Tuesday, 10 April 2018

PeopleSoft Selective Adoption - Some thoughts from the front line

In this blog post I 'd like to share a few of my own thoughts on application maintenance strategies for customers running PeopleSoft applications on release 9.2.
Pre and Post Selective Adoption

Introduced with PeopleSoft 9.2 back in 2013 PeopleSoft Selective Adoption has seemingly changed everything to do with software maintenance.   To look at options and strategies for 9.2 customers now it's helpful to remember the "old way" how things used to be prior to Selective Adoption.

Pre 9.2 Software Delivery Model (the Old way)

Before Selective Adoption customers had the following software lifecycle events:
  • Every 3 to 4 years there was a major Application Release (8.9 in 2003, 9.0 in 2006, 9.1 in 2009, 9.2 in 2013) .  These major releases included new features, enhancements and defect fixes.
  • Regular individual Product Updates (patches) to fix specific defects.
  • Periodic module based Bundles that were made up of all product updates released since the last bundle. Bundles were not cumulative - so, if you needed a fix in, say, FSCM GL Bundle 23 then you had to apply bundles 1 through 22 first as these were mandated pre-requisites.
What did customers do with this software delivery system?
  1. Do nothing.  Wait for the next major release and then perform a major upgrade.  A lot of customers did this.
  2. Apply individual product updates as and when necessary to fix specific issues.  However, if the individual update was no longer available due to being rolled into a bundle then customer would need to apply the bundle in order to get the specific update. Any prerequisite updates and/or bundles would also have to be applied first.
  3. Apply every bundle as it became available. Bundles only contained bug fixes so the only value you really got was the software worked as it should have done in the first place (i.e. bug free)

Post 9.2 Software Delivery Model (the New way)

Software Lifecycle
PeopleSoft Selective Adoption was designed so that customers would have a choice in selectively applying updates rather than the previous method of either an entire application upgrade or applying a series of module based Bundles.  It also added a higher degree of automation of the lifecycle processes.

What you get with PeopleSoft Selective Adoption is:
  • New functionality, enhancements and bug fixes every 12 weeks delivered in a fully functioning PeopleSoft Image (PI)
  • Individual PeopleSoft Release Patchset (PRP) which update the application between PeopleSoft Images typically if the update is critical.    Read more here in PeopleBooks.
  • No plans for a 9.3 major release. (There's no need for this as new functionality is delivered incrementally).
So, if you're on 9.2 here are your options:
  1. Do nothing and wait for the next major application release.  You might be waiting a long time as Oracle have no plans for a 9.3 release. (Having "no plans" is not the same as will never release.  However, with the continuous software delivery mechanism now in place I think it's likely we'll just find the "9.2" number getting dropped when referring to PeopleSoft and an increase in referring to the PI number).  Either way - option 1 exists.  If the software is working for you and you're inside support windows then you can legitimately do nothing.  
  2. Apply individual product updates as and when required.  These updates include application bug fixes but will also deliver new functionality and enhancements.  You can decide how frequently you make change - Quarterly, Annually.  You could also do a large get-me-current every 2 years say and pickup minor fixes and enhancements in smaller projects throughout the year.  So many variations of this.
  3. Apply every update as it becomes available.  If you choose this option then you'll always be on the latest versions of the software.  All known defects fixed and all new  features available for you to deploy.   Regular and frequent change requires planning and sound management.
Does this sound similar to the old way? Do nothing; Apply selected updates; Apply every update ?  In the next few weeks I plan to explore these 3 options in depth and show just how valuable Selective Adoption is.

As always feel free to contribute to the discussion in comments below.  Always happy to hear alternative opinions.