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Innovation Week: PeopleSoft Product Update and Strategy

During Quest Forum Digital Event: Innovation Week, Paco Aubrejuan, Senior Vice President of Oracle Applications, presented a PeopleSoft product update and elaborated on the current strategies for PeopleSoft. He began by reassuring customers that the PeopleSoft team is ready and available to help with COVID-related issues and requirements. He expressed appreciation for the men and women who are on the frontlines during this crisis and acknowledged that their work is extremely important and valued.

PeopleSoft’s Response to COVID-19

The PeopleSoft team is maintaining as much flexibility as possible in order to help customers respond to the crisis. They have released COVID-10 resources via www.peoplesoftinfo.com. Simply click on the banner at the bottom of the page to see the highest priority resources.

Recent announcements in response to COVID-19:

  • COVID-19 response page published on peoplesoftinfo.com
    • Priorities include payroll legislation, COVID requirements, and Info Center
  • Extended PeopleTools 8.56 patch support through April 2021
  • Extended Microfocus Cobol migration through April 2021
  • Moved Dec. 2020 de-support date for Classic pages to Dec. 2021, including Fluid ePro

PeopleSoft Product Update and Strategy

PeopleSoft is a viable product with positive engagement between Oracle and customers. In a 2006 decision called Applications Unlimited, PeopleSoft made the decision to continue to support and invest in the product line with no planned end date. That commitment and the continued upholding of that commitment has helped both product teams and customers to make the investments in either the products themselves or how the products are being used in order to leverage the best value.

Although this is effective, PeopleSoft believes customers will eventually move to cloud solutions for greater cost efficiency. Aubrejuan explained that a shift has happened and continues to occur in the market regarding cloud adoption. This is a fundamentally different model that ultimately lowers the cost for the customer to consume software.

The move will take time, and several customers may not migrate for several years. In order to continue to support customers with new features, capabilities, and product support, Oracle created a rolling 10 years of Premier Support. At the time of this presentation, support was guaranteed through at least 2031.

According to Paco, there are two areas of investment for ongoing customer-centric enhancements. The first is that of strategic investment, regarding a number of product tools that are required over a period of time. This includes simplification and modernization, analytics, cloud and emerging technologies, and reduction of cost through new frameworks to eliminate customizations. The second area of investment includes customer-driven enhancements. Customer-driven enhancements are product-specific features, technology improvements, and 175+ features sourced from the Idea Spaces on My Oracle Support.

Conversational Interfaces

Recent investments have been made in conversational interfaces. Oracle bases a portion of in-house planning on what is occurring in the consumer world—how are consumers interacting with online companies? Currently, consumers are interacting with conversational interfaces instead of engaging with form-based screens. Oracle believes users should be able to use these same technologies in the corporate enterprise.

The PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Framework was delivered about six months ago. It involves a combination of capabilities delivered in PeopleTools 8.57.07 or later, as well as some common component capabilities in both HCM Image 31 and FSCM Image 33. This framework allows the customer to integrate to Oracle Digital Assistant—the technology for chatbots—with Oracle on the Cloud. Secure integrated capabilities take effect.

As far as chatbots go, more delivered content equals greater value for the customer. If a chatbot can handle more employee requests, people are able to effectively approach other tasks. The image below lays out the current HCM and FSCM roadmap for Chatbot.

Notifications and Delegations

Two more simplification tactics are notifications and delegations. To keep work moving, people need to be notified about what they need to do, wherever they are, and they need to be able to delegate when they’re away.

Notifications have always been important, but they haven’t always been easy to use. Starting with PeopleTools 8.58, Oracle delivered standardized notifications through a central configuration tool. This gives the administrative user the ability to set channels for notifications along with defaults and/or mandatory settings. The employee can set the delivery of notifications. Channels available are text messages (from a partnership with Twilio), notification window (in-app), or email. The recipient can take action directly from the notification.

Previously, delegations contained challenges of uneven capabilities and inconsistencies across the board. For example, HCM had a delegation system that was not fluid, and FSCM had no delegation solution. Fluid Delegation as a single, centralized delegation system has now been delivered as a solution to these issues.

PeopleTools 8.58

Several of the solutions discussed in this post were delivered in PeopleTools 8.58. PeopleTools 8.58 is now available for download for all channels. With Patch 3, it is available for on-premise. Some of the most notable enhancements include:

The image below shows an update to the login screen. The look will continue to change with 8.59 to further enhance the user experience.

Analytics

Oracle has been working with several analytics technologies over time. PS Query is the foundation for the way that data is retrieved from the database. It is not very user friendly, but it is quite powerful for IT. Several years ago, pivot grids were added to allow customers to view information in context with the transaction. It, too, has IT needs. It is embedded in the application and used by the end user. Oracle took this a step further with Simplified Analytics. With this tool, IT defines a pivot grid model, but the end user utilizes simplified analytics in the related content pane to create their own analytics based on that model. The user can also pick fields and assign additional display settings. In PeopleTools 8.57, Personalize Analytic Notifications took this even further, allowing a user to set thresholds on an analytic and automatically get notified when the threshold has been exceeded—even if the user is offline.

