How Dark is that "Cloud" Hanging Over PeopleSoft?

By Chad Wulf, PMP, Director of Consulting Services at Navigator

For nearly 30 years, PeopleSoft applications have been an integral part of running and managing the administrative functions of the world’s largest companies, governments, and universities.  It was a market leader based on its powerful framework and simplistic user-interface.  Sound funny given the current landscape?  Likely.  The introduction of software-as-a-service (SAAS) and cloud-based applications brought fresh competition to the table that established a new baseline for flexible user experiences and simplistic views of updating and managing enhancements to applications. PeopleSoft fell behind and was overshadowed by this new “Cloud”.  

These new applications set the standard for what was possible; however, they lagged behind in the full suite of features required by the largest and most complex organizations.  While they scrambled to develop features, PeopleSoft focused on developing strategies to address key gaps in its offering.  Now both solutions offer tremendous feature sets as well as flexible user interfaces and simplified application update processes.  While a new SAAS based application might be the correct choice for our client's business model and we are excited to help them make that transition, staying with their PeopleSoft investment has become more of a reality in the last couple years.  By partnering with our strong capability groups, Navigator’s PeopleSoft team is poised to provide tremendous value to our customers and is dedicated to helping our customers get the most return on their investment.    

No More Upgrades…EVER.   
Does that sound like PeopleSoft or a sales-pitch for a SAAS product?  Navigator is still helping clients manage traditional upgrade efforts as well as new implementations and, in fact, has several projects in the pipeline for this year.  However, these typical upgrades are nearing an end since version 9.2 is the last standard upgrade required by Oracle and support is guaranteed for this “final” version through December of 2027.  This is exciting for our customers.  Going forward a new concept called “Selective Adoption” allows the flexibility to choose both when and which updates to apply.  Unlike many cloud applications that force their code set to all users on a predefined time frame, PeopleSoft makes them available, but allows the customer to selectively adopt them when appropriate.  Going forward Navigator’s offering will transition to helping our clients establish and define clear strategies for managing these updates.  This includes leveraging the tools from our Project Management and Business Analysis and Process Design Capabilities to provide clear and repeatable procedures for assessing and adopting the changes.  

Personalized User Experience  
Mobile friendly applications are essential for end-user adoption outside of the standard power user. PeopleSoft has introduced a new Fluid Interface that allows their application to be optimized on a phone, tablet, or PC. This feature also allows for each user to create their own personalized portal to create work centers for the things they use most.  It also integrates with PeopleSoft notification and workflow engines to provide actionable alerts to managers when tasks require their attention.  Rather than be based on deep system navigation, this feature is focused on processes and work-streams.  Partnering with our Business Analysis and Process Design Capability will allow our team of PeopleSoft professionals to work collaboratively with our customers to develop strong methodologies for how to use these tools to enhance productivity.  Many clients are assessing SAAS products to gain these features, when they already own the tools, but simply are not taking advantage of them.  Additionally, our Organizational Change Management Capability will be an essential partner as we prepare various user groups to adopt these new features.   

Navigator Will Be There to Help
In the end, there is not a single solution that is correct for every business model.  Each organization must consider cost, existing investments, risk tolerances, required flexibility, and user demands as part of its administrative system strategy.  If moving to the cloud is the right choice, our PeopleSoft team’s deep system and business knowledge of the application will help our customers make the transition.  However, for those that want to get more from their existing investment and are looking to leverage Oracle’s promised 10 more years of support, we are excited to be positioned to help them do just that.