Categories:

ERP User Experience: Managing Back Office in a Mobile World (Part One – The Challenges)

We live in a connected economy.  We live in a connected world.

We want our games, our movies and our friendships to be accessible on our phones and tablets.  Why wouldn’t we also want to be able to manage our work life on those mobile devices as well?

Answer: we do.

Most modern applications are designed from the ground up with mobile support in mind.  For these applications, security is designed around the idea that identity is the new perimeter (check out our Security blog entries for more about that). 

And, to meet today’s consumer expectations, modern applications invest a lot of dollars in the development of mobile-friendly user interfaces that utilize modern technologies, such as HTML 5 and other responsive technologies that provide a smooth and efficient user experience.

But, what about legacy applications? What about ERP systems released in the 90’s? 

These applications were usually designed to be accessed only from within the network, and typically only by a select few users using tailored client applications running on the desktop.

Those legacy systems are still being used by many companies to handle critical operations including human capital management, financials and supply chain. 

How can these applications meet the demands of the new connected world, where managing my work life via mobile is just as important as managing my personal life?

Before we talk about solutions, let’s talk about some of the usability challenges of exposing those applications to a mobile world.

Mobile Devices

Smartphones, tablets and all of the other evolving mobile device footprints vary in their features and specifications. And typically, their capabilities fall well short of the routine desktop computer sitting in your office or home.

How?

  • Drastically reduced screen size
  • Limited power and processing capabilities
  • Challenging data entry methods (virtual keyboard, etc)
  • Range of operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, etc)
  • Lack of standard security models

Mobile Connectivity

Desktop computers typically rely on wired connections to a network. Those connections have historically been stable and reliable.

Mobile connectivity is far more more dicey and depends on local conditions that dictate reliability, bandwidth and consistency.

We’ve all had a game of Candy Crush crash because we moved into a cellular dead zone – haven’t we?

Don’t judge me.

And, like the phone games we love to engage in, ERP systems also typically rely on long-lived sessions and multi-step transactions that depend on stable connectivity and session persistence.

The End User

Historically, applications had been designed around technology-oriented interfaces. We get back to the old model of legacy applications being implemented for selected users via a dedicated user interface that maximized the user’s ability to get their job done.

Modern applications, with mobility in mind, take a user-oriented approach to interface development. When you push connectivity out to the mobile world, you need to be able to support end users with different levels of skills (self-service, admins, etc).

How do you provide a user experience that supports retirees, many that may have accessibility challenges, trying to access benefits information via a phone? How do you support students that want quick and easy access to course scheduling and performance reports? How do you provide a mobile user experience that allows managers and administrators to access application functionality required to perform back office tasks?

More to come on this topic. 

After all, challenges breed solutions.

In the meantime, please reach out to info@appsian.com (or just click on our little onsite chat helper that tends to hang out at the bottom right) to get more info on how Appsian can help bring ERP into the connected world.

Accessibility, UX/Mobile/Responsive
April 3, 2019
2 mins read
Scott Hirni By Scott Hirni
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PeopleSoft RECONNECT 19 Recap: Fluid Remains the HOTTEST Topic

As the premier deep-dive PeopleSoft-focused event of the year, PeopleSoft Reconnect (presented by Quest Oracle User Group) has always touted itself as “created for PeopleSoft users… by PeopleSoft users.” This year’s conference (held in Rosemont, Illinois) did not disappoint.

Appsian was proud to be a conference sponsor, along with provide content, as our PeopleSoft User Experience experts presented sessions on improving PeopleSoft Security and Creating a Modern User Experience Across all PeopleSoft versions. The sessions were hugely successful, with an estimated 75% of conference attendance. During the session, many of the questions pertained to security concerns and the meeting of user experience expectations, as organizations continue to upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.2 and adopt Fluid UI – all in service to staying on Oracle support and maximizing their current ERP investment.

According to Scott Hirni, Director of User Experience Strategy and Solutions at Appsian (who has previously worked with PeopleSoft for 18+ years), “Fluid adoption and on-going enablement was among the top concerns for attendees.” While Fluid adoption is a top project in the PeopleSoft community, it was clear that not all PeopleSoft customers are able to leverage Fluid to its full potential.

