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McMaster University Shares Their Experience with Selective Adoption

Quest had the opportunity to talk with McMaster University about their Selective Adoption strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Have clearly defined roles
  • Adopt a ‘culture of change’
  • Present opportunities to business clients in a real and attainable manner

About McMaster University:

McMaster University was founded in 1887 and is located in Hamilton, Ontario. It is a medical-doctoral, research-intensive university with 28,000 full-time students, 955 full-time faculty members and 11,000 staff members. The University is currently using HCM Image 23 PeopleTools 8.55.05, FSCM Image 25 PeopleTools 8.55.05, Interaction Hub Image 2 PeopleTools 8.55.12, Campus Solutions 9.0 PeopleTools 8.55.12, EPM (DW) 9.1 PeopleTools 8.55.03, Custom PeopleTools Dev. (Bolt On) PeopleTools 8.55.05 and Hyperion 11.1.2.3.700.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY’S SELECTIVE ADOPTION STRATEGY LOOK LIKE?

As Oracle releases updates, teams in all streams review a cumulative feature overview. The Oracle overview videos of each PUM release are also reviewed to gain a better visual of upcoming new features. Teams in each stream will keep up to date on all bug fixes and patches that have been released. Most importantly, they will monitor the fixes from Oracle where customizations have been implemented in our respective production environments. Once released, they are prioritized to be downloaded and tested to retire the organization’s customizations.

When exploring new features for Selective Adoption, teams review the dependencies/pre-requisites to apply the new features. They then determine if Selective Adoption is the most viable and resource efficient way to implement the new feature. For example, if a new feature requires 200 bug fixes or patches to apply, teams may hold off on applying this feature and instead look to the next “Get Current” initiative as the means to import that feature.

We plan to do “Get Currents” yearly (Bringing our streams up to the latest -1 image). Then, throughout the year, we plan on using Selective Adoption to correct bugs that Oracle has identified and fixed; then introduce or enhance new features delivered in Image updates throughout the year.

HOW DID YOU DEFINE YOUR SELECTIVE ADOPTION STRATEGY? DID YOU INVOLVE A PARTNER, OR DID YOU DEFINE YOUR STRATEGY IN-HOUSE?

Our Selective Adoption strategy was defined in-house. Oracle Support and user group communities fielded some questions. Initially, the strategy was defined somewhat organically by requiring Oracle bug fixes/patches along with Tax Updates on a regular basis.

The following points are examples of what we would consider before implementing a Selective Adoption change:

  • How urgently is a bug fix/patch/new feature in a new PUM release required by the business and/or organization as a whole?
  • What is the work effort required to implement the Selective Adoption package?
    • Testing Effort – High number of dependencies/pre-requisites requires a more in-depth testing initiative. If that testing effort needs to be duplicated in a few months for the next ‘Get Current’ initiative, the team may hold off on implementing the Selective Adoption fix/new feature.
    • Technical/Resource availability to implement
    • What is the organizational return on investment (ROI) for implementing via Selective Adoption as opposed to waiting for the next ‘Get Current’ initiative?

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE TO DATE WITH PEOPLESOFT UPDATE MANAGER AND SELECTIVE ADOPTION?

Our general experience has been positive with PUM and Selective Adoption implementations. There have been a few instances where it was not viable to apply a new feature or fix via Selective Adoption as the dependencies were too great and the decision was made to wait to bring in the fix/new feature as part of the next “Get Current” process. Bug fixes/patches are generally very easy to apply efficiently and quickly. Having the flexibility to apply small updates without having to apply a full image is beneficial.

HOW HAVE YOUR TECHNICAL (SYSTEM MAINTENACNE) BUSINESS PROCESSES CHANGED SINCE SELECTIVE ADOPTION?

We have moved in a positive direction as it relates to adopting a “culture of change” whereby an update, fix or new feature is always on the horizon and system atrophy is not acceptable. In doing so, the technical team has been strong proponents of process change and system improvements as it pertains to providing our business stakeholders with vision and opportunity for overall process improvements. We still have more work to do to ensure that business processes keep up with technological advancements. The flexibility of Selective Adoption certainly helps to facilitate that initiative.

HOW HAVE YOUR FUNCTIONAL (FEATURE ADOPTION) BUSINESS PROCESSES CHANGED SINCE SELECTIVE ADOPTION?

While not every new feature is implemented or considered by our business stakeholders, Selective Adoption allows us to at least present the opportunity to our business clients in a very real and attainable manner. Going back to our “culture of change” initiative, with PUM images being released multiple times throughout the year, we can easily keep our business clients excited about potential opportunities to leverage technology in order to improve organizational processes and create as many efficiencies as possible.

HOW, IF ANY, ARE YOUR TECHNICAL AND FUNCTIONAL TEAMS WORKING TOGETHER WITH SELECTIVE ADOPTION?

The tie between technical and functional teams at McMaster is very close and Selective Adoption helps to positively facilitate that relationship. The cycle required to apply, test and implement Selective Adoption packages efficiently requires all parties to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently.

 WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A CUSTOMER THAT’S ABOUT TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF SELECTIVE ADOPTION?

We would advise a customer to start with a “Get Current” – application(s) update first. The Selective Adoption is straightforward enough to accommodate once the applications and Tools version is current. This exercise should be completed every 12-24 months to ensure the number of dependencies and pre-requisites for Selective Adoption implementations is minimal. My suggestion would be to have clearly defined roles throughout the process with clearly defined responsibilities to ensure that all stakeholders have a tertiary understanding of what the other stakeholders are doing. We would encourage everyone to ‘speak the same language’ and understand that your first attempt may be “bumpy.” Oracle documentation is very helpful, but customizations and variances in infrastructure, coupled with a learning curve of applying change packages can result in a longer than expected application/test/implementation process out of the gate.

HOW ARE YOU ROLLING OUT NEW FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITIES TO YOUR END USERS?

Our technical team works closely with our business partners to roll-out new features/functionalities. Our general approach is to present the new feature/functionality via a features video or a demonstration in a demo environment, determine the impact of the new feature to the system users and apply the new feature to our test environments. We then allow our end-users to be part of User Acceptance Testing where applicable and gather feedback for possible improvements before roll-out. Then we communicate the change effectively via various methods to our end-users.

DO YOU OR YOUR COMPANY PARTICIPATE IN FOCUS GROUPS FOR THE PEOPLESOFT PRODUCTS? IF SO, WHAT BENEFIT DOES THIS HAVE?

Yes – Many of our employees are actively involved in Oracle Focus Groups. The benefit is that it provides our teams with insight into what is coming from Oracle and provides our organization with an opportunity to voice our opinions on which feature would be most beneficial to our organization specifically. In short, it gives our organization the chance to drive particular product change/development from Oracle. Furthermore, it has created some great networking opportunities with other Oracle organization partners.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR COMPANY’S SOLUTION IN THE NEXT TWO TO THREE YEARS?

We aim to use the Oracle Public Cloud to implement a Dev/Ops methodology for quicker deployment of new features, patches, and enhancements.

Would you like to share your own story with the Quest community? Contact us and Quest staff will get in touch!