The Technology One Software Users Group meeting was held last Thursday. It was a great meeting with informative content and discussion, and there’s been plenty of positive feedback. The Meeting Notes and Performance Benchmarking Survey can be downloaded from the User Groups Forum.
Some users have noticed significantly reduced speed as a result of upgrading to the Consolidation Release 11.09.04.011 and a Technical Configuration forum has been created to provide users with a platform to share information, ideas and questions related to technical configuration and IT Infrastructure issues. The Performance Benchmarking Survey can provide a point of comparison for System Administrators if users report slower than normal performance.
The Meeting Notes also appear below to provide Search functionality across this website:
MEETING OPEN AND USER COMMUNITY UPDATE – JAMIE SCOTT (JS)
The www.t1financials.com.au user community has now been augmented by a LinkedIn TechnologyOne Software Users Group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=5169388). This is a closed group, but all email addresses on the User Group have been pre-approved. Others may join but need to be approved by an Administrator to reduce spam and inappropriate content. LinkedIn is a professional networking website and the recent improvements made to groups provide a similar interface to Facebook newsfeeds with which many are familiar. Members of the group receive summarized email updates featuring new discussions, comments and content.
The LinkedIn Group is a great way to quickly and easily pose questions and contribute to discussions with the www.tfinancials.com.au community website being the vehicle for feature articles and easy access to attachments.
Jamie demonstrated how to search for content in forums and noted some valuable contributions made by community participant’s including how to locate the current listing of all BSB’s on the internet and a stored script to automatically load, and/or update them. Additional new content on XLOne explaining the use of Selections types to provide a Reporting Calendar and variable Grouping and Listing capabilities has also recently been added. Instructions for using the current date and time in XLOne file and sheet names and other XLOne content has also been recently uploaded.
PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKING SURVEY
The results of the Performance Benchmarking Survey have been collated into a single Excel workbook and this survey will be uploaded to www.t1financials.com.au. Jamie noted the main point of this exercise was simply to provide people with a basic understanding how their system speed compares with others, as well as themselves. Having their own simple performance benchmarks has allowed the Salvation Army AUS to test system speed as part of the upgrade process, and to have a way of measuring if the system under-performing in the event of users complaining the system is slower than usual.
Two clients at the meeting (Milura and WEHI) reported a significant decrease in performance that since upgrading from 11.04 to 11.09.04.011 (the consolidation release). Milura, in particular have invested a lot of time and effort in trying to improve the speed of their system, including engaging TechnologyOne technical consulting services and to remain quite dissatisfied with the performance of 11.09.04.011. Oliver Jarman from TechnologyOne suggested Milura continue to engage with TechnologyOne Technical support staff to resolve the issue.
Glen Watson from Epworth asked if TechnologyOne could participate in the Benchmarking Survey or at least provide some performance benchmarks and Phil Pantano from TechnologyOne agreed to follow this up internally and report back to the group.
JS asked the group if there was anyone who had upgraded to 11.09.04.011 and had not noticed a significant performance decrease and a few people raised their hands. It was suggested that a Forum to allow users to share knowledge on Technical Configuration be created on the website, and has created this forum on http://t1financials.com.au/forums/forum/technical-configuration and uploaded the Performance Benchmark Survey results there.
Note – A Linked Discussion 126.96.36.199 Consolidation release performance relating to users experiences with regard to the speed of the Consolidation Release has subsequently been created on the LinkedIn Technology One Software Users Group
TECHNOLOGY ONE UPDATE
TechnologyOne encouraged everyone to make the effort to attend the Evolve Conference on the Gold Coast next February, 2014. There will be some exciting announcements unveiled at this conference including likely release dates for the Ci Browser versions and mobile device functionality.
CENTRALIZED ALERTS DEMO – TIM FINCH (TF)
Tim gave an informative and entertaining demonstration of the enhanced functionality within the consolidation release (11.09.04.011), helping to manage by exception. Eg Workflow Alerts. Alerts are user definable and the system administrator can control and monitor alerts.
There are a number of key Improvements in Centralised Alerts
• Improved Administration
• Improved Notifications- Threshold based – E-mail or SMS alerts
• Improved Alert development – Tricky previously with XML Files, but now within the application
• Improved Technical Architecture – Definition now in the program, and not a file which can be deleted.
Tim demonstrated how it’s much easier to manage and configure alerts now a front-end console is available and users are no longer forced to wrestle with xml as the only means of configuration. Alerts offer more flexibility than versions including integration with roles and profiles and this version supports alert-locking preventing non-super users from removing or modifying specific alerts they need to be relied upon to see.
The consolidation release is shipped with a Personal Workflow that simplifies the process of moving from the older old Alerts to the new technology, and there is plenty of Alert documentation in existence but Tim was not 100% sure if this documentation has found its way into the software at the moment, and if not will upload to www.t1financials.com.au. The procedural workflow is Alerts Migration Process -> Alerts upgrade Process -> Update Workplaces to use new Alert Portlet -> End migration
The Alert Upgrade process converts the old standard alerts to the new technology and also has a crack at converting any customized alerts you may have developed.