Here are a few observations:

  • 75% of organizations we spoke to at RECONNECT haven’t attempted to roll out Fluid – despite being on version 9.2
  • 25% have started, but have required ongoing guidance
  • Most attendees expressed that they were in the process of identifying the key business drivers for implementing Fluid
  • Many questions arose about what to do with existing customizations while implementing Fluid

Inspired by Scott’s presentation at RECONNECT 19, here’s a quick look at the roadmap for customers looking to roll out Fluid.

  • Identify business drivers i.e. key functional areas that need optimization and would benefit from a Fluid implementation project
  • Review the list of already delivered Fluid screens and Classic retirement dates to prioritize rollout accordingly
  • Assess the version perquisites of to handle your existing PeopleSoft customizations
  • Prepare for UX changes and user adoption challenges that come with the new UI

The bottom line is, Appsian absolutely recommends upgrading to 9.2 and adopting Fluid as the best way to fully leverage your PeopleSoft investment. Staying current with Oracle maintenance and embracing the many advantages that come with a 9.2/Fluid adoption are critical, but we certainly understand that large-scale projects come with uncertainty and questions. With that in mind, Appsian has developed a strategic UX transformation plan that helps PeopleSoft customers analyze their business needs and assess how Fluid UI can help achieve their efficiency goals.

Not sure where to start? Leverage Appsian’s FREE PeopleSoft Fluid Assessment that includes:

· Complementary Onsite Workshop

· Strategic Analysis/Transaction/Use Case Mapping

· Fluid Rollout Plan

· Business/Institutional Alignment

To claim your FREE Fluid assessment you can also write to us at info@appsian.com

Tips and Techniques, UX/Mobile/Responsive
August 2, 2019
2 mins read
Scott Lavery By Scott Lavery
Categories:

Appsian Customer, Hackensack Meridian Health, Honored as PeopleSoft Innovator at Oracle OpenWorld

This week, Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), a New Jersey-based not-for-profit health care organization (and Appsian customer) was identified as a PeopleSoft Innovator for their use of PeopleSoft Fluid UI for HCM Employee Self Service; including the successful native implementation of Appsian’s two-factor authentication solution. With an initiative to make PeopleSoft available to their 33,000 users via the open internet, HMH began an adoption of Fluid for HCM in early 2018. A “mission critical” objective to this project was pairing Fluid with a solution that provided secure access, while also limiting the amount of clicks and passwords required for users to access PeopleSoft. HMH turned to Duo as the selected two-factor authentication platform, but still required a solution that natively integrated into PeopleSoft to extend Duo’s functionality. Appsian’s PeopleSoft Application Security Platform was evaluated and quickly selected as the right solution to ensure HMH’s project to make PeopleSoft available to the open internet (via Fluid) was successful. As an Innovator, Hackensack Meridian Health has been included in the new PeopleSoft Innovators section on www.peoplesoftinfo.com and was announced as an Innovator during the 2018 Oracle OpenWorld conference. To learn more about Appsian’s solutions for PeopleSoft security, please email us at info@appsian.com or your can simply Request a Demo
Security, UX/Mobile/Responsive
October 24, 2018
< 1 mins read
Scott Lavery By Scott Lavery
Categories:

