Derek Tomei is in charge of Professional Services for the Oracle Line of Business at Velocity. Derek has over eighteen years of experience in the PeopleSoft and the Oracle space and is well known and respected by his PeopleSoft Peers, Oracle partners and their customers.
 
Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise applications have rapidly evolved over the past several years.  In particular, the latest release of PeopleSoft 9.2 and the recent release of the PeopleSoft 9.1 Feature pack have significant enhancements and changes in functionality, scalability, usability, and a lower maintenance cost of ownership.
 
Whether your PeopleSoft application is Human Capital Management (HCM) or Financial Supply Change Management (FSM), upgrading to the latest release of your PeopleSoft application can allow your organization to leverage new key functionality and usability through the latest technology.
 
Here are a few reasons why your organization may decide to upgrade to the latest release of PeopleSoft:
 
  • Upgrading to a new release can lower your organization’s total cost of ownership by taking advantage of new functionality, thereby allowing you to retire and eliminate customizations.
  • The newer release offers many technology performance and usability enhancements  that will increase the overall efficiency of your business processes and your application.
  • Upgrading to the latest release allows your organization to remain on the latest support level from Oracle.
Once you decide to upgrade your PeopleSoft application, there are many complex and interrelated factors to consider such as your organization’s resource availability, budget, project duration and overall organizational impact. All of these factors should be carefully reviewed to ensure you implement the best and most appropriate upgrade strategy.  
 
Here are a few best practices you should consider:
 
Understand the Upgrade Process and Determine Your Upgrade Path
Ensure that all team members and process owners of your application thoroughly understand the overall upgrade process.  An upgrade project is very similar to an implementation project; however, an upgrade project is more efficient than implementations because it leverages your previous implementation efforts and outputs. Depending on your existing version of PeopleSoft, you may choose to perform a standard upgrade or a re-implementation.  Many customers that are on much older versions of PeopleSoft have chosen to perform a re-implementation.  The advantage of this approach allows customers to eliminate most if not all of their customizations that have been replaced with existing functionality.
 
Treat Your Upgrade Project as any Formal Company Project 
In order to ensure the success of your upgrade, the planning and project management rigor is extremely important.  A structured approach for managing upgrade tasks, resolving issues, and measuring progress is absolutely critical. 
 
Review and Grasp all New Capabilities and Features
A critical review and assessment of the new features and enhancements compared to your current release is crucial in understanding the value of investing in an upgrade and determining the best path.  This can result in the retirement of many of your organization’s customizations.  
 
For example, PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 contains many new features such as activity guides and work centers.  Work Centers are one of the newest improvements that customers find most valuable.  Work Centers are designed to dramatically improve the effectiveness by consolidating user tasks, exceptions, alerts, links, reports, and queries into a single, secure, role based, cockpit style “command center” that can be personalized via end user configuration.
 
Evaluate your Technical Infrastructure
As part of your upgrade strategy, you should consider your technical infrastructure requirements, including client architecture, application server, web services, and database options.  For example, by choosing to leverage cloud technology and the new Fusion Middleware and database options, you could experience substantial benefits by having your database and application server running on a single platform. 
One of the most significant changes in the technical infrastructure of PeopleSoft 9.2 is the introduction of the PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUD).  This is one area where most customers get stumped during the upgrade.  The PUD is required to apply maintenance and fixes to their environments and significantly transforms the upgrade process. 
 
Determine When to Change or Add Business Processes
Upgrading to a new release can lower your organization’s total cost of ownership by leveraging new functionality, thereby allowing you to retire and eliminate customizations. In addition, a newer release offers many technology performance and usability enhancements that will increase the overall efficiency of your business processes and your application.  One critical decision for your upgrade project is whether you will implement the new functionality as part of the upgrade, or upgrade your current processes without change, and implement new functionality as a follow-on project.
 
PeopleSoft 9.2 has new features and functionality designed to help users work more efficiently and get their work done quicker.  The new functionality and features, such as Work Centers, Activity Guides, and several other new Dashboards for recruiting and manager self-service, should motivate you to change your business processes and take full advantage of the benefits.