PeopleSoft – What Does The Future Hold? September 14, 2016Posted by Duncan in PeopleTools, Strategy.
In an earlier post titled Banishing PeopleSoft Myths I shared my perspective of the current state of the PeopleSoft product and marketplace. I thought it’d be an interesting exercise to try to look forwards and to define what I think the future might hold for the product line. Some of this might be a little off-target, some might be a mile off target and some I might have changed my mind on if you ask me next week, but hopefully it starts some discussions.
PeopleSoft Moves to The Cloud
An easy one first. There’s a strong push to move to The Cloud and that should be apparent to pretty much everyone. There are some compelling success stories for PeopleSoft in the Cloud, customers have gained huge performance increases and flexibility in infrastructure, as well as saving money. So far these success stories have been on AWS, and – to a lesser extent – on Azure, however Oracle wants a piece of that pie now. The Oracle Compute Cloud should be an option whenever there’s a discussion on Cloud hosting (and this discussion should be held before any hardware refresh or major upgrade/get current).
Oracle is also making it easier for customers to move to The Cloud. The PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture is a set of functionality and tools that eases the transition, and it will be enhanced in future PeopleTools versions.
The PeopleSoft Marketplace Remains Buoyant
Cedar’s current experience is that there is a lot of activity in the market. Through the coming years we shouldn’t expect a huge number of net-new clients buying PeopleSoft, however existing clients are very loyal to the product and will continue to take advantage of the new features that are added to the product. It’s easy to imagine that over the coming years there will be widescale adoption of Fluid and Cloud Architecture.
More PeopleSoft Hosting
It’s becoming easier for customers to outsource the care of their PeopleSoft systems to partners – or, in the future, maybe even Oracle themselves. The Cloud makes the infrastructure significantly cheaper, and the PeopleSoft Cloud Architecture will make the administration simpler too. The PeopleSoft application will simply be provided to the client as a service, with all the hardware, DBA services and patching performed by the partner for a flat monthly fee. PeopleSoft updates could also be rolled into this as Selective Adoption forms a key piece of the application maintenance model and lends itself very well to the Cloud hosting model.
There have been other advances in PeopleTools too that make it easier to reduce customisations – thereby making it easier for organisations to host multiple customer environments. The new related content event mapping functionality enables you to replace (some) customised code, and I’m sure the PSAdmin.io guys mentioned a technique for adding fields to a page via config instead of customisation (but I can’t find a link for it). The closer you are to vanilla the easier it is keep your application updated with the latest security, product fixes and new features.
Will Oracle provide “PeopleSoft as a Service”? Currently the answer – at least publicly – is ‘No’ however that might change over time. Oracle are moving their OnDemand offering over from physical hardware to Cloud infrastructure so they will host the servers and provide maintenance resources for clients.
PeopleSoft and Containers
The next evolution on from Virtual Machines is the use of ‘container’ technology. The problem with having a server containing multiple VMs is that each VM needs to have its own Operating System installed, kept patched and kept in sync. This – and the other software that could be shared – introduces a lot of duplication. Containers are like cut-down VMs, there is no OS within the container, just the application itself. Each of the containers shares the OS that’s installed on the host. There’s a
good intro to containers here.
Vendors have started to adopt this container technology – Docker is by far the most widely known – and it’d be no surprise if PeopleSoft starts to do the same. It’d be great to be able to drop in another App Server container without having to mess around with building one. The DPKs get us part way there, but this could be the next progression. First we’ll need to wait for Oracle Compute Cloud support for Docker first (or whatever snappy name Oracle gives to their Docker equivalent … maybe the ‘Oracle Enterprise Container Management Service’?)
Greater Fluid Adoption
Somewhere between 50-60% of customers are on v9.2, which means they’re either using or preparing to use Selective Adoption. Once a customer starts on the Selective Adoption path, they’ll find that the Fluid UI is the interface that updates and fixes will be delivered on. This will drive Fluid adoption. This is good for Self Service users as they’d typically benefit the most from a Fluid roll-out.
Although there is some pain involved in getting Fluid up and running all of the feedback that we’ve heard to date is that those who’ve made the jump are very happy with the results. Self Service users stand to gain the most as Fluid really makes PeopleSoft a lot more accessible to infrequent users.
