An established private University of over 142 years was on a multi-year journey to reinvent information technology needs for various departments. Its 9 schools and colleges continued to expand and deliver reputed education programs in arts and sciences, law, business, and health sciences. The over 8820 students of the University and almost 800 faculty members participated in a variety of initiatives. These range from hands-on research, service-learning, and study-abroad to other immersive learning experiences. The University Leadership felt the need for integrated reporting and tracking of HCM data to better manage and address the unique needs of every entity.
The University invested in Oracle HCM to create a solid foundation and platform for the future. To generate value from this investment and address the long-felt needs of the user community, the University decided to revamp its reporting system in Oracle HCM.
Based on its established track record, DataTerrain was chosen for this and given the responsibility for report development and maintenance services. DataTerrain was specifically tasked with leveraging its decades of experience in helping customers derive business value in HCM by enhancing their reporting applications.
DataTerrain’s industry-leading report development and maintenance service
Given the unique needs of the University, DataTerrain SMEs(Subject Matter Experts) leveraged its proprietary methodology to jumpstart this engagement. Deep domain knowledge was combined with expertise in Oracle HCM to establish proven and industry-leading best practices for the University. The following are major activities performed by DataTerrain –
Requirements documentation with advisory support – Domain experts from DataTerrain worked with University users and stakeholders to understand and translate business requirements into report specifications. DataTerrain SMEs took an “Art of the possible” approach and advised users on alternate options to address their requirements. In case required, the Oracle support team was consulted through the customer to design appropriate solutions for business needs not directly supported by the platform. DataTerrain team also referred to its prebuilt repository of HCM reports as required to accelerate this process. Detailed requirements documentation was created as an outcome of this step.
Design – Based on the requirements, mapping documentation was created to relate the expected outputs of each report to the underlying Oracle HCM data structure. Where applicable, fast formulas and value sets were designed for instances where the entities were not available in Oracle HCM. The choice of reporting methodology was made during the design and one of the following was chosen –
HCM extracts in available standard formats and/or excel reports
BI Publisher reports using the appropriate custom layouts and templates
OTBI – Dashboards with required fields and embedded analyses with rich visualizations with the flexibility provided to users to filter information based on relevance.
DataTerrain SMEs advised customers on optimizing and reusing existing HCM extracts to prevent the proliferation of reports. For example, DataTerrain helped the customer reuse the existing Hub Main Extract by adding Fast Formulas for additional columns required by the customer. Legacy knowledge gaps and documentation limitations were also addressed during this phase. For example, for flexfields that did not have documentation to map back to Oracle HCM entities, DataTerrain identified and documented the mapping. This enabled their use in SQL queries in new and enhanced reports.
Development – Based on the detailed designs, new reports were developed or existing reports were suitably modified with additional fields and layout changes. Besides, for identified data loads, translation formulas were implemented to convert from the obsolete PBL(Payroll batch loader) to the latest HDL(HCM Data loader) processes.
Data loading – HDL and HSDL(HCM Spreadsheet Data Loader) processes were created and executed by the DataTerrain team for data loads in areas like Compensation and HR modules
Validation, acceptance, and knowledge transfer – Using test cases developed in discussion with users, DataTerrain validated each newly developed and enhanced report. After these were validated by users in test and subsequently in the production environment, the reports were handed off to end-users. Extensive documentation was created and knowledge transfer sessions were conducted by DataTerrain SMEs to complete the handoff of the reports to the University team.
The DataTerrain Difference
As a part of this engagement, DataTerrain cleared the backlog of User requests and wishlists enabling the University to quickly improve its operational tracking and decision making. The customer highlighted the following as added value brought to them by DataTerrain –
DataTerrain’s domain expertise – The customer noted that the knowledge and domain experience of DataTerrain’s SMEs was key at every critical step and milestone. DataTerrain’s knowledge repository was shown during the development of every new report. Some of these reports include –
Payroll payment changes audit reports
Personal activity report
Salary report by organization
403b audit report
Benefits setup report
DataTerrain’s extensive technical expertise – DataTerrain’s SMEs quickly resolved issues in the existing setup and developed automation that saved time and effort for the University users and technical team. Some examples include –
Using translation formulas to automate the creation of HDL files from the legacy PBLs which were going out of support
Fixing errors in HDL templates and resolving numerous defects in data loads and reports.
Implementation of schedules for the periodic generation of extracts based on a defined frequency.
DataTerrain’s Global delivery model – DataTerrain team members operating from global delivery centers ensured 24×7 progress on the University’s priority items due to which the backlog of report requests was cleared in a short duration.
DataTerrain helped the University to quickly clear its backlog of user requests and resolve issues that prevented them from making the best use of Oracle HCM. The reports created by DataTerrain have set the University on course to strengthen its position as an organization that creates leaders of the future.