Ensure a successful Fluid Enablement project with PeopleUX

With the support for PeopleSoft 9.1 ending earlier this year (Jan 2018), most PeopleSoft customers are busy upgrading to PeopleSoft 9.2. As you upgrade to v9.2, Fluid becomes the inevitable frontline UI of your PeopleSoft applications. Consequently, upgrading to Fluid is a significant investment in terms of time, effort, and skilled resources. We at GreyHeller feel that the operational disruption and added investment that come with these upgrades are an extremely worthwhile endeavor for your journey toward a modern UI for PeopleSoft HCM, CRM, Financials, SCM and more. That being said, if productivity and engagement are the benchmarks for success with a UX/UI project, shouldn’t you do everything in your power to ensure your upgrade is fully enabled? It should be acknowledged that a lack of certain best practices can prevent you from achieving your end goal of delivering the user experience you intended – and your users have come to expect from modern applications. Here are some tips to identify indicators that can potentially have a negative impact on your efforts of achieving a flawless adoption of PeopleSoft Fluid UI: Fluid is the future – get with it! Before we get into the details of ensuring a successful Fluid enablement project, let’s address the most crucial question first – Why is making the transition from Classic to Fluid important – and why now? The answer lies in Oracle’s announcement of the traditional Classic UI being on a retirement schedule. Oracle’s support doc ID 2238983.2 illustrates the timeline for pages that will be “desupported” at the end of each year. Since, Fluid is going to be the frontier of all PeopleSoft applications upgraded to 9.2, adopting Fluid has become a necessity for organizations to stay current with PeopleSoft. Inconsistency can prove to be the death of a positive UX A Fluid adoption should be a project centered around your end-users. Whether you are in the middle of a Fluid adoption or haven’t embarked upon it yet, it is important to consider the specific business needs of your users carefully (i.e., how are you intending them to work and on what mobile devices.) With the end goal of a Fluid upgrade being PeopleSoft applications that are readily available on mobile devices and with a streamlined user experience – it is ultimately user engagement that will prove to be the defining benchmark for success. However, the selective roll-out schedule of Fluid pages can potentially create an inconsistent UX in the interim, as users are likely to encounter existing Classic pages throughout a workflow. The result being (despite your best intentions) a UX that fails to deliver a 100% consistent experience. After all, inconsistency can prove to be the death of a positive UX. Fluid requires new development skills Fluid UI uses the same architectural foundation as the Classic layout. However, building design components in Fluid requires extra development work, meaning the required acquisition of skills such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. To ensure optimum preparedness for your Fluid enablement project, you need to have developers who are well versed in PeopleTools along with these additional skills. To fulfill project requirements, you can choose to invest your time and money in training existing team members or (like most organizations) you can hire new resources. However, the time spent in acquiring skilled resources can slow down the progress of your Fluid enablement project. Consider the diversity and abundance of mobile devices. A myriad of mobile devices are released every year, all with different screen sizes and resolutions. To compliment all the available device variables, your UI needs to be responsive. A truly responsive UI is the most critical parameter in mobilizing an application, thus allowing it to fit perfectly on any form factor. Fluid is an adaptive UI which means that it was designed to fit a predetermined set of form factors, i.e., small, medium, large and extra-large. Since there’s an abundance of mobile devices available on the market, and each one of them comes with different display standards, the pre-set form factors might not display content cleanly on every available screen. How you can make Fluid UI exceptional with PeopleUX PeopleUX by GreyHeller delivers a fully responsive and consistent user experience regardless of your current version of PeopleSoft. No matter what your upgrade status or your underlying UI (Classic/Classic Plus or Fluid), PeopleUX re-renders the existing HTML without impacting the original PeopleCode – creating a user experience that is visually engaging and uniform throughout the application. PeopleUX optimizes workflows with usability and intuition in mind, allowing users to execute transactions quickly and efficiently without requiring any additional training or technical support.   A seamless and consistent user-experience allows users to be more productive no matter where they work or what device they use. The best part – PeopleUX can be implemented in a short span of time (60-90 days*) without any operational disruption or intermittent consistency. Lastly, PeopleUX saves you time and boosts Fluid adoption project ROI by eliminating the need to hire or train developers! Interested to know more about making the Fluid experience truly exceptional? Request a free demo to speak to a PeopleSoft user experience specialist today, or write to us at info@devappsian.wpengine.com As a BONUS opportunity – join us on Wednesday July 18th for our latest webinar where you can see for yourself how you can ensure a successful Fluid adoption – Register Today!
Categories:

Leveraging Technology for Improving Student Outcomes: Three Recommendations

Few would deny there is a correlation between engagement level and academic outcome when it comes of today’s college student. There have never been more opportunities for a campus to leverage its existing technology to ensure a student is fully engaged with the resources at their disposal – and this is largely attributed to the maturing of various communication channels (mobile, social media, etc.) Used effectively and in the right context, technology can prove to be a very effective tool for digitally connecting a student with their campus. In addition, technology can prove to be an effective tool for administrators to maintain staff efficiency, improve key performance metrics, and build a strong brand within the academic community. Here are three strategies institutions can use to leverage their existing technology to improve student outcomes by positively impacting student engagement.