Glen Watson from Epworth queried if there was provision for clients to revert back to the older alert in the event that the upgrade didn’t work as planned. Tim wasn’t aware of any ability to do this but will check; of course you could back up your alert xml files but needs to check if you actually revert to using the old functionality. Once you’ve upgraded your alerts you need to remove your old alerts portlets or better sill save the new function as a non $ version of the old ($TB.ALERTS.POR)
Penny Hamlett from the National Heart Foundation asked whether users were using the SMS functionality and if they were, what infrastructure was needed. She was advised by TF that this functionality required the use of an SMS gateway and that like faxing, there was no preferred SMS gateway.
Penny also raised the fact that instead of using SQL, the centralised alerts functionality should utilise existing data analysers.
What’s New in CPM – Emmanuel Lygris (EL)
Emmanuel Lygris (Manny) from Swinburne delivered a great presentation outlining recent enhancements to the CPM (Corporate Performance Management) suite of software, which encompasses
• Enterprise Budgeting
• Business Intelligence
• BETL (Business Extract Transform Load)
• Performance Planning (Not covered)
The main points were as follows:
• Now has multi-select picklists
• Can have values passed to a report via a powertag using a BIVAR sync object
• No longer requires a function per report as a new function $E1.XL.XLONERPT.PRC allows a user to choose which report they want to run
• Now supports Microsoft Office 64 bit
Enterprise Budgeting (EB)
• Now uses latest ciPosting functionality (means all unit and amount fields will disburse)
• View worksheet records to be deleted (Import with Replace and Data Deletion functions)
• Customising background colour of columns will leave protected rows uncoloured by default
• Comments tab on columns (Worksheet type & Budget model maintenance – columns section)
• Can build basic calculations to calculate default values for Standard type worksheet columns
• Can Save To/Load From csv file budget worksheet columns (like ETL warehouses) allowing quick addition of repetitive columns (e.g. JAN, FEB, MAR, …,DEC)
• Budget pack approvals can now be enforced so that an Approver cannot approve/edit a budget pack until it has been submitted to them for approval
Business Intelligence (BI – also affects EB portlets)
• Can now push out to / pull in from a Microsoft Excel workbook(s) formatted grid based data or Excel charts
• Can utilise Excel based formulas, conditional formatting and Excel charts for display on a BI portlet
BETL (Business Extract-Transform-Load)
• Can now save layouts in Warehouse Table Enquiry Function
• New warehouse analyser which means the Table Enquiry type view of data can be extended to XLOne and BI without the need to create a new analyser item (xml file) and add each warehouse table as a selection (similar in concept to the budget worksheets analyser but without a dropdown/picklist for the warehouse table name)
New ETL steps –
- Execute a command line
- Zip/Unzip Files
- Initiate a DP event
- Call a Web Resource
- Load Data from XML
- Build Text / Save Text (in memory text file)
- Load an Email Inbox
- Set Behaviour
• Enhancements in Excel Grid to Word table conversion
• Enhanced table functionality including repeat header columns for multi-page tables
What’s coming/Just Arrived
• BI Portlets to have freeze panes (July 2013 BI package – Limited Distribution)
• EB Data Tables (release date unknown)
• Enhancements in Excel Grid to Word table conversion
• Enhanced table functionality including repeat header columns for multi-page tables
• Ability to update system variables / user parameters via ETL (April 2013 ETL package)
Manny is planning to upload his presentation and some related content to www.t1financials.com.au in the coming days. Members of the LinkedIn Technology One Software Users Group will receive an email notification once the files are uploaded.
GENERAL BUSINESS / NEW ITEMS
BETL – BUSINESS, EXTRACT, TRANSFER, LOAD
Elizabeth Shaw from WEHI and Sharon Spiteri from Victorian Teachers Mutual Bank sought clarification on how people are using ETL, and how difficult it is to implement. ETL is used for a wide variety of purposes including importing data from other systems, interfaces, data warehousing/ management, fast queries, web services and other functionality. Manny from Swinburne offered to upload a list of the functions to the t1financials website. BETL and ETL are one and the same thing, the inclusion of Business in the name was intended to communicate more clearly that this ETL tool is aimed at Business Users and not IT Specialists. Jamie spoke of how ETL – Allocations had superseded the old Allocations module and most TechnologyOne Financials users who purchased prior to 2009 will probably have available but may never have used, which was the case at the Salvation Army. ETL – Allocations is a cut-down version of BETL that provides all the functionality previously delivered via the superseded Allocations module. Jamie reported that he’d re-written the old (Classic) Allocations as ETL – Allocations and had found it a much better design, easier-to-use and quicker to run. As the Classic Allocations module has been superseded the question as to when/if it would cease to be supported was raised, and Tim advised there was currently no sunset date on the horizon.
