PeopleSoft Community Network
Some of the business areas addressed by PeopleSoft
Human Capital Management (read Human Resources)
Customer Relationship Management
Each of these major areas are comprised of several sub-modules (e.g., Financials = General
Ledger, Budget, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, etc.) that are so complex that sales
reps, sales support associates, and implementers generally specialize in one sub-module. Herein
lies one of the biggest challenges of selecting this software. It can be so overwhelming as to
render mere sales calls and demos practically useless since these discussions barely scrape the
surface of what is really happening within the software. Given that fact, it can be difficult to
determine the real effort behind an implementation and the impact on your company’s business
processes and employees.
Having said that, how does an organization know if PeopleSoft is right for their corporation and
their culture? What are the key factors and business drivers leading an organization to the
purchase and implementation of one of the most powerful software suites in the world?
For simplicity’s sake, consider a mid-size company that is going to replace its backend financials
system with one suite. The old system was “home-grown” and has evolved over the last 25 years.
There are no labor unions and the corporate culture is reasonably agile.
Some of the questions to answer include:
1. Is there a strategic plan for the company? If so, and if the plan necessitates new
systems to support the future initiatives, are the projects prioritized and budgeted? Is
there an Enterprise Technical Architecture Plan? How do the two relate? Technology
for technology’s sake alone is rarely the right path to follow.
2. What is the maturity level of project resources, especially project management, in the
organization? Even if the company is capable of paying substantial sums for an
outsourced project team, there is no success factor more critical than having an inhouse project manager (and, preferably, team) who know the business and can
successfully support the project throughout its life cycle.
3. What technical resources does the organization already have? Is there a robust
network, experienced database administrators (preferably familiar with Oracle),
programmers, and skilled business analysts?
4. Can the organization afford to allow the most knowledgeable staff (who know the
business processes and the current systems) to work on what is sure to be a multi-year
project (in spite of what the Oracle sales team is telling you)?
5. What business sector does the organization inhabit: public, private, not-for profit?
Once upon a time, PeopleSoft offered a public sector product and a commercial sector
product. Over the years, these two products have morphed together. Many public
sector organizations conduct their accounting on a cash basis (PeopleSoft doesn’t)
and fund accounting (with a lot of attention paid to configuring the General Ledger,
or GL, this can be done).
6. Does the chart of accounts need to be re-defined? This is a major undertaking even
before any technical consideration can be given to the GL. However, even though
project team members may understand the business’ accounting and financials, they
also need to have a deep understanding of PeopleSoft General Ledger and
Commitment Control (budgeting) or most attempts to define a new chart of accounts
and properly define budgets takes several months up to years.
7. What is the status of the current data in the financial system? Does it need substantial
clean up before conversion can be defined? If so, this is a parallel, separate project
that will absorb project resources.
8. What is the company’s readiness quotient to re-engineer business processes? It surely
doesn’t pay to undergo what could be a $20-50M project just to offer a web-enabled
version of the existing financial system.
The above represent a tiny fraction of the questions that organizations should be asking
themselves as they contemplate a PeopleSoft implementation. Frank, open answers to the
questions and a realistic approach can only be advantages going forward.
In addition to formal due diligence, one of the best ways for an organization to thoroughly
understand the road map ahead is to connect with similar organizations that have completed an
implementation. Oracle may not be the best place to get candid conversation; however, there are
several active user groups and Oracle hosts a convention every fall where users congregate and
are only too happy to relate their stories, good and bad. It is absolutely essential to mine these
resources for lessons learned.
Greatt..Thanks for the information.