2016 was a productive year. According to the Cumulative Feature Overview tool, we delivered more than 330 features across 20 application Update Images. Those numbers tell the story of PeopleSoft’s transition to continuous delivery. We are now delivering more functionality, faster, and perhaps most importantly, with direct customer involvement throughout the entire process.
And while those numbers are important, they don’t begin to tell the full story. What else happened in 2016?
But enough looking in the rear-view mirror…let’s turn our focus to 2017 and what we have planned for the coming year. As you might imagine, there’s a tremendous amount of innovation already underway, and more planned. Our focus for the new year falls into four main areas:
1. Help Customers Achieve Selective Adoption
2016 was the year we turned the corner internally, within development, in terms of delivering features constantly throughout the year. We delivered a lot, making use of every Update Image to ship new innovations. So much so that in multiple forums we’ve had customers ask us to slow down, so they can catch up.
To that point, while it’s an important milestone for our internal teams to optimize around continuous delivery, the functionality we deliver has no impact unless customers adopt it. Features must be used to provide value. So one of our key areas of focus in 2017 is to continue helping organizations make the transition to Selective Adoption in a meaningful way – to define both maintenance and feature adoption strategies that work. To ensure customers and partners can spread lessons learned and best practices on everything from how to plan and budget to ways IT and the line of business can work together.
The good news is that we are well on our way. In a recent survey conducted by Quest user group, of the customers that had a Selective Adoption strategy in place, 41% are adopting new features. At conferences, webinars, and through industry user groups, customers are talking about what they’ve tried and what works. New and innovative ideas are emerging from our customers around ways IT can engage the line of business and together they can determine how to get maximum value from their PeopleSoft solution. This runs the gamut from simply communicating more often, to leveraging the Update Images to show functional demos, to leveraging the Oracle Cloud to scale out more demo, dev, and test environments quickly and easily. We’ll be working closely with customers and partners, and looking for ways to enable all customers to set a Selective Adoption strategy that fits their business.
Resources: Selective Adoption Concept Page, Quest Content Center: Selective Adoption, Selective Adoption at OpenWorld 2016
2. Get All Customers Engaged
The PeopleSoft community has always been highly collaborative. One of the things our team loves most is connecting directly with customers, hearing how you use the software, what works, what doesn’t, and where we should focus our investment. In 2017 we’ll of course continue presenting at Oracle and industry user group conferences. We’ll increase the amount of web-based and virtual presentations, so that as many customers as possible have direct access to what we are doing and can give us feedback. We’ll continue to run our product specific Focus Groups and Customer Advisory Boards.
In addition, we would like to invite every customer to engage with us by using the Idea Spaces in My Oracle Support. Through this platform, every individual at your organization with a My Oracle Support login can suggest new ideas, vote on ideas (you can vote them up as well as vote them down), and even share use cases, screen shots, and collaborate with your peers. This platform allows every customer to have a voice -- to contribute to the discussion and help us make the most informed decisions around what features and functionality will provide the most value for our customers.
We want to hear from you! Help us make a habit of taking great ideas, developing them, and delivering them in the span of a few months. And then using Selective Adoption, we’d love to see you adopt them just as quickly!
Resources: Idea Spaces in My Oracle Support Communities, Idea Spaces FAQ (Doc ID 2048019.1)
3. Deliver, Deliver, Deliver
We have many, many new features in progress, and a longer list of things we’d like to deliver this year. Now that we are in the world of continuous delivery, we are constantly planning what comes next. Across the pillars, you will see our investments focused in the same areas that we’ve been delivering on for the last few years. First, highly intuitive solutions accessible from any device. Second, powerful capabilities for functional users, power users, and administrators. Third, legislative and regulatory updates across the products for regions and countries around the globe. And finally, adopting capabilities enabled through PeopleTools and our outstanding technology platform – Simplified Analytics, Related Content, Fluid Approvals, Navigation Collections, and more.
To see what we have on the roadmap for the next 18 months or so, use the Planned Features and Enhancements page in My Oracle Support. The Cumulative Feature Overview tool will tell you what we’ve delivered. And the Apps Strategy Blog, Legislative Blog, and Technology Blog will keep you informed of important new developments as they occur.
Speaking of technology, we plan to deliver PeopleTools 8.56 in 2017. Among other new capabilities, we plan to introduce what’s currently referred to as Classic Plus, a modernizing face lift to the Classic UI, which will harmonize the user experience between Classic and Fluid pages. Other planned investment areas in PeopleTools 8.56 focus on enhancements to Fluid, Search, and the Cloud Architecture, including providing Deployment Packages for all Operating Systems. For a complete list, watch for the posting of the Pre-Release Notes on My Oracle Support.
Prior to PeopleTools 8.56, we plan to introduce PeopleSoft Cloud Manager, an incredibly powerful new tool designed to make it extremely easy to create and run PeopleSoft environments in the Oracle Cloud. From demo environments, to development, test, staging, and production, Cloud Manager enables customers to create environment templates using their own real data and configurations, and then use the templates to create as many live environments as they need, on the fly, and throw them away when they are no longer needed. We’ve been using an internal system that inspired the Cloud Manager for several years now, and it has fundamentally transformed our development capacity and agility.
Resources: Planned Features and Enhancements (Doc Id 1966243.2), Cumulative Feature Overview Tool, PeopleSoft Apps Strategy Blog, PeopleSoft Legislative Updates Blog, PeopleSoft Technology Blog, PeopleSoft Information Portal
4. Tell Your Stories
It’s exciting for us to deliver new capabilities, but what we care about the most is hearing how the functionality we deliver adds value for you, our customers. And to be honest, we recognize that while the information we provide is important, knowing what other customers are doing, how they are doing it, what to do and what to avoid, is crucial.
We hear so many great stories about what customers are achieving with PeopleSoft. Adopting new features within weeks of delivery. Rolling out brand new products to the organization. Deploying the Fluid UI, with custom branding or an innovative ‘information ticker’ or your own transactions. Use of Workcenters and Activity Guides and Pivot Grids in novel and compelling ways. Reducing and in some cases eliminating customizations. Using the Oracle Cloud to run PeopleSoft for demos, and for production. And even planning deployments of competitive cloud products and then shifting course and returning to PeopleSoft.
These are important stories to tell. First and foremost, because your achievements deserve to be acknowledged. You should be recognized for the investments you make, the ways you innovate and use the software to be productive and run your business. And in this age of hype, you deserve to know the real story. What is driving value, where the challenges are, and what is possible to achieve with your PeopleSoft investment today.
Resources: PeopleSoft Information Portal, Quest Success Stories
I just sat down with Marc Weintraub in our latest PeopleSoft Talk. Watch the video for a more complete discussion, and share your inputs too. Watch the upper right corner of the video for the opportunity to answer some questions and give us your input.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to the wonderful PeopleSoft community. We have great customers and user groups that are actively engaged in guiding the direction of the products, a strong portfolio of partners that have deep expertise and commitment to the solution, and an enterprise platform that has never been more powerful. Our global product team here at Oracle is ready and excited for 2017 and what we can do together this year!