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RECONNECT 20: PeopleSoft Update from Paco Aubrejuan


Paco Aubrejuan, Senior Vice President of Oracle PeopleSoft, presented a PeopleSoft update during RECONNECT 20. Aubrejuan is responsible for the PeopleSoft Development team at Oracle. Before diving into the update, he praised his team, recognized the largest number of attendees that RECONNECT has ever recorded, and showed his appreciation to Quest for its work as a strategic partner for Oracle PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft Update and Commitment

According to Aubrejuan, he historically and continuously fields questions regarding Oracle’s investment in PeopleSoft.

  • Is Oracle still supporting PeopleSoft?
  • Am I safe in my investment in PeopleSoft?

The answer to both questions continues to be, “Yes.”

In 2006, there was a strategy shift from supporting PeopleSoft through 2013 to supporting PeopleSoft as long as the customers were running their businesses with it. The strategic commitment was called Applications Unlimited, and the product continues to receive support, as well as dedicated product development. Almost 15 years since the birth of Apps Unlimited, thousands of customers spanning organization size, industry, and location are running PeopleSoft.

Even though the cloud has emerged for businesses, Oracle is committed to a rolling 10 years of support for PeopleSoft. If there is ever a decision to remove the investment, customers will be notified 10 years ahead of time in order to make the changes that are best for their business. Customers who have been evolving with PeopleSoft over the past several years are set up well in the case that they move to the cloud.

One exception to the continuous release model is PeopleTools. It is on a 15-month release cycle. PeopleTools is an important part of the applications portfolio for several reasons. A couple of these include that PeopleTools is the space where technology certifications are done and security vulnerabilities are addressed. Even more importantly, it is where the enabling capabilities that are adopted by the applications are accomplished. This includes Search, Kibana, AI and ML, reporting, and UI. PeopleTools will continue to be a critical part of the PeopleSoft application suite because so much of the capability is delivered through PeopleTools on applications.

While PeopleSoft has the platform, the technology underpinnings, a good user interface, and lower cost through Selective Adoption, it also receives great attention in the realm of new feature development. In the last year, 15+ application images with over 280 features have been delivered. PeopleTools 8.58 was delivered, as were three PeopleSoft Cloud Manager Images. Additionally, chatbots and conversational interfaces have been delivered. Enabling technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have emerged from the integration with OracleDataScience.com. Over and over, PeopleSoft continues to deliver.

PeopleSoft’s Investment Strategy

There are two categories that drive the investment strategy.

First, strategic investments are intended to achieve a specific objective. The second investment is of a more tactical, functional nature as it is derived from customer interaction.

Strategic investments include the simplification and modernization of the user experience with PeopleSoft. This is a never-ending job. This area deserves continued investment, especially in the simplification of the applications, standardization of the frameworks that users use for notifications, and more, across applications. Components continue to be Fluidized and improved. PeopleTools 8.59 will receive changes in the Fluid framework, homepages, and navigation. Although important changes have been produced over the last several years, the work is not complete. PeopleTools is committed to this endeavor.

Another area of strategic investment is that of analytics. PeopleSoft is seeking to answer the challenge of getting data out of the system to help end users as they put data back into the system more effectively. There has been much investment over the past five years with embedded analytic technologies. Some of these include pivot grids, pagelets, the Personalized Analytic Notifications framework with thresholds and notifications, and Kibana analytics.

A third strategic investment is to deliver frameworks that allow configuration over customization or customization and extension which has very little cost for maintenance. Event Mapping and the Page and Field Configurator are examples of simple, tactical, yet highly impactful tools in this area.

Bringing down the cost and increasing efficiency of running PeopleSoft on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is the final major strategic investment. PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is a tool that allows you to do full lifecycle management of PeopleSoft on Oracle Cloud from a single pane of glass. It automates almost all of the lifecycle management process regarding moving to the cloud, spitting out new instances using templates, scaling, refreshes, maintenance, and upgrades. PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is an exciting area of investment.

Customer-Driven PeopleSoft Enhancements

In terms of customer-driven investments, the team is mainly focused on the Idea Space. The Idea Space on My Oracle Support is a collaborative environment that encourages customers to suggest enhancements, and for other customers to see, vote, and comment on the enhancement. While not the exclusive tool used for this purpose, Idea Space is the primary means for PeopleTools decisions regarding functional enhancements being made to the applications.

