eVerge Upgrades Fusion HCM to Release 7: January 2014

We recently upgraded our Oracle Fusion HCM install from Release 5 to 7.  In this blog, the focus is on the new features and functionality of Release 7.   This release touted new features spanning many of the Fusion HCM products.  The major features of interest to our project team included the Simplified User Interface, OTBI Reporting, Talent Management and Workforce Compensation enhancements, as well as Payroll reporting.

Below you will find a sampling of what Release 7 has to offer us and our customers:

Simplified User Interface:

From Oracle: The simplified user interface for the Oracle Applications Cloud is a modern, intuitive, streamlined user interface for self-service users who need access to HR related tasks and information.  The Simplified User Interface is a quick access point for casual users to perform the most common HR tasks.

Our take: Our compensation plans are already configured with custom alerts to aid our managers with the compensation process.  Some of the alerts we had already incorporated are identifying terminated employees and recent new hires.  We plan to take advantage of this new feature for our upcoming quarterly bonus payout plan.  Providing our managers with real time changes will further enhance our compensation process.

Copy/Export/Import Extract Definition Functionality

From Oracle: You can now create new extract definitions through copy or export/import. Copy, Export, and Import process options are available on the table header of the Search Results table on the Manage Definitions page. Copy allows you to copy an extract definition within the same Legislative Data Group (LDG).  Export allows you to create an .xsd file with all the extract definition details. This .xsd file can be imported in any Fusion HCM pod (instance) across releases. You can use Export/Import to copy the extract definitions across different LDGs. You need to specify the target LDG while importing the .xsd file.

Our take: Our project team was successfully able to migrate data using the delivered Export/Import process. By using the delivered utility, we were able to eliminate data entry errors; and in addition, reduced the time for validation and verification. In addition to the LDG enhancement, we used the Export/Import delivered utility to migrate Implementation Project Plans from one Fusion HCM Pod to another. Our project team will definitely leverage the enhanced Export/Import utility for ongoing implementation efforts.

Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI) Enhancements

If you are not familiar with OTBI, it is essentially a set of pre-seeded yet customizable analysis structures that Fusion Applications users can access to create ad hoc reports, dashboards and alerts to aid daily decision-making.

From Oracle: The following OTBI features were added or changed since the last release of Oracle Fusion Applications:

•           Gender and Ethnicity have been added to the Worker dimension in all subject areas. The most recent gender and the primary ethnicity for the country or legislation of the worker’s primary assignment are used.

 •           A new Department Hierarchy dimension has been created to allow hierarchical aggregated reporting from the most recent active department tree, which contains only HCM Department Organizations. This dimension has been added to the Real Time subject areas.

 •           Assignment Count has been added to the Worker Assignment fact in the Workforce Management Real Time subject area.

 Our take: OTBI has had several iterations and continues to evolve over the life of the HCM Fusion product, but all reporting as needed for trends and analytics becomes more prominent. OTBI in Oracle’s Fusion HCM allows users to develop reports using Subject areas with a graphical interface and publish the analytics under one console. The figure shown is example of an analysis using Assignment Count fact measure. During the recruiting process, Worker analysis is performed for the staffing needs. That being said, the new enhancements in OTBI will help us match the skill set with the job requirements. 

 

Performance Management Enhancements

From Oracle: Performance Management Overview Pages Redesign; The Worker Overview page and My Directs tab in the Manager Overview page have been redesigned to a worker-centric layout.  In the new design, the page displays all performance documents for which each worker is eligible.  In previous versions My Directs tab on the Manager Overview page, a performance document had to be selected first to determine which workers were eligible to access it.

Our take: Oracle really listened to their customers by redesigning the manager’s view into their people’s performance documents.  This was a frustrating experience for our managers prior to Release 7.  This was the case especially for managers with a large number of direct reports.  The new overview displays the manager’s direct reports and the documents that are eligible and ready for evaluation.  Also, filtering capabilities are provided to list direct reports by document name, status and direct report. 

 

From Oracle: Performance document calculated ratings can now become the official rating.  Template configuration options are now available to define section ratings to be the calculated rating.  Prior to release 7 the calculated rating served as a guide for employees and managers to manually select a rating. 

Our take: Once again Oracle listened to their customers.  Our performance process is designed to rely on the calculated ratings.  Prior to Release 7, manually selecting a section rating was an additional step for our users.  Also, in many cases the incorrect section rating was selected and required administrative assistance to correct the ratings.  Today our users simply rate the individual items in a section and let the system do the rest.

Workforce Compensation: Alert Managers When Amounts They Enter Are Overridden

From Oracle: You can now create custom alerts to notify managers when a higher manager overrides a compensation amount. New columns can be used as conditions when building alerts, to identify the name of the manager who originally entered an amount and the name of the manager who last updated an amount. Previously, these columns were not available for use as conditions when building custom alerts, so managers had no clear visibility when an amount that they entered was modified by someone else.

