The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

PeopleSoft Forms and Approval builder

None of the enterprise application will able to convert 100% of daily work into digital format. The enterprise application will cover almost all the obvious scenarios. But the real use case may vary from company to company. PeopleSoft has tried reducing the paper work with the help of a highly configurable forms and approval builder.

Imagine a situation where your company placing a purchase order or hiring a candidate. The typical cycle in the system starts with creating a PO or an applicant in the system. But in real scenarios there will be a lot more paper work that has to be done before it happens in the real system. For example, the clerk has to fill in a paper form and get it signed from the authorities before creating a PO. For the hiring example the system entry may happen only once the candidate has passed the initial screening test. Again this process can vary from organization to organization. Now what is there for you to solve this problem? PeopleSoft now offers a feature which will help you to create custom forms in the system. Yes, it is truly custom but not treated as customization and hence you save the additional cost incurred in testing, deployment, maintenance and upgrade.

With the forms and approval builder wizard, you chose what all fields (with your own labels) that needs to be appeared on the actual form. You can also provide instructions to fill in the form and add attachments to the form. Once everything is specified and configured, just activate the form so that users can start working with. It’s not finished yet. Finally you will be able to pull in the data from the forms to a real transaction with the help of CI’s, thus complexly automating your custom scenarios without any customizations. Sounds exciting? Let’s check out how this can be achieved in a PeopleSoft system.

This feature is registered under enterprise components. Let us start with a simple form with just two fields.

Navigate to Enterprise Components > Forms > Design a Form and add a new value.

On the first step provide the basic details of the form such as form name and its valid dates.

Proceed to next step and provide the Instructions that you want to give to the users who fills in the form.

Now proceed to next step. In the PeopleSoft form builder you can have two columns of fields Left and Right columns.

In this example I will add one field to the left column and the other one to right column. If you require only one column then you can fill in the details in the corresponding one grid alone. In the label column specify the name that should be appeared for the field when user fills in the form. The Usage Type specifies the type of data (number, character etc) that is filled in for the field. In this example I will be adding a text and date type fields (applicant name and interview date).

Now proceed to next step. If you want to capture any attachments as part of this form specify the name over here. I will provide Applicant Guidelines as the attachment for the sample form. These extra details will be available for the user when he fills in the form.

Once you are done, click on next step. Now in this step you have to decide where to place this form in the navigational menu. Select the folder and provide the sequence number. The system will automatically generate the portal registry entry for you. In this example, I will register the form under employee self service.

Now proceed to the next step. Here you can decide the approver options. The lockdown option defines whether you want to allow changes to be made to the form after it is submitted. The approver list is the one you configure/create with the approval workflow engine. If you do not need any approvals, leave the form as it is and click on Ok.

Now click on the Activate Form link to make the form ready for the users to start with.

You are done with a sample form now. People can start using the form. Let us have a look at how the sample form will be. Go to the navigation where it is registered (in this case it is Employee Self Service > Sample Form).

You can see that the two fields specified appears in the left and right (as we created it so). Along with that there will be some default field which will be applicable for all the forms. The second and third tab displays the additional information and attachments that you have mentioned while creating the form. Now fill up the form and save it. That’s it, without even opening the application designer; you have automated a manual process within 5 minutes. Isn’t it really great? If you have not started using the forms, start reaping benefits out of it now itself and remember this is not considered as customization so you will be getting support from PeopleSoft on any issues surrounding it.

Want to automate further? Go to Enterprise Components > Forms > Form To CI Mapping.

Add a new value and map the fields created in the form with the property in the corresponding base transaction CI. Now once your form is submitted, PeopleSoft will automatically create an entry in the real transaction tables based on the values entered in the form. This particular portion is advised to be handled only by expert PeopleSoft developers as it involves technical parts.

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