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RECONNECT Envision 21: Interactive Discussion on PeopleSoft's Investment Strategy & Roadmap

PeopleSoft RECONNECT Envision

At RECONNECT Envision 21, Rebekah Jackson, Vice President of Product Strategy for Oracle PeopleSoft, hosted an interactive discussion on the PeopleSoft investment strategy and roadmap.

The product team at PeopleSoft has two main objectives when it comes to product strategy:

  • Increase value for the line of business
  • Reduce operational cost

The best way for PeopleSoft’s team to know that its deliverables are achieving these objectives is to communicate with customers. Therefore, Jackson engaged in an interactive discussion with customers during RECONNECT Envision 21. During her session, Jackson posed multiple-choice and open-ended questions to attendees and spoke with Tony Schollum, Executive Director of OneLink Finance & Technology at Kaiser Permanente. He also serves as Vice Chair of Quest Oracle Community Board of Directors.

Kibana

Jackson opened the investment strategy dialogue by polling attendees regarding their interest in Kibana. The results are as follows:

  • Already live or working on it – 9%
  • Plan to start in the next 6 months – 11%
  • Plan to start in the next 7-12 months – 20%
  • Sometime in the future, 12+ months away – 15%
  • Not sure yet – 38%
  • Do not plan to use – 7%

To those who use or intend to use it, the next question posed was, “What draws you to Kibana?”

Attendee answers included the following:

  • One-stop-shop for analytic reporting because of external data integration
  • Low or no risk to database performance
  • Low cost of implementation due to the elastic stack
  • COVID analytics
  • Simplicity of use for the administrator
  • Oracle delivered it, and we want to use everything Oracle delivers

Each of these customer answers aligns with PeopleSoft’s hopes for Kibana utilization.

On this subject, Schollum said that Kaiser Permanente will upgrade to PeopleTools 8.58 in September, enabling them to use Kibana. They expect to begin using the analytics tool in the next 7–12 months. With millions of transactions for 150,000+ users, the most enticing quality of Kibana to Kaiser is its ability to run without risking database performance.

Schollum answered, “It depends.” He expects to use Kibana in data-intensive areas. Some of these areas include Buy to Pay, Finance, and entities in locations with DL passing of the business. Slice and dice views with real-time or near real-time analytics through Kibana will increase the value of the business. His team intends to use PeopleSoft-delivered dashboards in order to avoid customizations.

PeopleSoft delivered and roadmapped dashboards include:

  • ERP
    • Procurement Contracts
    • Purchasing Effectiveness
    • Purchasing Operations
    • Payables Early Detection & Monitoring
    • Liabilities Trend Analysis
    • Operational Insights for Accounting
    • Financial Balance Trending
    • Financial Performance Analysis
    • AR Collection Analysis
    • AR Collector Performance
    • AR Aging Analysis
    • Billing Revenue Analysis
    • Budgets vs Actuals for Dept Managers & Controller’s Office
    • Maintenance Supervisor
    • Travel & Expenses
  • HCM
    • HR Workforce Equity
    • HR Workforce Composition
    • HR Health & Safety Incidents
    • Recruiting Application Details
    • Payroll for North America
    • Global Payroll
    • Benefit Plans Enrollment Utilization
    • Absence Management Events & Processed Absences
    • Time & Labor Reported Time & Payable Time
    • Learning Enrollment & Registration
    • HR HelpDesk Case Management
    • Recruiter Applicant Pipeline
    • Remote Worker
    • Vaccinations

Jackson probed the audience with the question, “Is there anything that you have not seen on the roadmap that you would like PeopleSoft to deliver a dashboard for? What should we deliver to help you?”

Some answers included:

  • Picking productivity
  • User productivity
  • Workflow & approvals management

Next, Schollum weighed in. He believes analyzing efficiency within transaction process (amount of time or productivity by user) would round Kibana out in terms of capabilities.

Ongoing Evolution of the User Experience

Initially, Fluid was created for the casual user. It has evolved over time to deliver tools and features for a wide variety of use cases. Over 75% of attendees agreed that the new look and feel of PeopleTools 8.59 is great! When Jackson asked what the next steps should be, comments included:

  • The overall look and feel is good, but the tile images are too simple
  • Add more and more drop zones
  • Add more Fluid pages in Finance

Appreciative of attendee participation, Rebekah explained that the tile adjustment was made in order to modernize and simplify in accordance with where the industry is moving.

Another poll asked, “For those using Fluid, how has it affected your end users’ satisfaction with the PeopleSoft experience?”

  • Improved or increased end user satisfaction – 57%
  • No change to end user satisfaction – 10%
  • Reduced end user satisfaction – 4%
  • Haven’t deployed Fluid yet – 29%
  • No plans to deploy Fluid – 0%

Schollum explained that Fluid was extremely well-received at Kaiser. Several years ago, they moved to Fluid tiles, homepages, navigation, and converted everything to Classic Plus that wasn’t already Fluid. They especially wanted to apply it to key high-use areas.

In the areas that are Fluid, Kaiser has received positive feedback. If the team had carte blanche, they would have continued on a path to Fluidized everything. However, the company only makes these types of all-encompassing leaps every ten years.

Mobile

Jackson polled the audience on utilizing mobile apps for PeopleSoft, and 62% said yes, while another 6% were actively working on it.