The role of SysAdmin is Changing
The role of the PeopleSoft SysAdmin is dramatically different than it was 5 years ago. The advent of PUM, Selective Adoption, DPKs, Puppet and SES, and the imminent adoption of the Cloud Delivery Architecture and Elasticsearch have all shifted the landscape significantly.
Much of this is good news. For instance, Selective Adoption and DPKs have both made the SysAdmin’s life easier (once the toolset has been learnt). The future sounds like this trend will continue as Cloud Manager will allow one-click provisioning and refreshes of environments, and Elasticsearch promises to alleviate some of the SES headaches.
This greater functionality does come at a cost for the SysAdmin, and that is that there is a wider breadth to the set of tools that they are required to master. The days where the SysAdmin just needed to do installs and tuning have passed. This increased automation brings the requirement for DevOps SysAdmins – i.e. SysAdmins who are able to cut some code.
The role of Developer is Changing
LogStash for PeopleSoft
I felt I should end with a real ‘out there’ prediction. With Elasticsearch we can see that Oracle are open to including a new 3rd party product as part of the stack (previously it seemed like 3rd party tools were slowly being phased out) so what other new products or tools might be included? Elasticsearch is made by a company called Elastic, but they have other offerings in addition to their core Search product. The one that looks the most appealing from a PeopleSoft point-of-view is LogStash. I’ve looked at it a number of times over the years but its lack of Windows support was always a barrier for me, however now it’s available on Windows. LogStash is a log file aggregation tool, it takes all of the entries in all of your log files spread across all of your servers and makes them available for searching in one central repository. It’s easy to see how that might be incredibly useful in a PeopleSoft context. There are alternative tools that perform a similar role – Splunk for example – however I think LogStash is the most obvious selection.
UPDATE: The PSAdmin.io guys discussed Splunk and LogStash in their latest Podcast.
So, there are 8 predictions for the coming years. Have I missed anything glaring? Have I got one of them wrong?
Banishing some PeopleSoft Myths July 28, 2016Posted by Duncan in Cedar, PeopleSoft 9.2, Strategy, TW.
There seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty and misinformation in the PeopleSoft marketplace currently, so I thought it might be time to banish a few myths:
1. PeopleSoft isn’t being improved/getting investment
There are those with vested interests or other biases that will always deny this regardless of the evidence put in front of them, but PeopleSoft is improving in leaps and bounds. In the last couple of years PeopleSoft has been moving at an increasing speed, and one of the biggest questions on many client’s minds right now is “how do I keep up”. My Cedar colleague Graham Smith has a long list of recent new features in his PeopleSoft Predictions 2016 post, but if you just counted Fluid, Selective Adoption and Cloud Delivery Architecture I don’t think there’s ever been a time in which PeopleSoft has improved so much in a short space of time, pre or post-acquisition. Paco has repeatedly committed to keeping PeopleSoft around until at least 2027, and using the last few years as evidence I’m inclined to believe him.
2. PeopleSoft is Legacy/Old Fashioned
PeopleSoft is certainly very well established, with a long history and a wide customer base, that much is true. This can be a good thing, in that much of the system is tried and tested with the wrinkles ironed out. It is also true that some aspects of PeopleSoft do things the ‘old way’. The majority of deployments are on-premises, without the flexibility and efficiency that cloud deployment and automation can bring. You also pay for PeopleSoft up-front, rather than monthly. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. PeopleSoft can be deployed in an agile and efficient manner, taking advantage of some of the new technology available to us now, and the new enhancements within the product.
3. To be a future-proof system it needs to be SaaS
This is tricky as different people hold varying ideas about what constitutes SaaS, however PeopleSoft does get regular updates containing new functionality from the vendor (every ~10 weeks), can be deployed in the Cloud (to gain auto-scaling/elasticity of resources, a predictable monthly subscription and theoretically even multi-tenancy – at least above the database-level, if it was something that clients wanted). Furthermore, the application of the updates and the management of the cloud architecture can be handed over to a friendly partner in order to get even closer to purists’ definitions of what SaaS entails – if that is important to you.
