A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

HRMS & Payroll

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Strategic Enterprise Planning Solution (STEPS) at the University of Alabama

This post contains a review of the the Strategic Enterprise Planning Solution (STEPS) site which documents an Oracle ERP implementation undertaken at the University of Alabama.

I was rather pleased to stumble across the Strategic Planning and Enterprise Solutions (STEPS) site at the University of Alabama (UAB) the other day. It has loads of documentation and information pertaining to an implementation they are undergoing in the areas of Oracle Financials and Human Resource Management System (HRMS).

According to their site: -

UAB’s vision for a new administrative computing system at UAB has reached a major milestone with the implementation of Oracle Human Resources (HR) applications on January 20, 2004. The Finance implementation has been delayed to October 2004. By exploring these pages, you will gain knowledge about the STEPS Project and the new Oracle system.

Oracle HR

According to this section of the site: -

A suite of Oracle HR modules are being implemented for the management of all UAB personnel. The advantage of the new system is the creation of an integrated information environment, and improvement in the quality of human resources data, thereby providing better HR services to individuals.

Data currently viewed in the Human Resource System (HURS) will be found using the ACT form (screen) in Oracle. Several paper processes will be replaced with new electronic processes, such as new hire appointments, salary reclassifications, and effort reporting.

Specific features of the new system include a web-based self-service environment for all employees and an electronic administrative processing environment for staff to conduct day-to-day business. Also, seven-digit employee numbers will replace social security numbers as a means of identifying UAB employees.

HR modules to be implemented as part of the STEPS project are:

  • Core Human Resources Management
  • Advanced Benefits
  • Payroll and Time and Labor
  • Labor Distribution and Effort Reporting

This area of the site also discusses self service and you can download a copy of the new HR Organizational Hierarchy codes.

Oracle Finance

According to this section of the site: -

UAB is preparing to replace its existing financial accounting system (EFS) with the Oracle Financials suite of applications to create an integrated information environment that is web based and flexible to handle future growth. With the implementation of the Oracle system, UAB will have a new Oracle General Ledger accounting structure and a new Oracle Grants accounting structure.

Data currently viewed in FAS will be found in Oracle and transactions currently processed using EFS will be processed using Oracle. What are currently called “account numbers” in FAS will be referred to as “account strings” in Oracle and the format of these account strings differs from the current account numbers. Prior to implementation, a “cross-walk table” will be provided matching FAS account numbers to Oracle account strings where possible. Also, the object codes will change from a four-digit to a seven-digit number. The new Oracle object codes can be viewed from this site.

Finance modules to implemented as part of the STEPS project are:

  • General Ledger
  • Purchasing
  • Accounts Payable
  • Grants/Plant Accounting
  • Accounts Receivable (for Sponsored Projects only)

This section of the site has a variety of documents and presentations you can download that relate to the new Oracle General Ledger accounting structure and Oracle Grants accounting structure. Briefly stated, the new chart of accounts will contain six segments as follows: -

  • Account - Identifies primary activity for which money is being spent (7 digits) 
  • SubAccount - An account can be broken down to track one or more activities, tasks, time periods, or allocations (3 digits)
  • Balancing - Indicates the level at which UAB chooses to carry a balance sheet, whether for internal or external purposes (9 digits)
  • Organization - Identifies the organizational unit with which has primary fiscal responsibility for the Account String (9 digits)
  • Future - Reserved to meet future requirements (4 digits)
  • Object Code - Categorizes the nature of the dollars as a specific type of revenue, expense, asset, etc. (7 digits)

The new Grants Accounting segment structure is as follows: -

  • Project – The work performed (6 digits)
  • Task – Further breakdown of work performed under project (5 digits)
  • Award – Funding source (7 digits)
  • Organization – Type of string, and University vs Hospital (2 digits)
  • Expenditure Type – Similar to GL Object Code (7 numeric digits plus description - 30 maximum segment length)

Oracle Training

Under this section of the site you will find course descriptions, online course manuals and online simulation courses (training videos). Online course manuals are available for the following modules: -

  • Finance
  • Navigation
  • ACT (Appoint, Change and Terminate)
  • TEL(Time, Entry and Labour)
  • Self Service

The online simulations are quite good for those who are just starting to earn Oracle Applications. The following simulations are available: -

  • Oracle Navigation
  • Human Resources
    • Appoint, Change, Terminate (ACT)
    • Workflow Approvals
    • View HR Data
  • TEL (Time, Entry and Labour)
  • Self Service

End User Readiness

Here you will find the specifications for a Desktop PC which needs to run Oracle Applications. There is also a Go-Live Checklist which is designed to ensure that users are prepared for utilising Oracle Applications.

