’d be nice to be able to see the full username. Luckily, there’s a tiny tweak that you can make to allow this.

Part of the idea came from this ERP Web Tutor video that shared the idea of putting static text in the global region/header bar:

ERPWebTutor

We’re going to take it a step further though, by including dynamic content instead of static text. The steps are as follows:

  1. Create yourself a fresh Sandbox and activate it
  2. From the Settings and Actions menu, select Customize Global Page Template
  3. Click in the centre of the Global Region and add an HTML Markup component (it needs to be HTML, not plain text, so we can style it appropriately)
  4. Click Close to exit, then click Customize Pages
  5. Edit the HTML Markup and use the following in the Value field:
    <p style="font-size: 18px; -webkit-margin-before: 10px; -webkit-margin-after: 0px;">
      <span style="color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);">
        User:&nbsp;
      </span>
      #{webCenterProfile[securityContext.userName].displayName} 
      <span style="color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);">
        &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Pod:&nbsp;
      </span>
      TEST
    </p>
  6. Click Close and test your change.

It should look like this:

final version

Notes:

  1. If your global region has a pale background you’ll need to tweak the colours/transparency so the text appears clearly.
  2. You’ll notice from the above HTML snippet that the username is dynamic and the pod is hard-coded. I’ve not yet found a way of bringing the pod alias in dynamically.
  3. I had to tweak the position of the HTML Markup component once as it was pushing the icons to the right past the edge of the screen. If you’re having problems place it inside the dark blue box in this picture, not the light blue one.

positioning

 

Branding R13 (pre-Newsfeed UI)

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The branding in Release 13 is a touch different from what we had in R12 as we’ve been given a few more options in the Appearance toolkit. Oracle have upgraded Cedar’s partner environment to 18A so we’ve refreshed the look’n’feel. The 18B update later this year brings in the new ‘newsfeed’ responsive UI, but until then let’s see what we can do with the current toolset:

Layout

The first choice is for the overall springboard layout: Panel or Banner?

 

Panel is the layout we used to use in R12 (on the left, above), and we get a new option of the Banner layout in R13 (on the right). If we use the Banner layout we also get to choose what appears in the horizontal banner: Social, Announcements or nothing (hide the banner altogether). We like using the Announcements as it gives the most control over the contents.

Colours

Now you can move on to the colour scheme. There’ll likely be a mandatory corporate brand that you have to follow here so there probably isn’t much choice for Prod. We strongly recommend going for a markedly different colour in each environment however, so it’s easy to quickly distinguish them.

We also use a background watermark with the word ‘Testing’ on it to help further in that respect. More on that here.

Other Options

Finally, there a host of other options such as icon size, shape and colour. You can also alter the appearance of some of the pages and buttons. As a final touch you’ll want to replace the Oracle logo in the top left (we’ve found that 134×25 pixels works best) and you’re good to go.

You can create a number of styles really quite quickly:

Branding 1.png

Branding 2

Oracle Recruiting Cloud Workshop

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This week I was fortunate enough to attend a 3-day workshop on the new Oracle Recruiting Cloud module.

It was my first proper look at the module and I was curious to see what Oracle have done, as there has been a lot of negative publicity about Workday’s new recruitment module (here and here). My first impression is that Oracle have done a really good job. It doesn’t do everything that Taleo Enterprise does yet, but most of the core functionality is there. Oracle have shared the road-map and many of the missing pieces are coming before the end of the year.

I’ll post a full review next week, but here are a couple of screenshots to show why I’m so excited:

Recruiting 1

Recruiting 2.png

Oracle MBX 2018 recap

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Last week I attended Oracle’s MBX (Modern Business Experience) conference held near the O2 in London. Here’s what I learnt:

General

It was busy. Really busy. I’ve also been to the MBX in each of the last 3 or 4 years and this was – by far – the biggest event. I think it even took the organisers by surprise how many people were there as the registration was super-lengthy and there weren’t many lunches left. Busy conferences can only be a good sign.

