Wednesday, 6 July 2011

UKOUG PeopleSoft Conference 2011 - Update

Well here's my report on the UKOUG PeopleSoft 2011 conference. I hope you'll get a flavour of this significant 2 day event in the PeopleSoft world.

Great venue at Heathrow airport with good food and plenty of space. Loved the Fizzy Cola Bottles - I think I ate over 40 !

Oracle PeopleSoft People
I'm writing this from the perspective of someone who spent the 2 days in the Technology Stream but I heard really good reports from the other HR, Financials and Payroll streams. But, before I get into details I must say first how wonderful it was to have such high profile Oracle staff speaking and networking at the conference - Marc Weintraub (Product Strategy Director), Amira Morcos (Director Financials Strategy) and Jeff Robbins (Snr. Director PeopleTools Strategy, Oracle). Having these people at the conference gave us first hand insight into product strategy, impact of Fusion Applications, PeopleTools next release and a chance to network with frontline product specialists. It was also great to have Colin Kilpatrick and Neville Varnham join us from Oracle UK both really good friends and supporters of the Technology SIG.

Keynote Message from Marc Weintraub
I'm not a writer and Marc packed so much into his opening keynote that to make it easier for me to write and you to read I'm going to bullet the key messages.
  • Out of 120,000 staff at Oracle 1,250 work exclusively on PeopleSoft products. This does not include the middleware, dbms, o/s staff that work occasionally with the PeopleSoft teams.
  • SUPPORT - marc gave a good overview of the premier support package
  • APPLICATIONS UNLIMITED - Continued to reinforce the message of ongoing support and comitment to product development.
  • COEXISTANCE - This message positioned PeopleSoft alongside other Oracle apps (Seibel, EBS, JDE and now Fusion (still not sites live yet)). Fusion Middleware meant that apps could coexist and Oracle would be doing a lot work around making these apps work together.
  • ONDEMAND DEPLOYMENT. This message positioned Oracle has supplier of Cloud bsaed SAAS as well as simply products and services. Fusion Apps are currently only available through Oralcle OnDemand.
  • PeopleSoft 9.1 Apps had seen huge take up compare to previous releases. Over 20% (1,250) of all customers were either on, upgrading to or planning an upgrade. From this I was able work out that Oracle has over 5,000 PeopleSoft customers.
  • INVESTMENT STRATEGY. Oracle's investment strategy in PeopleSoft applications were along 3 main themes Simplicity (making it easier to use), Productivity (bringing information together/reducing the number of clicks) and Total Cost of Ownership (lower the cost of patching, doing upgrades)
  • RELEASE STRATEGY. PeopleTools will have an annual release (usually just before OOW), Applications will have a major release every 3 years, Annual Feature Packs will roll up fixes plus deliver incremental new features.
  • FUSION APPLICATIONS. A few customers going live but not live yet. Only hosted by Oracle OnDemand. Customers will not be forced to upgrade. If customers see a need for these apps then they will be available. Oracle is "getting ready" so that when customers need standards based, web2.0 apps they will be there.
PeopleTools Keynote from Jeff Robbins
Always great to see Jeff at conference. He's got a passion for making technology work for users and for using technology to spark innovation and ideas. Great to have the opportunity to network with a key player in the PeopleTools strategy team.

Key messages from Jeff include
  • PeopleTools 8.52 out before OOW conference in October.
  • Release Value Proposition out here
  • New features include a fantastic new application search based on an embedded Oracle Secure Enterprise Search which looks like it will deliver configurable indexing of actual application data and a search interface that includes powerful filters like that found on Google, Amazon and eBay, WorCenters and Related Content have all had significant improvements along with continuing to extend the navigation paradigm seen in 8.51 with recent search results.
Very Useful Technical Content

Duncan Davies from Succeed Consultancy gave a very useful insight into opensource product Jenkins for controlling and automating admin tasks against PeopleSoft infrastructure. He demonstrated the automation of a database refresh. Very impressive.

Succed also demonstrated a very nice tool under development which can compare and copy configuration data from one PeopleSoft database to another. PeopleTools 8.52 will have a feature called Data Sets which is similar but Succeed have a powerful compare tool which it looks like 8.52 won't. These guys are well worth watching closely.

Like I said earlier it was great to have Neville Varnham from Oracle UK support the PeopleSoft technology community. Nev demonstrated the electronic forms and approval system. Nice feature and it sparked a lot of exctirement and discussion. Read more here