Oracle Access

Here you will find a listing of End User responsibilities for Oracle HRMS at the University. For each responsibility a summary of access areas is documented. If a user does not have access to the system the appropriate forms are made available to apply for access.

Oracle Workflow

Here you will find a workflow presentation given at a STEPS workflow officer meeting.

Lastly, you should also consider visiting the Universities IT department.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Oracle HRMS localizations

I’m often asked which localizations exist for Oracle HRMS. This is not an easy one since it depends on who owns and supports the legislation. Owners can be:

  • Oracle development
  • Oracle consultancy (in the country of the legislation)
  • a third party

This list summarizes the legislations owned by Oracle core development, the so called Tier 1 localizations. The legislations marked with (new) are new since HRMS family pack H. The countries marked with (soon) are in the pipeline. The latest three only have HR legislation, all others have also a payroll localization.

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. France
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Hungary (new)
  7. India (new)
  8. Ireland
  9. Japan
  10. Korea, Republic of
  11. Kuwait (soon)
  12. Mexico
  13. Netherlands
  14. New Zealand
  15. Poland (soon)
  16. Saudi Arabia
  17. Singapore
  18. South Africa
  19. Spain (new)
  20. United Kingdom
  21. United States
  22. Belgium (HR only)
  23. Germany (HR only)
  24. Italy (HR only)

If there is legislation for your country not mentioned in the list above, please let me know and I will include it.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Fndload is not a command line tool

Fndload is a tool used at patch-upgrade time to migrate data from the Oracle reference instance to your installation. Via fndload seeded responsibilities, menus, profile options and many many more are delivered.

Fndload can also be used at your project by dba’s or technical consultants to migrate-script the setup from one instance to an other. Those people will tell you that fndload requires a first set of mandatory parameters (apps/apps 0 Y) and then some object specific parameters.

But you do not need the unix prompt to use fndload. Make it a functional tool by creating a concurrent program that points to the seeded fndload executable.

Seeded examples you can explore in the instance you’re on now are:

  • Download HRMS Taskflows
  • Forms Configurator - Upload Template
  • Plan Design Copy - Import (Benefit plans)

Forget about the first set of parameters. The concurrent manager handles these for you. The only parameters you have to create and validate and restrict are the functional ones. In the examples above you can see how Oracle implemented it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

An API for Element types

A new set of Oracle HRMS API’s has been published since HRMS Family Pack E which includes an API for element types and input values.

One of the consequences is that there is now a supported way to migrate the element types from a development environment to the production instance, aside from manually rekeying the elements.

I recently used the update procedure of the element type api to link a high number of element types to an event group for retronotification.

The names of the api’s involved are Pay_element_types_api and Pay_input_value_api.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

HR professionals within the line manager appraisal cycle

The line management appraisal functionality through self service focuses nicely on the interaction between the employee and line manager. But, in case of discussions between the employee and the line over those appraisals, targets and objectives, it would be nice that HR professionals can intermediate, and for that, at least have insight in the published material.

This can be accomplished through a sequence of standard setup: -

  1. Create a security profile that enables access to all employees, but excludes the HR professionals. This overcomes a situation where HR staff can see the appraisals of their direct peers.
  2. Create a new responsibility, based on the Line Manager Self Service responsibility, that includes the manager appraisal function.
  3. Set the profile option HR_DISPLAY_PERSON_SEARCH to Yes for the responsibility above, and link it to the security profile.

All users that have access to this new responsibility are now able to search for all employees, except the HR professionals, and to view the published appraisals.


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