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Efficient Solutions in PeopleSoft HCM for Smart HR


 One of the major challenge the Onboarding HR operations team has to deal with is to cope up with the huge volume of data entry to be completed in a short period to enable pleasant experience for all the new joiners. The generation of employee record is a prerequisite to have all the other facilities to be provisioned for the new employee. The smart HR template solution of PeopleSoft HCM tries to bridge this gap but has lots of limitations to enable huge volume of data entry in a short period. The ideal solution that the IT consultants can offer is to club with other functionalities and come up with a hybrid approach that can suit the client business needs.

Why Smart HR Templates?


Oracle PeopleSoft introduced Smart HR Template from 9.0 as a precursor to the broader 'Smart HR' templates in 9.2 to help enterprises simplify their Hire process. The Smart HR template offers configuration of hiring pages based on unique onboarding processes that differ by jobs, geographies, employee types, industries, etc. by the HR administrators/Super Users. With the help of Smart HR templates the Implementation Consultants can help the customers in optimally configuring the templates with identified data defaults specific to job, person record there by mandating data entry for variable data only, such as name or address etc., thus significantly reducing the time to complete the hiring process.


Typically the HR administrator has to spent considerable amount of effort in creating and maintaining various employee specific transactions like Hire, Rehire, Terminate, promote, transfer, maintain address, maintain dependent data, maintain compensation data, maintain position, maintain jobs, maintain competencies, maintain qualifications, maintain work experiences, maintain salary increments, maintain manager changes etc. The need to minimize data entry and default repeatedly used common data triggered the introduction of smart HR template that helps in configuring templates that reduce the number of data entry fields necessary for repeatedly used transactions in the area of Hire/Rehire, Job data Updates, Personal data updates and Profile data updates.


The latest version of PeopleSoft smart HR template1 even has built in integration with Profile Management profiles and Smart HR to help the end users enter/update a person's profile using Smart HR transaction templates and pages that can cater to multi row transactions that can be represented in tabular grid form as in the case of address or Profile management. Template specific field level validations can be achieved with additional options of having user defined application class methods that can be configured. Also there is option to allow customers to create templates by position number or by job code as well as to define Global and Country specific sections.  We can even configure templates to have compensation predefined by the Salary Plan, Grade and Step. Implementation Specialist along with HR administrator can determine which of the fields among Salary Plan, Grade and Step can be overridden by the end-user, or even visible to the end-user. It is a recommended practice not to define compensation data as display only to end user as it will deprive end-users to edit the compensation components based on changing Organization Policies.  Also in case of Hires a Search/Match functionality can be enables that will be run before the hire can be saved or submitted and a suitable action to Hire or refer to an HR specialist to complete can be opted out by end user.


We have followed the below suggested steps while implementing a Smart HR template in PeopleSoft HCM for a major service provider in Canada .The first step was to gather the number of Global sections that can be reused and decide on optimizing the local sections that are mandated by regulations or by local policies . The next step we followed was to decide on the organizational relationships that are used and analyze the data volume to decide on the number of templates to be created. The different defaults for prompt fields and repeatedly entered data points that can minimize the manual entry.  The sections like phone, address and compensation details that might need multiple rows of data was segregated and optimized next. The roles associated with notifications and approvals were identified and configured. The data level security was then decided upon considering both the global and local needs. This is one of the challenging area that needs more focus to have a strong security built in the system. Finally any mandatory custom fields that needs to be incorporated was as well added as this involves more customization and additional maintenance overheads. The process flow followed is depicted below:


As a sample business use case to explain the benefits offered by Smart Hire template taking the requirement for a Local HR administrator of this service industry giant having multi country presence was required to key in on an average 150 new hires a week and 50 transfers a week and they wanted to minimize the manual efforts required for data entry across multiple components, tabs and sections.  With the help of smart hire functionality we had suggested configuring customized Hire templates and Job Update templates with the flexibility of local administration of changes that occur frequently without requiring full administration on the part of HR. Also the flexibility to configure setup of the template by section as well as prompts is well utilized in the project. The major consideration of data level security that can as well be configured such a way that security is granted to the user based on data permission roles and can access the right  template is strategized and planned well so that there are no sudden pitfalls. This customization has helped the Local HR administrator to save more than 29 Person Hours a week by reducing at least 10 mins per new hire data entry and 5 minutes per data change with the help of Smart HR templates along with necessary approval notifications that ensures data accuracy.(ref Appendix A for detailed calculations)


The client had been first educated on the need to optimize the global and local templates such a way that if there is a need to have process change that adds to the efficiency of the process it needs to be adopted as part of the Smart HR template rollout. The change management at client side needs to be strong enough for the effective usage of smart HR templates. The security roles used to get dynamically modified as the client many times are not aware of the security tree hierarchy that gets used for the smart HR template and this is an area that needs more time for discussions and implementation and should not be overlooked at the planning stage.