Creating a welcoming environment

It is important to realize that new students are stepping into a whole new world. Your campus is filled with new places to see, new people to meet, and a myriad of new administrative workflows to execute. With this in mind, many campuses have adopted a mobile app to put all their campus resources together for students. After all, if you want a student to be informed and engaged, leveraging mobile app technology is the most effective way to provide students with essential “need to know” information. In addition, a branded mobile app provides a heightened sense of community which encourages school spirit and enthusiasm with campus events. One of the best examples of a successful campus mobile app project would be GreyHeller (PeopleMobile) customer CSU Fullerton – who decided that the best way to increase student engagement was to mature their campus’ digital footprint.  Here’s how CSU Fullerton brings information to their students’ fingertips!

Communicate with students via high engagement channels

In an era dominated by texting, push notifications, and instant messaging – email is losing its crown as the undisputed “king of campus communication.” Generic emails meant for broad consumption and lack a of personalization are some of the reasons students overlook emails and end up missing out on critical information. With messages coming at students from a variety of channels, their attention will always remain on what is most relevant and what they deem is the highest priority (and yes, getting a text from a friend can be a seen as a higher priority than checking their email.) Campus administrators should consider high engagement channels like SMS and Push notification and integrate them into their communication strategies to capture students’ attention. The strategy being to meet students where they are (on mobile devices), rather than hope they come to you. (ex. voluntarily check their email.) Campuses leveraging PeopleSoft Campus Solutions can adopt technologies like Messaging Center by GreyHeller which allows administrators to send intelligent messages via push notification, SMS, and email. Whether its urging a student to pay a fee, resolve a hold, or meet with their academic advisor – providing a student with context, details, and utilizing high engagement mobile channels is a guaranteed method for improving student response and action.

Enable students to be independent

Enabling students to drive their academic journey nurtures a sense of ownership of their outcome. If a student understands how to execute the critical tasks required to keep them in strong academic standing, the likelihood that administrative hurdles that will case detrimental effects (fees, holds, missed appointments, being short on credits, etc.) is greatly reduced. In addition, an independent student is not relying on administrative staff and in-person appointment/support requests in order to execute routine workflows. Efficient staffing is a priority of every organization – and optimizing self-service capabilities has direct effects on ensuring your organization is efficient and strategically effective. Applications like PeopleSoft Campus Solutions offer limited functionality on mobile devices and limited flexibility for customizing student workflows. If you have identified an issue with a step in a self-service workflow that students find confusing, then a solution like PeopleUX by GreyHeller would be needed in order to fully customize the UX/UI of Campus Solutions to meet your needs. PeopleUX is a lightweight enhancement that can be implemented in only a few months and can ensure you’re maximizing your PeopleSoft investment. These enhancements are directly in-service to providing your students with workflows that are intuitive, easy to execute, and enable them to take true ownership of their academic success.

Summary

No matter how you execute your engagement strategies, we encourage you to leverage the technology at your disposal to get maximum benefit. The expectations of today’s students are aligned with mobile technology that is optimized and intuitive. Deviating from those expectations can have detrimental effects for both students and your campus’ key performance metrics such as student graduation and retention rates. We encourage you to explore if GreyHeller can help be a part of your engagement strategies – email us at info@devappsian.wpengine.com or Request a Demo to learn more about our solutions designed to enhance PeopleSoft Campus Solutions.
UX/Mobile/Responsive
March 21, 2018
3 mins read
Scott Lavery By Scott Lavery
Categories:

What “The Social Network” Taught Us About Student Engagement

If you’ve taken a walk around a college campus lately, you’d notice a common denominator… mobile devices have the attention of your student population. Whether they are head-down texting, scrolling through various apps, or plugged into streaming media – it is evident that the central communication hub of today’s college student is their mobile phone. Head over to a campus quad and you’ll realize that the common sound you hear is no longer the “chime” of a booting computer – but the “ding” of an incoming push notification. And no matter what a student is doing, that “ding” always elicits an immediate response – making the push notification the undisputed king of digital engagement.