Our take: Our compensation plans are already configured with custom alerts to aid our managers with the compensation process.  Some of the alerts we had already incorporated are identifying terminated employees and recent new hires.  We plan to take advantage of this new feature for our upcoming quarterly bonus payout plan.  Providing our managers with real time changes will further enhance our compensation process.

 

Payroll Enhancements

From Oracle: Several reports are now available for Fusion Payroll.  Oracle has delivered on several new reports including the Gross To Net, Activity Report, and Payroll Register.

Our take: Prior to Release 7 we had to rely on custom reports.  These new delivered reports are a positive step in the right direction, and we look forward to additional delivered reports in the future to help streamline our payroll process.

You can find more information for Release 7 by reading the release notes or attending HCM Live webinars.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience in HCM. To learn more about HCM Fusion and how we can help implement HCM Fusion for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973 or through our website http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

 

eVerge Group goes live with Oracle HCM Fusion Benefits

 eVerge Group is live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Compensation, and Performance.  Keep reading to follow the path we took to get there — focusing here on Benefits.

HR went live in the Spring of 2012.  We have two Legal Entities – one in the US and one in India.  We have multiple business units, departments, locations and jobs with a centralized HR function.  

Benefits was on target to roll out in October 2012; but as payroll testing efforts ramped up for the January 2013 target, it was quickly learned additional Benefit configurations and related enrollment data would be needed to support payroll.  These included items like GTL and LTD imputed income calculations, as well as changes to element configurations to support payroll deductions.  The decision was made to roll out Benefits and Payroll simultaneously to ensure cross module integration.

 Here are some of the lessons we learned while configuring Benefits:

  • Configure the basic plan types, options, plans, rates, eligibility profiles, programs, and elements one at a time and test as you go.  It is easier to “undo” and revise your benefits structure with only a few existing values rather than a full suite of benefit options during early testing.   Once good test results are obtained, configurations can be expanded and then replicated in the production pod as appropriate.
  • Be diligent in documenting the configurations you have built and tested.  In the early releases of Fusion, current Functional Setup Manager (FSM) functionality does not allow migration of benefit configurations from pod to pod.  This means manual re-entry of configurations – which can be complex depending how complicated your benefit offerings may be.
  • Fusion Benefits offers great flexibility in administering plan eligibility and processing – realize this translates to additional configurations and testing!  While there is sometimes a need for such complexity, try to keep configurations as simple as possible.  This may eliminate additional technical support later in the process.

We used the File Based Loader (FBL) functionality to convert in current Benefit elections.  We did not include any historical election data.  We did, however, include Original Enrollment Dates for the various elections to ensure this data is available when we begin automated interfacing with vendors.

  • Data formatting is critical to successful FBL loads.  We started by consolidating all of the necessary employee and contact (dependent) data from our various vendor sources.  A program was then written to “transform” this data into the FBL format.   Allow sufficient time for testing.  Depending on the size of your organization, this will likely be complex and needs careful analysis to ensure desired results.  Take time to get it right!
  • Decisions need to be made in advance of the level of election data you want available in Fusion; i.e. Waive rows for various plans if the employee does not have a current election, etc.  This dictates the number of plans/rows that need to exist in the FBL source file to load related elections.
  • Contact information was entered manually before we could successfully load benefit election data that included dependent designations (i.e., attaching dependents to various plan coverages).  There is some available functionality to convert Contact data but we did not utilize this for our project.

 Here is a glance at what our HR/Benefits Administrator can view online to get a quick summary view of current benefit elections.   Employees are able to see similar information through delivered self service via My Portrait > Benefits.

 

Working closely with Oracle on pod management, refreshes, patching, etc. is critical.  You want to ensure you are always testing with the “latest and greatest” configurations.  Sometimes this was based on new configs being added/tested in a Staging/Test pod followed by migration to production.  Other times this meant entering data in production (i.e., Contacts) to have it available when a pod refresh was taken so the data would exist for the next level of testing.

 Benefit self service will be used during our upcoming Open Enrollment period.  We have a different plan year for our main benefits (medical, dental, vision, and life plans) as opposed to FSA elections which naturally follow a calendar year.  We are currently testing the OE functionality in Fusion with a target of a 2 week OE period in March – ensuring all data is in place for April 1 when new rates will go into effect.  In conjunction with OE being completed via employee self service, employees will also be able to initiate Life Event changes online for things such as marriage, new babies, etc.

 Watch for an upcoming blog about our Fusion Payroll go live.  We are also live with Compensation Management and Performance … one good experience after another …  Keep coming back to see more blogs over the next few weeks!

The author of this article/blog is Laurie Long.   Ms. Long is a Senior Fusion HCM Implementation Consultant resource for eVerge Group with more than 20 years of HCM implementation and support experience.

 To learn more about Fusion and how we can help implement Benefits for your organization, please contact us at 888-548-1973.