Power to the People
Customer feedback and Web 2.0 drive new version of PeopleSoft applications.
Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 is the most significant release in the last decade for PeopleSoft applications customers. With the release of nearly all major PeopleSoft applications and PeopleSoft PeopleTools components in fall 2009—including PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.50; PeopleSoft Enterprise Learning Management 9.1; PeopleSoft Financials 9.1; and release 9.1 of PeopleSoft human capital management, customer relationship management, and supply chain management solutions—the response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers are praising the myriad enhancements that allow them to increase productivity, accelerate business performance, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
“The new PeopleSoft user interface is cleaner and the navigation friendlier,” says Kiely Keane-Alt, information systems supervisor, applications, at the San Diego County Water Authority. “Coupled with Web 2.0 features such as hover-over content and type-ahead searching, our users will find their PeopleSoft experience enhanced and their productivity increased.”
PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 includes 21 new solutions and 1,350 new features. Customers are particularly impressed with the new user experience delivered with PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.50, featuring an enhanced and updated interface that includes Web 2.0-based collaboration tools such as discussion forums, wikis, and chat. In addition, the new embedded collaboration tools and embedded analytics make it easier to act on data relative to a transaction and provide strong ROI by improving productivity and employee engagement.
Because PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.50 is backward compatible with older PeopleSoft applications releases, customers can realize the benefits of improved productivity without the immediate need to upgrade their applications. This helps lower TCO. Customers also applaud the more than 200 industry-specific features in the latest release for education and research, public sector, retail, and professional services.
“Our customers get excited when their users get excited,” says Paco Aubrejuan, vice president and general manager of PeopleSoft at Oracle. “And users will get excited about the new user experience. It’s much easier and much more productive, and it’s going to make people want to use the software.” According to Aubrejuan, Oracle OpenWorld 2009 sessions dedicated to PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 were packed, and booth demonstrations were standing room only. “The best part is seeing customers’ reactions when they see the functionality and capabilities they’ve asked for reflected in the final product,” he says.
The robust talent-management features of release 9.1 of PeopleSoft human capital management solutions are also garnering attention from users and analysts. The features help define and visualize organizational goals and cascade specific objectives to one or more employee performance documents, creating organizational alignment and enabling increased user productivity and accelerated overall business performance. The new succession planning solution helps identify key talent, rate and rank high-potential employees, and visualize results to build an organization’s leadership pipeline.
PeopleSoft Financials 9.1 also optimizes period close and adds dynamic discount management to maximize cash by reducing liabilities. Release 9.1 of PeopleSoft supplier relationship management solutions improve collaboration in creating and managing contracts.
These improvements demonstrate to customers the significance and breadth of the latest release. “PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 is clear proof that Oracle is very serious about our Applications Unlimited strategy,” Aubrejuan says. “Customers can definitely tell that we have a high level of investment in the current product lines and that we’re dedicated to making significant strategic investments in PeopleSoft. Applications Unlimited is a cornerstone of our applications strategy and is very important to both Oracle and our customers.”
Aubrejuan credits Oracle’s unique customer-driven enhancement strategy as one of the strategic reasons for PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1’s positive reception. More than 150 customers contributed feedback with customer site visits, focus groups, and user group meetings. The PeopleSoft Enterprise Customer Advisory Board (CAB) included a broad mix of customers and met 40 times over a three-year period to provide input about customer requirements regarding product features and functionality. Even now, the CAB continues to help guide PeopleSoft’s short-, mid-, and long-term product roadmap and provides insight into the global view of the marketplace needs, industry direction, business trends, and competitive pressures. Aubrejuan says, “This was such a robust and comprehensive release. It was critical to have customers excited and involved.”
Customers appreciate their active role in making sure that PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 has the features they need. They also appreciate that Oracle took product development so seriously. “PeopleSoft 9.1 appears to be the culmination of significant development effort by Oracle and illustrates their commitment to PeopleSoft applications,” affirms Rebecca Vilsack, director, information technology, at the University of Central Florida.