Even with each of these steps building upon one another, there were gaps. Gaps included a limited ability for data exploration, a limited data visualization palette, the potential for a long wait with query results, the negative performance impact on transactional database, and limited time-based analysis available.

To address these issues, PeopleSoft delivered Kibana Visualizer. It is a sister technology to Elasticsearch. Kibana uses the Elasticsearch indexes to drive analytics. Many visualizations are available with ease of use and the ability to transform content into tiles. The Kibana Visualizer is highly optimized for speed, with no load on the transactional database. There is no added cost or separate license for the implementation of Kibana. The requirement is PeopleTools 8.58, and on the application side, there are 118 existing search indices with more to come. Some indexes will receive upgrades to enhance their analytic use.

Check out Aubrejuan’s demonstration of Kibana in the video below.

Kibana and Pivot Grids have several similarities. The following image displays a comparison of their features:

For customers who are using Elastic indexes, Kibana is easy to roll into. It may necessitate a look at the size of their elastic servers. Projects across both HCM and FSCM are expected to deliver.

Oracle Cloud

There are three different ways customers are adopting Oracle Cloud. First, customers are taking a “lift and shift” approach, moving their entire PeopleSoft environment to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Second, customers are taking advantage of the technologies being delivered on Oracle Cloud and consuming them in PeopleSoft. Third and strategic for both entities, customers are adopting Oracle Cloud Applications.

While PeopleSoft expected customers to use OCI for development and testing while keeping production on-premise, more customers are actually moving full production onto OCI. Based on the infrastructure cost differential and the effort cost differential, Aubrejuan expects over half of PeopleSoft customers to be running OCI in the next five years.

Another area that has received much investment is the technology being delivered by Oracle Cloud. Oracle Cloud includes:

  • Digital Assistants
  • Database
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things

PeopleSoft Cloud Manager

Oracle began building a lights-out solution to manage all aspects of PeopleSoft lifecycle management on OCI in an automated fashion around four years ago. The solution is called PeopleSoft Cloud Manager. It has received the largest investment of any single area from a lifecycle management standpoint.

PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is delivered as an appliance application on OCI. There are three releases per year. The solution handles the following:

  • Migration from On-Premise to the Cloud
  • Cloud Computing
  • Self-Service Provisioning
  • Life Cycle Management

Oracle Cloud Data Science Platform

There is new capability to integrate PeopleSoft with the Oracle Cloud Data Science Platform. The company datascience.com was acquired by Oracle a couple of years ago. The ability has been ported onto OCI. Through this new data distribution framework, users can identify, flatten, and deliver data to the Oracle Cloud Data Science Platform for AI/ML modeling. It is another example of using Elasticsearch to leverage query and PS Search Framework to mine data out of PeopleSoft, flatten it with Elasticsearch, deliver it into the Elasticsearch repository, from which the Oracle Data Science platform picks it up and models. Oracle is looking for customers to work on AI/ML use cases for PeopleSoft. The infrastructure layer is complete. Opportunities to build and deliver models within PeopleSoft are to come.

Asset Monitoring

The other area of investment is Asset Monitoring with the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud allows the customer’s assets to be instrumented. It then monitors those assets in real-time, sensor-based model with mapping. Customers can track the assets, look at event prediction, and automate creation for maintenance alerts in PeopleSoft.

Cloud Applications

Oracle’s Cloud leadership and momentum are evident by the numbers. There are thousands of customers both on ERP and HCM running cloud applications. These are no longer new products. To prove this, there are four releases per year, over 1,000 cloud applications, and millions of users taking advantage of cloud apps. They are more than ready for use.

Key Takeaway

Based on Aubrejuan’s presentation of the PeopleSoft product update and strategy, customers who have updated to 8.58 have a number of impressive tools and features at their fingertips. Some of these include the PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Framework, Data Distribution Framework, and Kibana visualizations. Customers can reduce and eliminate customizations with Drop Zones, the AppEngine Plugin, and Event Mapping enhancements. Furthermore, there is advanced reporting available, as well as enhanced Fluid UI features. With the delivered tools and those to come, now is the time for customers to leverage PeopleTools for their own gain.

To learn more, check out Aubrejuan’s Innovation Week presentation and the additional resources attached below.

Additional Resources

It’s all new, all digital this year for RECONNECT 20! Dive deep into PeopleSoft learning, chat with the experts, connect with other users, and meet the solutions providers. Join us online from October 5-8, 2020, and be sure to register before September 21 to take advantage of Early Bird pricing!