We can all learn from “The Social Network”

 Yes, that’s the one – the 2010 movie depicting the early days of Facebook. In one of the opening scenes (taking place in the Fall of 2003), Mark Zuckerburg and his roommates crash the Harvard network because access to their website FaceMash.com generated overwhelming traffic.  This traffic was generated from emailing the FaceMash URL to a few other students. Those students forwarded the same email to more students and before they knew it – the compounding effect of forwarding an email around campus had more students accessing the URL then the network had capacity for. This would never happen today – why? The entire sequence is predicated on a campus full of students being so engaged with their university email that a single message could spread like wildfire. Since incoming message alerts (ex. push notifications) didn’t exist outside of email applications – a campus being fully engaged with a message required students sitting around their dorm (or a computer lab) , permanently glued to their university email. In the age of mobile devices and an endless supply of apps – today, there would be 1,000 other things for students to be focused on. Safe to say, university email wouldn’t be one of them. However, administrators today assume otherwise. They still believe the most effective and efficient way to get a message in front of their students is via email.

Important emails from University Administrators and Advisers are falling on deaf ears

In a 2016 survey at Bowling Green University – “39% of students surveyed, said they don’t always read emails from academic advisers, and 54% of students said the same about emails from the university or from academic departments.” These are emails related to a student’s academic standing, class enrollment status, financial aid, campus resources, and much more. All falling on deaf ears to an alarming 54% of students. 

PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Lacks a Mobile-Responsive User Interface

In a world run primarily using mobile-optimized workflows (ex. apps, mobile versions of websites), a student’s expectation for how an online technology should look is inherently  predisposed. Gone are the days of traditional computers being a primary communication device – so if a student does open their email and follows a link into PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, the reality of what they will find does not live up to their expectations. Given Campus Solution’s lack of a mobile responsive UI, the likelihood that a student will abandon their workflow increases dramatically. So if a campus administrator’s goal for communicating with a student is to have them complete a certain workflow – then an email directing to a page that is not optimized for mobile has an extremely low probability of serving its core purpose. If engagement is the goal, then the strategy needs to change.

What can Campus Administrators do? 

Administrators in Academic Registrar and Chancellor offices, along with various academic departments all have graduation rates as their beacon of success. As these same administrators would agree – a student’s success hinges on their engagement with campus communications. Not just understanding what academic resources are at their disposal, but being fully engaged with their financial aid information so they can be assured that they have the means to continue with their education. Ineffective communications to students directly obstruct these goals. Given an effective communication strategy has been identified (ex. push notifications, mobile-optimized UI, apps) – if a campus is truely looking to positively impact their graduation rates then they must adopt the communication methods preferred by their student body.

PeopleMobile/PeopleUX and Messaging Center by GreyHeller 

Understanding that communications and workflows need to be optimized for today’s students – PeopleUX and Messaging Center deliver an optimal communication channel between campus administrators and students. Messaging Center allows university officials to send out important notifications like academic calendar reminders, hold notifications, task progress, and milestones in the form of push notifications sent directly to a student’s smartphone. This strategy has proven successful for helping at-risk students be better engaged with their advisors – who can effectively provide grade warnings, drop counts, low attendance warnings etc. Given the push notification is the undisputed king of digital engagement – utilizing this method is far and away the most effective way of performing crucial outreach to those who need it the most.                                                          . .                                                          Once your message has been received by students, PeopleMobile/PeopleUX takes over by plugging into your existing Campus Solutions applications, rendering the HTML and deploying a mobile-responsive UI that is intuitive and customized to the workflow you are trying to get your student engaged with. An optimized workflow has dramatic effects on completion rates as user abandonment due to confusion or feeling the workflow will take up too much time is greatly reduced. 

                                                                         

 Lastly, engaged users who are confidently performing workflows are not making calls to support looking for assistance. This decrease in calls or in-person appointments allows departments to limit extra staff or allow their existing staff to be working on more strategic initiatives. Both have significant effects on the bottom line and overall working culture within your department.