DELEGATION OF WORK FROM ONE USER TO ANOTHER DURING LEAVE
Jagath Hathurusinghe from City of Bendigo asked how people are handling the situation when a user goes on leave and their work needs to be referred to someone else in their absence. This is best handled by using the User Delegation function to direct workflow items to the fill-in person during the period of absence, and also giving that person the same security and workplace access typically by assigning that person the same user profile, or if necessary modifying the delegated to users profile to include access to the same functions and security. This is necessary when the person to whom work is delegated has security or functionality access beyond the person doing the delegating.
ENFORCING RECEIPT DELEGATION LIMITS
A user asked if anyone else was experiencing the situation where people are bypassing their purchasing limit by raising an order for an amount within their delegation limit then receipting for a much greater amount. Tim Finch pointed out this is likely to be due to their being no limit set on the users order receipt financial delegation ($IN_GOODS_REC_FIN_DLG). By applying the same limit here as that applied to their purchasing delegation users will not be able to exceed their $ limit.
USE OF TECHNOLOGYONE SOFTWARE ON TOUCH-SCREEN DEVICES
TechnologyOne is investing a lot of R&D in bringing T1 products to touch-screen devices, their approach is to specifically design the apps to run on tablets and phones. The Ci Browser offering will feature technology which automatically detects the kind of device being used to access the system and the user experience will default to the most appropriate for the device style. E.g. Data is frequently presented in a grid format on a computer screen; however grids do not work well on smart-phones and tablets, so the auto-detection will default the most appropriate displays and views for the user device.
The move to touch-screen technology and the complete re-write of the entire software aims to deliver far superior performance and a more a simpler user interface. More information on this will be revealed at the February 2014 Evolve user conference.
PUSH BUTTON FINANCIAL STATEMENT PRODUCTION
Simon Zhu from Vision Super asked if anyone was actually producing complete financial statements with no intervention directly from the system. A group discussion ensued and it was determined that in order to achieve this you would need to be licensed for Publisher and BETL. Manny from Swinburne is aiming to achieve this in time for next years end-of year but recognizes it will require a great deal of work to actually deliver genuine complete financial statements including tables of contents, footnotes, page numbers etc. The 80/20 rule probably applies where 80% of the Financial statements production could probably be achieved with 20% of the effort.
The User Group thanks TechnologyOne for hosting and sponsoring the meeting, Rory McLaughlin for taking notes during the meeting and Tim Finch and Manny Lygris for their terrific presentations.
The next meeting will be hosted by the Salvation Army in or near the CBD, in late March 2014. The exact date and locations will be advised in due course.
Jaime Loh, Financial Accountant, City of Stonnington
Kris Nicholson, Financial Systems Manager, IT, Melbourne Water
Penny Hamlett, National Heart Foundation
Malcolm Pescod | Corporate SME, IT BP Australia
Shannon Martin, Financial & Systems Accountant, Workways
Noel Jacobs, Group Finance Manager at National Heart Foundation
Chantelle Stoll and Christian Purnamo, Milura (2)
Steve Irwin, City of Frankston
Gary Loetsch, Systems Administrator at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
Elizabeth Shaw, Walter + Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Lisa Neocleous, Management Accountant, Latrobe City Council
Karen Tuiran – IT, Baw Baw Shire Council
Melissa Sudero, Finance System Administrator, City of Boroondara
Jagath Hathurusinghe, City of Greater Bendigo
Greg Bowers, Chief Finance Officer, Trust for Nature and one colleague (2)
Emmanuel Lygris – Finance Systems Manager at Swinburne University
Janice Coventry, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Amarjit Saini, Management Accounting Coordinator, Financial Services, Wyndham City
Scott Goodwin, Enterprise Systems Consultant, Yarra Ranges Council
Michael Caton, Accountant, City of Wodonga
Jenni Ashkar and Glenn Trigg, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Victoria (2)
Glen Watson, Senior Applications Specialist, Epworth Healthcare
Belinda Napoli, Reporting Analyst, NEAMI National Head Office
Aileen Morrison, Systems Accountant, Cardinia Shire Council
Bob Palin, CFO Centre for Eye Research
Rory McLaughlin, System Administrator, Ansvar
Paul Brumby, Manager Finance, Hepburn Shire Council
Simon Zhu, Financial Accountant, Vision Super
David Harrington, Warrnambool City Council
Sharon Spiteri,Finance Systems Analyst, Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Jamie Scott, Finance Systems Manager at Salvation Army AUS
Dean Downing, Systems Accountant, Energy Safe Victoria
Pey Lin Mak, Management Accountant, Energy Safe Victoria
Suzanne Harrold. University of Melbourne
Karen Shore, Lower Murray Water