Are The Future PeopleSoft Rumors True?

Published by Lareshka McCoy on August 24, 2020

The History Of PeopleSoft

PeopleSoft Inc. was released in 1987 to address the evolving day-to-day business needs of companies and organizations by offering an integrated suite of highly-scalable software applications. It provided management capabilities in the following modules:

  • Human Resource Management System (HRMS)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Financials and Supply Chain Management (FSCM)

These modules interact seamlessly with internal and external applications to provide a proficient and effective medium for reporting and production throughout the organization. 

The company has emerged over the decades as a global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) leader, servicing over 5,000 customers. Clients range in size from small companies to the largest enterprises. It is an especially popular ERP solution for the higher education and healthcare sectors, as the products allow numerous users to connect promptly to business processes, using real-time data. 

Businesses employing PeopleSoft applications have realized advantages in the form of exceptional efficiency, reduced costs, flexibility to adjust to their current business model, and the adaptability to transform as business needs evolve.

These benefits provide customers with an unparalleled competitive advantage.

Prior Challenges

Regardless of its potent capabilities, customers gradually started becoming frustrated and disenchanted with their PeopleSoft systems. 

Past challenges that frustrated users included: 

  • Upgrades to the system were risky and disorderly to their workflow.
  • The user experience was challenging, making it an arduous task to extract data from.
  • Any customizations required to suit their business needs were complicated, causing it to be even more formidable to integrate new features that were released.
  • A rapidly evolving business landscape meant a higher demand for mobile and cloud- supported solutions.

In the late 1990s, the above issues plagued PeopleSoft, as well as an increase in competition in the ERP space, coupled with concerns over Y2K all colluded to diminish demand for PeopleSoft products. Market sentiment was that it was a legacy application that was outdated, not user friendly, and therefore destined to become obsolete. This motivated PeopleSoft to reinvent their products by transitioning to innovative internet-based applications. They previously utilized two-tier architecture, consisting of database transmissions to a workstation administered by Windows. The addition of the Web server as a middle-tier to manage most of the front-end processing enabled the PeopleSoft applications to be much more efficient, robust, dynamic, and easier to manage.

Oracle purchased PeopleSoft Inc. for $10.3 billion at the end of 2004, with the pledge to enhance the current and future versions of the application, while providing the backing and support of Oracle resources. 

The Current State Of Affairs

In an effort to recapture market share, Oracle and PeopleSoft’s main mandate was to address the three biggest pain-points that users were dissatisfied with. These include simplifying the user experience, decreasing the cost and risk of upgrades and maintenance, as well as invasive customization. 

Oracle has committed to the on-going development and release of new and upgraded functionalities within PeopleSoft in many different ways.

Internet-Based Applications

All PeopleSoft applications were transitioned over to internet-based applications. This coupled with the sizable Oracle investment in the development of new PeopleSoft Cloud architecture and tools has leveled the playing field. They are able to offer highly-scalable applications to all company sizes, allowing them to adjust their operations as their needs change. By automating and consolidating transactions, costs and compliance issues are minimized. They also focused on standardizing common functions to simplify them and providing more personalization capabilities. Oracle PeopleSoft is one of the leading ERP systems in the market, offering a technologically robust, modern software application that conforms with best-in-class practicality.

Notifications

The new functionality includes features that can be configured to provide oversight over business operations, should any issues arise. The communication can be in the form of an event, notification, or an alert, that would require the recipient to remediate the issue.  In the case of a notification requiring approval, PeopleSoft standardized and centralized approvals and delivered a fluid approval process that could be efficiently processed on your mobile phone.

Seamless Upgrades

Customers found that maintenance and upgrades to their PeopleSoft applications were being too expensive and risky. PeopleSoft addressed this issue by releasing the PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM).  PUM is a new Lifecycle Management process geared towards ensuring that customers stay updated on application patching while also decreasing maintenance costs. This tool gives the user the benefit of continuous delivery and selective adoption, giving them greater autonomy over their upgrades.

Conversational Interfaces

The ability to interact with the technology through Chatbot, text messages, or even voice. The Chatbot is a software program that impersonates a human by offering support when contacted by a user who requires assistance. The medium of communication can be through websites, mobile applications, or messaging functionality.

Delegations Framework

Empowers customers to be able to set task delegations while they are out of the office or unavailable.

Analytics

While PeopleSoft’s main focus initially was on managing data input, they have since realized the value of output data like Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), that could assist customers in making informed decisions. Previously, if users needed to perform analytics, they would have to extract the data from their PeopleSoft application and then manipulate it in Excel to provide valuable information for decision-making purposes. 