In terms of mobile application, Kaiser uses a targeted approach for all technology, not just PeopleSoft. The org was looking at one corporate app with mobile capability for all employees. They aim to move the casual user, manager, and approver to mobile. The only areas that may not make sense for mobile use are heavy data areas. such as accounts payable processor or purchasing. They intend to expand mobile as they go,

Jackson backed Kaiser’s approach of saying yes to mobile, but not to everything in mobile. This is a valid strategy.

Chatbots

The next poll asked about deploy chatbots with PeopleSoft.

  • Already live or actively working on it – 4%
  • Plan to start within the next 6 months – 2%
  • Plan to start within the next 7-12 months – 5%
  • Sometime in the future, 12+ months away – 10%
  • Not sure yet – 55%
  • Do not plan to use – 23%

The Kaiser team has just completed a pilot with chatbots. They are targeting mid-year for use of PeopleSoft-delivered chatbot skills with a custom-developed link to FAQs. They will evaluate chatbot features as part of annual PUM cycles. The team expects to use a mix of delivered and tailored skills.

Early chatbots insights point to opportunities to reduce cost and improve efficiency at the same time. Kaiser gets around 40,000 HelpDesk tickets per year. They are planning to use chatbots in addition to Guided Learning to move thousands of user interactions away from supports in order to drive efficiency. They see chatbots as a means for providing a faster, better customer experience as well as increasing efficiencies in support.

Reducing Operation Cost

There are four stages from manual to automated lifecycle management. Rebekah asked attendees, “What stage will you be at in 6 months (by Oct 2021)?”

  • Stage 1: Using selection adoption and PUM – 74%
  • Stage 2: Running in OCI (or moving to it) – 13%
  • Stage 3: Automated operations and policies – 3%
  • None: Not on 9.2 or have not yet changed operational processes – 10%

Fortunately, just before OCI offerings came out, Kaiser upgraded infrastructure to run on-prem on the Oracle Applications. They will use this for a few more years. In the future, they will assess and determine their route to move more fully to the Cloud. OCI may be a part of that picture. They are already dabbling in AI/ML concepts. They hope to see PeopleSoft embed more of these capabilities in the app.

Jackson asked the audience, “What barriers keep you from progressing to a more advanced and efficient stage? How are you leveraging OCI?”

  • Currently leveraging OCI to build more integrations for best of breed SAAS applications
  • We’ve been on Sequel Server since we went live, long before Oracle. We have to get that converted first (Platform consideration is a valid category for decision-making).
  • Cost of moving to the Cloud
  • It helps with resource constraints, but resource constraints make it difficult to get there.

As you work through decisions for lowering the cost of running PeopleSoft and tapping into Cloud capabilities, the Cloud can be used to support different use cases. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition. If you make a deliberate decision to run production on-prem, you can still use training, patching, dev-and-test, disaster recovery, etc., on OCI.

Kaiser appreciates the options that Oracle has presented. They’ve taken away a burning platform mentality by ensuring support through at least 2032. While others might fear that it would become outdated, the PeopleSoft team has delivered features and functions to remove this argument. Furthermore, you can run it on OCI in case you have infrastructure issues. PeopleSoft provides a set of options to continue leveraging savings on the PeopleSoft investment while charting a path for the future.

Jackson addressed the cost considerations customers presented above. This is where PeopleSoft partners have done a lot of work with OCI. They help customers lift and shift in a couple of months for a relatively low cost. While cost constraints are real and require effort, there is a group of partners that can help lower the cost, timeline, and other resource equations.

Jackson put another question out there. “We’ve been doing a lot to integrate Oracle Cloud capabilities with PeopleSoft (Oracle Digital Assistant, Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Guided Learning…). Are there other Cloud capabilities with Oracle that should be integrated with PeopleSoft?”

Schollum has a team that is looking at analysis of match exceptions to see if Analytics Cloud can help spot better trends. They’re excited about it.

To wrap up, Jackson asked, “Looking ahead, what investments would you like to see PeopleSoft make, in areas where we aren’t already focused? Any new info, tools, or resources that would be helpful for PeopleSoft to provide?”

  • More PTF
  • Integration of Oracle Apex with PeopleSoft
  • Monitoring supply demand

Key Takeaways

During the presentation, Schollum compared PeopleSoft’s product rollout to a streaming video experience. “It’s as though you just watched an amazing episode, and then a box pops up to say, ‘A new episode is starting in 5 seconds. Look at this new episode…’” New functionality is exciting, and it creates anticipation for PeopleSoft customers.

As PeopleSoft continues to deliver products with an aim to increase value for the line of business & reduce operational cost, customer interaction is invaluable to measuring these objectives. The dialogue inspires and motivates the product team to deliver for their customers. As for the future, Jackson says she can’t overstate the product team’s level of energy for the future of Oracle. There is much more to come.

Additional Resources

Join us on October 4-7, 2021, for RECONNECT Dive Deep! Picking up from where RECONNECT Envision ends, RECONNECT Dive Deep completes our two-part virtual PeopleSoft conference series. PeopleSoft users of all levels can dig into new releases, dive deep into practical learning, get new ideas from best practices and hone their core PeopleSoft skills during four jam-packed digital days of education and networking. Register today!

Call for Presentations for RECONNECT Dive Deep is now open until June 28th! Submit an abstract to be considered for selection!

RECONNECT Envision 21: Interactive Discussion on PeopleSoft's Investment Strategy & Roadmap