What Customer want?


From a traditional accounting background role of an HR manager the HR department is now looked upon as a revenue enhancer and this needs a shift in the role of HR manager to parallel the needs of this developing, changing organization. More adaptability, agility, resilience, change driven and customer centric HR personnel is necessary for the Success of organizations and the HR needs to focus more on strategic initiatives than spent time in administrative activities. This shift is well accommodated in the new HR applications and these enablers are critical for success of HCM tool implementations.


In "Predicts 2016: Digital Dexterity Drives Competitive Advantage in the Digital Workplace," 2 Gartner emphasizes the suggestion that the ability to promote digital dexterity in the workforce will be a critical source of competitive advantage, based on the simple notion that an engaged, digitally literate workforce capable of seizing technological advantage will drive better business outcomes. Human capital management (HCM) applications enable enterprise people management processes including core HR data management, payroll, talent management, workforce management, integrated HR service delivery and workforce analytics. The Strategic Planning Assumptions from "Predicts 2016: HCM Applications Transform to Support the Emerging Digital Workplace" 2 highlight the changes to HCM being driven by the emerging digital workplace, and a workforce investment strategy that enables new, more effective ways of working, raises employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.


To meet the digital dexterity one of the key strategy is to maximize the digital capability to reduce the manual efforts and in this line Smart HR templates are surely a value add. However there are many limitations while using the Smart HR and one of the key limitation is the inability for a mass update of transactions like a mass hire for a data conversion scenario like new business acquisition or conversion of contract employees to permanent. This is a frequently occurring adhoc scenario and having a mass update capability is real value add that customers look for. Since the Smart HR templates alone doesn't support this functionality currently the implementation consultants need to evaluate the business scenario and come up with optimal solutions that can be implemented to meet the pressing business needs.


What else can be done?

                To meet the varied needs of end customer and pressing need for automating mass uploads along with a short process for individual hires smart HR template alone cannot meet all the customer needs. We have to work out multiple options in tandem with the smart HR template to meet the growing needs of the customer. The PeopleSoft delivered approach to the problem of mass hire is to use CI (Component Interface) based integration that can be either an Excel to CI utility or a CI embedded in an Application engine (AE) program that can take an excel based file input of mass hire data. The biggest challenge faced with this approach is the highly limited data validation that can be performed prior to run which results in many data errors and difficulty in interpreting the standard error report that gets generated out of a component interface program. There is regular dependency on a technical consultant to assist the HR operations team and an end-user can seldom perform this task independently. This approach can be majorly used for mass hire transactions.


                In scenario of mass data updates for simpler Organization wide updates like mass salary hikes or organization level policy change and changes to job codes or transfer between departments. However it is a best practice to test the transaction initially on a small group first and ensure that all the defaults and mandatory fields are populated with data and use a new effective dated row rather than run in a correction mode unless sure of data override. The mass data update can as well be suggested for use in tandem with Smart HR templates for better automation.



                However the end user is still on need for a better solution that can leverage the efforts utilized with the help of a stronger ERP tool that can maximize the ROI and help HR to build and work more on strategic initiatives. There should be a more easy integration with the use of data integration from excel spreadsheet directly to the system with minimal errors in each load.


How to make the right decision?


                This problem essentially posed by a major service provider client put us to thought on identifying a better design for Smart HR templates to be scalable to mass uploads and multi row data transactions per employee. The in tandem use of Excel to CI template has its own limitations as the data validation performed is very minimal and is a weaker choice to rely on. There should be a major design revamp in the way currently Smart HR templates are designed with incorporation of one more key field (say Row ID) that uniquely identifies an employee that needs to be created in case of a mass hire.


                The system should be designed to first read an excel input file with the help of a file based AE integration and populate into a scroll level based grid format with multiple employee data each uniquely identified by a Global Record Id. The user can perform on the screen validation and editing before submitting for the approval notification process as is currently available in smart HR transaction screens. The data gets inserted via CI to the different Job, Personal data and Profile data after getting approved/submitted for data creation. The error report will continue to prompt to the data correction that can be performed for data inserts. The implementation consultants as well as end users can be well benefited with such a new feature added to the future patches/release of Oracle PeopleSoft HCM Smart HR templates. Also end users look forward additionally for fluid enabled UI features for the smart HR pages and approval pages so that they can better utilize their productive time and save on unavoidable delays.






Appendix A: Calculation of Effort Savings



Transaction Data

No. of New hires per week                                     


No. of data changes per week                               



Time taken per new hire                                         

20 mins

Time taken per data change                                   

10 mins


Time taken per new hire with Smart HR               

10 mins

Time taken per data change   with Smart HR       

5 mins


Total Effort Savings   (10 * 150) + (50*5)/60        

29.17 hours































2)  Gartner: 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2020 dt: 24 March 2016 | ID: G00301430 Analyst(s): Douglas Laney, Ankush Jain

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