For a while, Oracle discussed a list of “Key Technology Drivers” for 2014. That list included Analytics, Cloud, Mobile, and Social components. Those targets were developed as a push for Oracle clients (PeopleSoft and eBusiness Suite (EBS)) to embrace the cloud and design a roadmap to get there. Around that time, it was obvious to me (and BTRG’s clients) that Oracle wanted to start a conversation about the cloud with every one of their existing clients; they seemed determined to lure clients away from their PeopleSoft and EBS investments by dangling shiny new cloud offerings in front of them. From my perspective, this was confusing to clients and had them doubting their current systems. I began to field questions such as “Should we upgrade?”, “Should we adopt a co-existence strategy?”, and “Should we make the jump to the cloud?” Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter answer to any of these questions—each is unique to every individual client and market sector.
What about PeopleSoft 9.2?
I went to breakfast a few months back in Chicago with Marc Weintraub, Oracle’s Senior Director of Product Strategy for PeopleSoft. For those that don’t know who Marc is, I highly suggest checking out his PeopleSoft Talks YouTube channel. Marc’s message was that Oracle has no plans to develop another major release (v9.3) unless there is a significant shift in technology. The way I interpret that is to assume v9.2 will be around for at least five more years. With the introduction of the PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM), clients can adopt new functionality and enhancements as early as every ten weeks. There is no longer the extended (typically three-year) wait until a new version of the application is released. Another game-changer in the newest release is the Fluid UI tool in PeopleTools 8.54. This tool enables PeopleSoft screens to adapt to almost all mobile devices. (I envision managers laying on the beach approving time for their reports with a few swipes on their tablet.) Major selling points of the cloud are the promise of no more big upgrades, faster time to value, and enhanced mobility. PeopleSoft PUM and Fluid UI answer those issues and remove them from the conversation.
My general advice to clients who currently use PeopleSoft is to stay with it. An upgrade to 9.2 with reduced customizations will give you cloud-like benefits without a complete and costly replacement of your system. PeopleSoft is a robust tool, let it work for you.
Curious about co-existing?
I often speak with clients that are in the process of developing a roadmap to the cloud but think it’s too early to move all of their critical business functions to a “new” product. After more than 20 years, PeopleSoft is thoroughly vetted; running the software entails minimal risk. On the other hand, cloud solutions are still a few steps behind on the stability track. With that in mind, there are a few business processes that make sense for clients looking to test the cloud model, including round Recruiting, Performance, Compensation and Procurement.
Taleo is a solid product that many users have come to prefer over PeopleSoft TAM and Candidate Gateway modules. Compensation and Performance seem to be equally matched between PeopleSoft and the Cloud offering, with the exception of a few bells and whistles tipping the scale in the cloud product’s favor. Procurement is another area with a ton of strong cloud solutions. Oracle’s Procurement Cloud is a made up of four main focuses: Strategic Sourcing, Contract Management, Procurement, and Supplier Management. These combined functions can tackle the most complex procurement needs of any organization and integrates seamlessly with existing PeopleSoft modules.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into the cloud world is to start with the aforementioned modules. Implement in a co-existing environment and gauge your organization’s appetite to operate in the cloud. From there, you’ll have a clearer picture if a full cloud solution will be right for you.
Ready for the cloud right now?
While some companies prefer to wade out into the cloud waters, others are ready to take a dive into the deep end. I have clients that possess a clear focus on adopting a cloud model now. While that might sound radical, I truly believe that’s the best choice for certain organizations. For some clients, a wholesale move to the cloud offers better business value, increased compliance, and simplified maintenance right off the bat. In order to actually take advantage of this shift, I believe that the right cloud company needs to be one of minimum complexity, have a need for a standardization of business processes, and can benefit from a reduced internal support staff. If this describes your organization, congratulations, because most clients can’t get past the “minimum complexity” factor. Good luck in embracing the future in the cloud.
Your partner matters.
The critical piece involved with the choice to go in any of these directions is engaging the right partner. Your selected partner needs to have extensive experience in all three areas and have demonstrated knowledge of the downstream effects of each direction. At BTRG, we often hear of clients that have purchased software heading in one direction only to cancel the project and turn back after uncovering missing functionality or business processes that just can’t be overlooked. That’s an expensive waste of time and a threat to your career. At BTRG, we do have the experience with each of these paths, and would love to have a conversation with you about which might be the best option for your organization.
Troy Villemaire is the Regional Vice President at BTRG and has helped match clients with the right PeopleSoft and Cloud solutions for 15 years. He works closely with Oracle reps, past and present PeopleSoft clients, and BTRG’s functional and technical consultants to gather critical information to provide customers with the most current information and point them in a direction that is optimal for their specific needs.