  • Focusing now on building out their analytics functionality, the company built pivot grid capability (which was embedded in PeopleSoft) on top of PeopleSoft Query, thereby allowing them to provide dashboards and charts with limited manipulation capabilities by the end-user. 
  • PeopleSoft also offered simplified analytics that furnished the end-user with the ability to establish their own analytics, within certain constraints. 
  • They have recently delivered to customers the ability to establish personalized analytics notifications. This feature allows the user to define thresholds levels, which if breached, would generate a notification to the user. 

To alleviate customer concerns regarding over-burdening their transactional database with data queries for analytics, PeopleSoft introduced Kibana Analytics.  Kibana is a technology that uses Elasticsearch indices to extract data from the database, store it in one or a few tables, and then transfer it to the Elasticsearch server. This server is usually used for search functions, so it is very efficient with large volumes of data, which augurs well for analytical functions.

Customizations

Customizations provide an experience that is personalized and tailored to the user’s needs. Customers have struggled tremendously with customizing their PeopleSoft application to suit those needs. Their biggest challenge was that if they needed the software to perform functions that it didn’t already have, it would require programmers to write or modify the core application. This increased risks and costs of customizing the system to their needs. PeopleSoft understood these challenges and implemented the following upgrades to the customization functionality: 

  • Additional configurable tools- most notably the page and field configurator. This meant that customers no longer needed to undertake costly tactical customizations to obtain the page format that was required due to business needs.
  • For non-configurable pages, PeopleSoft is working on delivering a framework that will allow customers to isolate those customizations in a manner that any maintenance work conducted, will not impact them at all.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle made significant investments to transition the PeopleSoft lifecycle management to the Oracle Cloud. They released a PeopleSoft application called the Oracle Cloud Manager, which can be used to completely automate the management of the functions across the entire spectrum of PeopleSoft lifecycle management. 

Key benefits that PeopleSoft customers receive from managing their environments with OCI include: 

  • Streamlining Maintenance Activities
  • Reducing Administrative Overheads
  • Improving Response Times
  • Reducing Manual Errors
  • Automating Pre / Post-Maintenance Tasks With On-Demand Capacity

Customers have seen a significant increase in their system’s performance and stability since transitioning to the Cloud. Oracle anticipates that within the next three years, over half of their PeopleSoft customers will have shifted their ecosystem’s infrastructure to the Cloud.

It is apparent from these updates that PeopleSoft has no intention of exiting the ERP space. By delivering an uncomplicated and intuitive user interface, they have managed to decrease the system’s running costs by 70% while also diminishing customization requirements by 40%.  Their customer-inspired innovation, constant investment in infrastructure, and a development team that is globally focused have positioned them well to be one of the most powerful ERP solution providers in the market. You can also read more on the Roadmap ahead for Oracle and PeopleSoft here.

What The Future Holds

Oracle has repeatedly stated that they are unequivocally committed to supporting and developing PeopleSoft, with their Lifetime Support, until at least December 2031, which is a soft date. They want to ensure that customers have at least 10 years of support. Their vision is to remain relevant in the market and retain their existing customers, which are over 5,000 across numerous industries and geographies. 

The PeopleSoft Roadmap that lies ahead remains strong and users can expect on-going development to continuously evolve.

They are demonstrating their commitment to PeopleSoft by safeguarding and expanding their suite of applications through: 

  • Steering Innovation To The Core PeopleSoft Applications – Their ambition is to revolutionize the way in which users interact with the applications. Oracle understands that the prevalent invasion of the internet has transformed the manner in which users command, interact, and execute data. PeopleTools is being formulated to address these technological expectations and requirements of the users.
  • Periodic PeopleTools Upgrades –  Targeted to improve user experience, decrease operational expenses, and expand lifecycle management tools. PeopleTools is slated to continue to evolve to keep up with the rapidly progressing digital landscape.
  • Expanding Support On Oracle’s State-Of-The-Art Technology Infrastructure – To enable PeopleSoft customer’s who migrated their ecosystems to the Cloud, to be able to access and execute critical business functions and data.
  • Capitalizing On Emerging Technologies – Harnessing the power of emerging technologies can assist with facilitating interactions, providing suggestions, executing transactions, or proffering guidance. The emergence of the Internet of Things is an example of such technology. The Internet of Things is a network of interconnected computing devices, including digital and mechanical machines that are assigned unique identifiers (UIDs) with the capability to transmit data to a system devoid of human intervention. PeopleSoft is also considering the value of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and possible natural language processing as potential options that could aid in enhancing the intuitiveness of their applications. 

The progression of PeopleSoft’s suite of applications over the last decade, coupled with their ambitious aspirations all wrapped up in a cloud of unequivocal support and backing of Oracle, leaves little doubt that the rumors of their demise are well, nothing but rumors. PeopleSoft has a loyal customer base that is continuing to grow as news spreads of their pioneering innovation in delivering an ERP system that strives to administer an intuitive user experience, robust analytics, customer-driven Selective Adoption, and a seamless transition to the Oracle Cloud.

 

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