Another question Aubrejuan commonly receives is “What are the investments you are most excited for customers to begin using?”

For the purposes of this presentation, Aubrejuan discussed three game-changers.

First, Aubrejuan emphasized the power of Kibana. Kibana is an analytic framework that uses the Elasticsearch indices to do very fast, correlated, multi-dimensional reporting with impressive visualizations. With PeopleTools 8.58, Kibana dashboards can be used in PeopleSoft in context. Charts can be manipulated from within PeopleSoft. Charts and pagelets can be embedded in related content. Historically, customers have feared queries because they slow the database down. Kibana, in contrast, does not put any stress on the system.

Second, conversational interfaces have received investment. Integrating the Oracle Digital Assistant and cloud technology, with PeopleSoft has created an environment for building skills and APIs on the PeopleSoft side to allow you to deploy functional bots. Soon, the master bot will be available, which will essentially be a digital assistant. It will be able to navigate between skills categories to answer questions. Self-service interfaces will begin to blend the traditional pages application with bot and conversational interface technologies.

Third, running PeopleSoft on the Cloud is extremely exciting. There are opportunities in cloud technology that have never been possible in PeopleSoft. To explain, PeopleSoft has always been able to run on multiple types of hardware, databases, operating systems, but this freedom eliminates the potential for automating the infrastructure management process associated with the application. No common set of APIs or channel through software has been available. With OCI, everything that they were once able to do, is now available through API. Some things that were not even possible through manual means, can now be done through API. The level of efficiency and automation delivered with PeopleSoft Cloud Manager for managing PeopleSoft environments on the Cloud is quite exciting. It has helped customers drastically reduce the cost of both hardware and people needed for managing the various environments associated with PeopleSoft.

How to Stay Current with PeopleSoft

A few final questions often aimed at the senior vice president of Oracle PeopleSoft include, “What are other customers doing?”

People want to know if other customers are adopting the products being delivered. Aubrejuan referenced the PeopleSoft Innovators program, highlighting customers who have done cool things with new technologies from PeopleSoft. The best way to hear how customers are using PeopleSoft is to go to www.peoplesoftinfo.com and look under the tab for Customers and Innovators.

Another common question is, “How do I stay plugged in to what is happening in PeopleSoft with customers and product teams?”

Aubrejuan cited several useful resources:

  • Website: peoplesoftinfo.com
  • YouTube Channel: peoplesoftvfos.com
  • Online tools such as the Cumulative Feature Overview Tool and Planned Features and Enhancements for the PeopleSoft roadmap

Several customers are asking, “What about Cloud? What does it mean for me?”

When talking about adopting the cloud, the short answer is that the cloud is not going anywhere. It is a very important technology evolution in the tech industry and in enterprise computing in general. It is going to grow in importance, not shrink. That said, the cloud is not one-size-fits-all. For PeopleSoft customers, there are three approaches.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) allows the adoption of cloud technologies while maintaining control and business processes. The only change for customers is running PeopleSoft in the Cloud, which makes it cheaper, faster, better.

As developer tools have morphed into Platforms as a Service (PaaS), technologies are available via the cloud for PeopleSoft. These technologies are being leveraged within PeopleSoft. The Oracle Digital Assistant, for example, is a cloud-based technology for building chatbots, and the end user cannot tell where they are coming from.

The third way, and ultimately where customers will end up, is adopting cloud applications. These applications run on OCI using the technology discussed above, but they are run in the Cloud. Oracle is responsible for building, maintaining, and infrastructure management. The customer simply configures and uses them. Fusion applications are a primary cloud application product line.

Aubrejuan mentioned that Oracle aims to keep PeopleSoft customers happy as long as they choose to remain on-premise, and he hopes they will become happy Oracle Cloud customers when they decide to transition to the cloud.

To learn more, check out the RECONNECT 20 presentation and additional resources below.

Additional Resources

Join us next month for Quest Experience Week (QXW) as Quest celebrates its 25th anniversary with a FREE week of digital learning! QXW offers four jam-packed days of practical Oracle product learning for users of JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Oracle Cloud apps, and Oracle Database solutions. There’s something for everyone: strategic insights, practical product how-to sessions, customer case studies, and best practices.

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RECONNECT 20: PeopleSoft Update from Paco Aubrejuan