- by Jim Mcglothlin
The relationship between a large, complex organization and its key suppliers of information technology is normally more than just "strategic". Expectations about the duration of the relationship typically exceed 20 years. Enterprise applications and technology infrastructure are not expected to be changed out like petunias. So how would you rate the due diligence processes as performed in Higher Education when selecting critical, transformational information technology? My observation: I see a lot of effort put into elaborate demonstration of basic software functionality. I see a lot of attention paid to the cost element of technology acquisition, including the contracted cost of implementation consulting services. But the factor that receives only cursory analysis and due diligence is long-term performance--the ability of a vendor to grow, expand, and develop, and bring its customers along with it. So what should you look for in a long-term IT supplier? Oracle has a public track record for product development. The annual investment has been on a run rate of almost $3 Billion organic product development. Oracle's well-publicized acquisitions and mergers have been supplemental to its R&D. This is important for Higher Education. Another meaningful way to evaluate a company is to look at the tangible track record of enhancement. Consider the Oracle-PeopleSoft enterprise business platform since acquired by Oracle 6 years ago: Product or Technology Enhancement Customer or User Impact Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) 300+ new web services delivered in versions 9.0 & 9.1 provide flexibility, so that customers can integrate PeopleSoft with other applications. Campus Solutions has added Admissions and Constituent Web Services. Constituent Relationship Management PeopleSoft CRM 9.1 for Higher Education introduced new process flows for student recruiting and retention to support "Student Success" initiatives. A 360 view of the constituent is now delivered, and the concept of a single-stop Student Services Center is now in CRM 9.1 with tight integration to PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. Human Capital Management Contract Pay for Education, with flexibility for configuration and calculation, has been extended in HCM 9.1. New chartfield integration among Project Costing - Time & Labor - Payroll to serve the labor distribution requirements for Grants / Sponsored Research. Talent Management PeopleSoft 9.0 and 9.1 feature an integrated talent management approach centered on definitions in "Profile Manager", with all new usability improvements. Internal and external candidate pools, and the entire recruitment process, are driven by delivered configurable selection and on-boarding processes. Interview scheduling, and online job offers are newly delivered processes. Performance Management PeopleSoft HCM ePerformance 9.1 will include significant new functionality designed to help organizations more effectively align business objectives with employee goals. Using an Organization Chart view, your business goals can flow down to become tangible objectives per employee. Succession Planning / Workforce Development New in HCM 9.0, enhanced in 9.1, is a planning capability for regular or unusual (major organizational change) succession of internal or external candidates. PeopleSoft supports employee-based career planning, which ultimately increases the integrity of the succession planning process (identify their career needs, plans, preferences, and interests). Dashboards / Oracle Business Intelligence Application Suite Oracle Human Resources Analytics provides the workforce information foundation that integrates data from HR functional areas and Finance. Oracle Human Resources Analytics delivers 9 dashboards and over 200 reports. Provide your HR professionals and front-line managers the tools to analyze workforce staffing, retention, productivity, to better source high-quality applicants, and to reduce absence costs. Multi-year Planning and Commitment Control External funding sources, especially Grants, require a multi-year encumbrance business process. PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 adds multi-year funding and commitment control, including budget checking. The newly designed Real Time Budget Checking will provide the customer with an updated snapshot of their budget and encumbrances at any given time. Position Budgeting with Hyperion Hyperion Planning world-class products now include delivered integration to PeopleSoft HCM. Position Budgeting is available in the new Public Sector Planning module of Hyperion. Web 2.0 features for the latest in usability PeopleSoft 9.1 features a contemporary internet user experience: Partial-page refreshing Drag and drop pagelets New menu structure Navigation pagelets Modal popup message windows Favorites & recently used links Type-ahead Drag and drop grid columns, pop-out grids Portal Workspaces Enterprise 2.0 for your collaborative web communities, using new content management, along with Wikis, blogs, and discussion forums in PeopleSoft Portal 9.1. PeopleTools enhanced by Oracle Fusion Middleware Standards-based tools have been added to the PeopleTools application infrastructure: BI (XML) Publisher, Java tools. Certified for use with PeopleSoft: Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE), Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Weblogic Server, Oracle SOA Suite. Hosting for PeopleSoft applications A solid new deployment option: Oracle On Demand remote hosting center for high scalability, security, and continuity of operations. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) for HCM / Payroll functions Partnership with AT&T provides hosting of HR/Payroll application along with payroll business process operations, and subscription-based service fees (SaaS). AT&T BPO full service includes pay sheet processing, bank and 3rd party file transfer, payroll tax handling, etc. Continuous Delivery Model Feature Packs provide faster time-to-benefit; new features become available in PeopleSoft 9.1 (or Campus Solutions 9.0) without need to perform upgrade. Golden person data model across all campus applications Oracle Higher Education Constituent Hub provides synchronization and data governance of person data across any application, e.g. HR/ Payroll, Student Information System, Housing, Emergency Contact, LMS, CRM. Oracle's aggressive enhancement plans within the "Applications Unlimited" program continue, as new functionality is under development for a new version of a PeopleSoft release planned for 2012. Meanwhile, new capabilities are planned on an annual basis in Feature Packs. PeopleSoft just delivered the HCM 2010 Feature Pack and another is planned for 2011. In February we plan to have over 100 customers from our Customer Advisory Boards at our PeopleSoft Development Center in California to review designs for all of these releases. For those of you near New York City The investment and progressive development story described above is the subject of an Oracle road show event on February 9, 2011. Charting Your Course with Oracle Applications is a global event series designed to help business and IT executives assess the impact of new inflection points on their business and applications roadmap: changing workforces, shifting customer and constituent bases, and increased volatility. Learn how innovations ranging from new deployment models like cloud computing to the introduction of social applications and smart devices are delivering results across all areas of business and industry. 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