4. PeopleSoft’s UI is out-dated
Up until a few years ago there wasn’t the focus on ‘consumer grade UI’ that there is now. In that era, PeopleSoft’s UI measured up pretty well. It was certainly more attractive than SAP and/or E-Business Suite. Recently this greater focus on the User Interface has introduced new competitors but PeopleSoft still keeps up well. Of course you can compare an old version of PeopleSoft with the latest from a competitor and it will appear dated in comparison, however if you use the latest PeopleSoft UI in the comparison it’ll fare rather better. The Fluid UI is (at least) the equal of anything out there, regardless of which device you view it on.
5. The PeopleSoft Market is Quiet
From what I can see there are fewer green-field implementations than 5 years ago, but there is a lot more upgrade activity. Clients are moving to 9.2 at a far greater rate than for 9.0 or 9.1, and then starting initiatives to really get value from the software once they get there. As a company I’m not sure Cedar has ever been busier.
So, now I’ve got that off my chest, I might do some predictions like Graham next …
OpenWorld Session Teaser October 22, 2015Posted by Duncan in SelectiveAdoption, Strategy, TW.
As a teaser to the session that Mark Thomas and myself are presenting on Selective Adoption at OpenWorld next week, here’s a slide showing why Selective Adoption is important for so many clients:
By virtue of such a high proportion of clients upgrading to 9.2 already, Selective Adoption is impacting a huge number of customers.
Come to Mark’s and my session at 9:30am on Thursday to find out the adjustments that you need to make to ensure that you get the biggest benefits from the Selective Adoption functionality.
Come to our session, PeopleSoft Selective Adoption Experiences from the Front Line [CON7071], and find out what you can do.
Marc Weintraub (Senior Director of Product Strategy for PeopleSoft) appears in this exclusive Cedar Consulting video and discusses the Future of PeopleSoft with Cedar’s star HR Optimisation guru, Jo Randles.
They cover items such as the size of the PeopleSoft team, competing with cloud-only solutions, avoiding the ‘upgrade for compliance’ trap, self-funding quick wins, co-existence options and putting PeopleSoft in the Cloud.
If you’re curious about the direction that PeopleSoft is taking, or interested in the options available to you now, this is a must watch.
Which PeopleTools version goes with which Application? March 19, 2015Posted by Duncan in PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, Strategy, TW.
If you’re ever in the situation where you’re wondering what your options are with PeopleTools versions, and which applications they can be used with, then we have just the document for you.
It shows you:
– the Applications, their release dates, and – more critically – the dates that Premier and Extended Support ends
– the PeopleTools versions, and the date that support ends (yes, 8.52 is now out of support)
– the combinations of the two, for instance, can you go to Tools 8.53 with a v8.9 application? do we believe that PeopleTools 8.55 will support v9.1 applications?
– what this means for Fluid. For example, if you’re on v9.1 but upgrade to PeopleTools 8.54, what Fluid functionality do you receive?
Check out the White Paper here:
Why we won’t need a PeopleSoft v9.3 November 25, 2014Posted by Duncan in Strategy, TW.
I caught up with Paco Aubrejuan’s “PeopleSoft Townhall” webinar from Quest the other day. Paco is Senior VP of Development for the PeopleSoft product line and it was a really interesting listen. The session can be found here, although you need to sign-up with Quest to view it. It’s an hour long and he discusses the future direction of the PeopleSoft product family plus the new simplified and mobile user experience for PeopleSoft, the new Fluid User Interface (UI) and the delivery model of more frequent, customer-driven product enhancements which is enabled by PeopleSoft Update Manager.
Most interestingly for me though, was the Q&A section at the end. Paco tackled the v9.3 question head on. I’ve transcribed his words, and I think it’s a strong and positive message for those with an interest in the PeopleSoft product line. Here are the ‘best bits’:
We’re calling our model PeopleSoft Selective Adoption … and let me be specific about what it means, we’re going to deliver new capabilities about 2 to 3 times a year (and may deliver some functionality more frequent than that). Once you’re on 9.2 you can get this functionality without upgrading ever.
