Last year, Oracle committed to keep supporting PeopleSoft products until at least December 2027, and was keen to reiterate:
The current December 2027 date is NOT an end of life date for PeopleSoft. There are NO plans to end investment or de-support PeopleSoft. Based on the needs of PeopleSoft customers and market activity, extensions to support dates are considered.
Larry Ellison’s firm splashed out $10.3bn to get hold of PeopleSoft’s market-leading enterprise applications over a decade ago, and has since dedicated a lot of money and effort to extending and improving them. The latest 9.2 version might have launched five years ago, but in that period there have been over 750 features added – including a major overhaul in 2015 to bring the suite into the modern, mobile era with the launch of the PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface (UI).
This was aimed at offering a more intuitive and responsive user experience, optimized across multiple platforms including desktops, smartphones, tablets and laptops, and it has certainly proved popular with customers. Boeing, Intermountain Healthcare, Hawaiian Airlines and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church - aka the Mormons) were all present at OpenWorld this week, extolling the benefits of upgrading to the Fluid UI.
An enhanced experience takes off
Boeing has been using PeopleSoft since 1997, for general ledger, asset management, project costing and billing.
Back in 2016, as the firm hit its centenary, there was a big push on how the aerospace and defense company positions its business processes and systems for its second century, and to make the user experience more modern. A lot of major year-long projects got signed off at that time, but the firm also wanted some quick wins within the finance space, which meant PeopleSoft. Boeing’s David Coveney explained:
When we asked for clarity on what's a modern intuitive interface to you, they said words like the tile-based interface, we want reduced navigation, bringing work to the user. So it kind of seemed like an easy fit with PeopleSoft. It was all the things that we hear about Fluid.
We knew we were on a release that could handle Fluid, we just hadn't gone there for other reasons. But based on that request, we pulled up the demo environment, turned on the navigation to Fluid, showed it to our execs and they said, ‘yep, that’s what we want’.
Boeing has been particularly impressed with the ability to offer different home pages for different roles, such as for functions like general ledger and asset management; as well as the reduced clicks needed for users to navigate around the system, and the notifications showing current tasks. Coveney added:
It’s all about having those Tiles right on the front page, especially when there's notification of whether or not there's work to even be done.
Boeing started the Fluid project in September, and its first go-live was in February. Coveney said the firm could have gone live in November or December, but it avoids project rollouts during its fiscal year end.
In terms of measuring the success of the project, Boeing knew it had 5,500 active PeopleSoft users, and each week 1,600 distinct users log in and rack up over 18,000 hours of work per week.
So then when you look at something like getting to the journal page, clicking on five links to get there versus the new one where you have the Tile sitting right there with the journals visualization, that shows each user what’s the status of their journals so they know where they may have to go. Those are things that we thought is definitely going to not only improve usability, but there is going to be productivity and efficiency gains that we will see.
That’s what this whole project was for us, how do we bring value to the business user. We’re bringing that intuitive modern user experience that really brought a lot of value to the users.
In terms of the user learning requirements, Boeing sent a couple of its developers to Fluid training, who then came back and shared with the rest of the team.
When we rolled it out, even though it was very intuitive, we wanted to have some lunch and learn sessions to make sure that everybody was aware of what was coming. We also heard you can attach extra links and videos to the Tiles, so we created a video that walked through the new user experience that we put it down the home page as well.
Boeing will be updating to the latest PeopleSoft image in May 2019, and will also be looking at adding to its footprint, adding extra Fluid pages and mobile access.
Savings for the Church
LDS Church is another long-term PeopleSoft customer, using the platform since 1999 for functions like expenses and project costing. It has PeopleSoft users in 165 countries, with cardholders and expenses users in 115 different countries.
The organization began testing Fluid UI about two years ago - Daniel Regan, OFA at LDS Church, noted that the system was not as mature then as it is now – and started getting users live on expenses last August. It is now supporting four Fluid homepages, including for purchasing and general ledger.
Regan said the mobile and navigation functionality have been of particular benefit to its global user base.
They’re constantly on their phones and iPads, so for them to be able to use the expense module and capture receipts from their phone has made it much easier for them.
Also the ease of use of the homepages, my users love that ease of navigation. We are rolling out to a large number of people in many different languages, and it’s easy to explain Fluid navigation to them, it’s not complicated.
The organization has also taken advantage of Tiles to show different users different homepages, displaying certain elements, or links to external training sites or welfare services.
LDS Church has seen 30 percent time savings across the current 3,400 Fluid UI expenses users, due to the mobile capabilities, navigation and ease of uploading receipts. The system also supports multiple card issuers, which is crucial for an organization operating in so many different locations and managing 36,000 credit cards. It includes a module where people can apply for a card and fill out the application via PeopleSoft. Regan noted:
If you’re in Africa or some parts of the world, you can’t just write a cheque, you can use a card to get things done, like buy emergency supplies.
LDS Church has another 32,000 users to roll out Fluid to, and it expects by the end of 2019 to have 36,000 users overall, at which time it could well have expanded the functionality further.
We’re really excited about Page and Field Configurator, where we can decustomise and put in page changes and make it role based. So depending on what role you are, it’s going to show different fields or not show different fields. We’re excited about that.