Thomas Kurian Keynote

Thomas Kurian shared some big customer success stories in his keynote:

ERP:

  • PWC are running globally on a single ERP Cloud instance
  • Dropbox put 5 million AR transactions a day into ERP Cloud
  • Orange are running globally on a single ERP Cloud instance

HCM:

  • Sainsbury’s have 160,000 employees live, and now rolling out payroll
  • Macy’s are live with Payroll for 180,000 payees
  • Engie are live with core plus Learning, Performance, Rewards for 150,000 employees

He also shared this very crammed logo slide:

2018-04-18 09.50.23

Ray Wang Keynote

I’ve followed Ray on Twitter for a long time and I was looking forward to seeing him speak for the first time. It was a real exercise in concentration. Not only does he never stop moving, energetically pacing from one extreme of the stage to the other:

2018-04-18 10.38.37-2

but he speaks so quickly, and shares his ideas so fast that it’s hard to keep up. You don’t get time for the first nugget of info to sink in before he’s half way through the next one.

Great fun though!

Gretchen Alarcon HCM Keynote

I always enjoy listening to Gretchen speak as she always manages to anchor whatever functionality she’s discussing with real-life use cases.

2018-04-18 12.11.11

Gretchen shared that chatbots are coming to HCM later this year. Recruitment first – which we’d previously heard – but also to Core HR. She also explained that although HCM Cloud has had predictive algorithms for many years these will be on the increase with the next uses being succession planning and spotting anomalies in employee expenses, pay, timesheets etc.

She also said that the $6Bn+ a year that Oracle spends on R&D means that they have 40,000 developers. That’s a staggering amount of people.

HCM Panel Session

Finally, I attended an HCM Cloud panel session. Andy Campbell hosted a chat with Sainsbury’s, Morgan Stanley and Co-op about their successful HCM Cloud rollouts.

2018-04-18 15.07.51

Screenshots and more

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One of my pet peeves is a sloppy screenshot. I shudder if I’m sent a screenshot in a professional document that’s blurry, too zoomed out or stretched out of ratio. I cringe if I see a presentation with a screenshot that includes a stack of irrelevant extra info – it’s not necessary to include your Amazon shopping browser tabs or to advertise how many unread Yahoo emails you have.

As a result, I like a good screenshotting tool – one that allows you to accurately pick your screenshot regions. For years I’ve flitted, most recently with Greenshot, however, I’ve found a new favourite – ShareX. It’s open source, so free to use, and although it shares some of the same code as Greenshot it improves on it in a number of ways.

It has two features that I’ve found hugely useful – scrolling capture and OCR.

Scrolling Capture

Scrolling Capture is useful in web pages that are taller than your screen window. Previously I’d have to take multiple screenshots then stitch them together. Messy. ShareX does the scrolling and stitching for you.

OCR

OCR is reading text from an image. Retyping is time-consuming so this saves wasted effort, scanning through the image for words on your behalf and giving you the results as text.

Immediate Practical HCM Cloud Use-Case

Earlier today I had to produce a document showing the processes that we have scheduled. The grid in the Scheduled Processes page was about 3x screen heights high and there is no download to Excel/detach button. I was faced with either scrolling up and down and retyping the process names or having to find the back-end table, and neither would be particularly quick.

Enter ShareX. I activated it, clicked ‘scrolling capture’, clicked on the Scheduled Processes grid and away it went. It gave me a single image with the entire grid in. Then I activated ShareX again and clicked OCR, pointed it at the image and it gave me a table containing the text. Exactly what I needed in less than 60 seconds.

Tweaking the Manager Resources Dashboard

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The Manager Resources Dashboard is being replaced in Release 13, but until we get the upgrade we still need to use the current version. Most of the content can be replaced with better OTBI output, however, Worker Availability is not able to be easily superceded.

So, for our client, they have this on its own on a Dashboard.

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 1

Straight away you’ll be able to see the problem. Anyone with more than four direct reports will see a scrollbar and will need to move up and down to get a view of their team’s whereabouts.

As this was the only item on the dashboard the client asked if it could be made a bit taller so more team members could fit in the centre window at the same time.

It took a fair amount of CSS digging, but it is possible. We added a piece of HTML markup within a sandbox and used it to inject a style into the page that specified a larger height value:

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 2

Purists among you will be tutting at my use of the “!important” directive as it prevents the cascade of style classes, however in this case the height was expressly set in the HTML as an element style so this was the only way of overriding it.

The result of this small override is a much better user experience:

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 3

All the team on one page and no scroll bars.