On PeopleSoft v9.3:
Should I upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.2 or should I wait for 9.3? There is no 9.3. We don’t have a 9.3 codeline, there’s no 9.3 plan, our plan is to never do a 9.3 and we’re going to continuously deliver on 9.2 using the PeopleSoft Selective Adoption and so you should not be waiting for a 9.3. … We’re just going to continue extending the timelines for PeopleSoft 9.2 so the idea is that there is no more upgrade and premier support will just continue.
On why a 9.3 isn’t needed:
The risk we take with saying that there’s no 9.3 is that people read into that and say that PeopleSoft is dead. … That’s not true. The investment level that we’re making in the product does not change with this delivery model at all. … We’re delivering all the Fluid functionality without a new release. We’ve never done that before. The only thing that this is comparable to is the 8.0 version when we moved from client-server to the internet, and that was a major release. We’re now doing something equivalent to that without even a minor release. It’s now just selective features that you can take as long as you’re on 8.54. So PeopleSoft is not dead, and having no PeopleSoft 9.3 does not mean that PeopleSoft is dead.
So, we now have a definitive answer to the v9.3 question. I think it’s a strong and positive message which is backed up with evidence of the investment that Oracle are putting in to the product family, and a nod to the fact that PeopleSoft is adapting its model to the changing needs of the customer.
PeopleSoft 9.3 – A clarification June 20, 2014Posted by Duncan in PeopleSoft, Strategy, TW.
After the release and subsequent removal of the ‘there is no PeopleSoft 9.3’ post on the My Oracle Support site and twitter I’ve been in contact with Oracle to find out the truth behind these rumours. Let me share with you what I have learned directly from Oracle… (more…)
It’s official, there is no PeopleSoft 9.3 June 18, 2014Posted by Duncan in PeopleSoft, Strategy, TW.
EDIT: It seems that this was an erroneous announcement by Oracle (it appeared on both their Twitter feed and the MOS site).
I’ve now received further clarification from Oracle, read about it here.
PeopleSoft Weekly Newsletter August 7, 2012Posted by Duncan in PeopleSoft, Strategy.
We’ve started a free email newsletter to try to bring the latest and most interesting news from the PeopleSoft world to those that don’t have the spare time to regularly monitor RSS feeds full of blogs and news sources.
It initially started as a method of engaging the part of our company that wasn’t tech-savvy enough to use Google Reader etc, however we’ve found that there’s always something in the newsletter that we’ve not seen before so our Techs have signed up too.
We’ve experimented with other delivery mechanisms but they include too much spam and irrelevant content or they require people to download new software or setup new online accounts. We definitely didn’t want the former, and felt the latter would only slow adoption too. A personally curated newsletter – delivered by email (which everyone already has) – seems the best method. Weekly seems the correct frequency too, not too frequent that it clogs your inbox, and not so occasional that the content is out of date. We settled on Weds at 3pm (UTC) as a reasonable time to send.
It’s free, so there’s no barrier to entry and you can subscribe/unsubscribe at any time. We’re an ethical company and we’re not going to abuse your email address. You’ll never get marketing spam, you’ll only ever get the weekly newsletter. We’ll never sell your email address to anyone else.
Have a look at back-issues and sign up here.
Concerns about The Cloud March 26, 2012Posted by Duncan in Strategy.
Those of you that know me will be aware that I’m very ‘pro cloud’. We (Succeed) run many PeopleSoft instances there, and some other things besides. We develop, monitor and automate in there also. That doesn’t mean that I’m blind to its flaws though.
This was brought home to me by the recent outage in Microsoft’s Azure platform. For those that didn’t hear, Azure (Microsoft’s cloud platform) went down on 29th February and many people lost access until well into the next day. This isn’t a service we use (we’re with Amazon – by far and away the market leader) but it’s certainly a warning shot. AWS itself had problems in one of its regions not so long ago too. Losing access is one thing, but losing data is quite another. Although I’m not aware of any instances of this happening yet it’s only a matter of time (and a company with the wealth of experience of MS still struggling with leap years shows that the cloud is a brave new world and still has some maturing to do).
Overall our experience has been overwhelmingly positive – and of course outages are still possible on-premise too – just don’t think that because you’ve moved to an enterprise size cloud provider (or even one of the smaller, newer ‘niche’ providers) that you’re immune from things going awry.