See what combining PeopleUX and Messaging Center can do to revolutionize how you communicate with your students! If you want to learn more today, we encourage you to Request a Demonstration and a solutions representative will be in touch.
UX/Mobile/Responsive
February 8, 2018
5 mins read
Scott Lavery By Scott Lavery
Categories:

Adopting Cloud: Fact or Myth – “Hybrid as a Best Practice”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

Do you want to get the most from your ERP? Then you must move to the cloud. Your bottom line will appreciate it, your users will appreciate it, and your IT security team will appreciate it.” Sounds like a pretty good deal, right?

In our upcoming blog series, we examine some of the most popular cloud adoption myths. By myths, we mean that there is a flipside to every story – and the cloud is no exception.

It’s important to note that we are not “anti-cloud.” Cloud HR functions serve an important purpose, and while there are undoubtedly benefits to moving some functions to the cloud –  it’s important to not get too caught up in the hype.  So, before you undergo a traumatic “rip and replace” of your core ERP and trade it in for that shiny cloud product – we invite you to stop and take a quick breath.

Hybrid as a Best Practice

From Gartner in their 2016 report, “…the extreme of having nothing cloud-based will largely disappear with Hybrid being the most common usage of the cloud.” As organizations determine specific business cases that are best served by a cloud solution, the corporate “no cloud” policy will become increasingly obsolete. This approach is fully supported by GreyHeller and we contend that using specific business cases to guide your cloud migration initiatives is a best practice. With that being said, the business case for a “rip and replace” of your core HR function is rare and can come with many negative implications. This blog series serves to examine just some of those implications and discuss the negative consequences that can occur.

Stay tuned as we release additional blogs in our upcoming “Adopting Cloud: Fact or Myth” blog series, where we address the truths behind:

  • Cloud as a platform for Innovation
  • Improving security via the cloud
  • Offloading operational costs
  • Market trends towards cloud adoption
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Don’t let the DOJ take your foot off the “accessibility compliance” gas pedal

We are disheartened by the recent publication of the Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions which changed the status of its web accessibility rule-making processes related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to “inactive.”

What does this mean and why are we – and many of our friends in Higher Education – so disheartened? From the Seyfarth ADA Title III News & Insights Blog:

In the absence of website regulations, the courts are filling the void with a patchwork of decisions that often conflict with one another. The uncertain legal landscape has fueled a surge of lawsuits and demand letters filed and sent on behalf of individuals with disabilities alleging that the websites of thousands of public accommodations are not accessible.

Based on all of this, we believe that institutions should carefully consider their ADA compliance profile for PeopleSoft self-service systems. With the lack of clear regulations, your institution could be at risk.

We fully subscribe to our customer – University of Minnesota’s – position that Accessibility is a diversity issues. Our recent blog – University of Minnesota made PeopleSoft truly accessible. Here’s how.

Lastly, we encourage you to be proactive before you’re forced to be reactive – preview GreyHeller’s solutions for ADA compliance and UX modernization – PeopleMobile/PeopleUX. Contact us to request a demonstration today!

Accessibility, UX/Mobile/Responsive
August 22, 2017
< 1 mins read
Hendrix Bodden By Hendrix Bodden
Categories:

CSU Chancellors Office – CO Mobile App

Another great way of promoting a new mobile application is to host a physical event onsite but promote it online, especially if it’s for employees so they can access their PeopleSoft HCM s functions such as Time Reporting and Payroll.

Here’s what the California State University Chancellor’s Office did to promote their HCM mobile app:

UX/Mobile/Responsive
August 3, 2017
< 1 mins read
Hendrix Bodden By Hendrix Bodden
Categories:

CSU Fullerton – iFullerton Mobile App

After working with our customers across thousands of PeopleSoft Mobile projects, we have found that the most successful projects all have one thing in common (in addition to GreyHeller, of course)

  • Marketing communications that promote the application.

Here’s a great example of how California State University, Fullerton got the word out to students on their new iFullerton app.

UX/Mobile/Responsive
August 3, 2017
< 1 mins read
Hendrix Bodden By Hendrix Bodden