Friday Jun 29, 2012

Highlights From Interact '12 - Healthcare Industry User Group

Last week the Oracle team traveled to Orlando for the 18th annual Healthcare Industry User Group (HIUG) conference, Interact '12.   HIUG has over 3,000 members representing 180 organizations.  While we now know the result on the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, the consensus at the conference last week was summed up well in the welcome note from HIUG President, Chris Ryzewski:    "Regardless of the legal ruling on this administration's  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act we will undoubtedly be called upon to further reduce costs and be more efficient in every aspect of our business processes."    Well put!  

Attendance exceeded previous years with several hundred attendees, over 100 sessions, and a trade show that numbered 40 booths.    Most of the HIUG members use PeopleSoft applications and they tend to be full suite customers who use PeopleSoft broadly from HCM to Financials and Supply Chain. For many customers who have licensed PeopleSoft in the last year, it was their first experience with a very strong and collaborative user group.   I had dinner with a provider who is rolling out PeopleSoft HCM and ERP to a nationwide system of forty hospitals.  A key driver for this organization and others is how to leverage PeopleSoft applications to meet the cost reduction goals mentioned above.  

In the area of procurement, the topic of Supplier Contract Management attracted a lot of attention.  Contract pricing and adherence to contracts throughout the procure to pay life cycle are key to meeting cost containment objectives.  Customers were excited to see the new faceted search capabilities and usability of  the upcoming PeopleSoft eProcurement release.     The new Work Center concept was discussed in several areas including the Cost Reconciliation Work Center and the Supply Demand Work Center which enables healthcare specific functions around PAR counts and related replenishment activities.  The latest Feature Pack of HCM 9.1 was demonstrated with the Talent Summary and Manager Dashboard.   Customers were excited to see the major advances in self service available today.    The Grants Special Interest Group focused quite a bit on the usage of PeopleSoft's Project Costing "Funds Distribution" feature, which can be used to manage capital projects funded by multiple agencies and sources.  Along with the latest release of the Mobile Inventory solution that several hospitals have now implemented, a preview of new mobile applications for expenses and approvals drew a lot of attention.  

The PeopleSoft focus on assisting these companies in their goals to contain costs and create new efficiencies continues forward.   We look foward to Interact '13!     





Thursday Jun 21, 2012

PeopleSoft RECONNECT Conference Unites the PeopleSoft Community

The PeopleSoft team is looking forward to participating in this new PeopleSoft deep dive conference from the Quest International Users Group.  We’ve worked diligently with the leadership of Quest’s PeopleSoft Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) and Regional User Groups (RUG’s) to make sure this national user event delivers PeopleSoft content that meets the needs of the PeopleSoft community.

The inaugural PeopleSoft RECONNECT conference will be held August 27-29, 2012 in Hartford Connecticut.  Through our Product Strategy, Development and Support teams Oracle will provide support for education sessions in these key tracks:

  • Human Capital Management (HCM)
  • Financials (FMS)
  • Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
  • Supply Chain, Manufacturing & Distribution (SCM)
  • Project Costing
  • Applications Technology (PeopleTools)

Oracle will host a general session from John Webb, plus roadmap sessions for the major PeopleSoft product areas.  We will also host enhancement discussions for our key PeopleSoft solutions allowing participants to contribute to the future of PeopleSoft through an interactive forum.  All of this is part of the 100+ education sessions being offered by the customer and vendor community.  

There’s a lot of buzz around this conference, so don’t delay in registering key members of your team today.  We look forward to seeing you there so register NOW!

Thursday Jun 14, 2012

PeopleSoft Upgrades, Fusion, & BI for Leading European PeopleSoft Applications Customers

With so many industry-leading services firms around the globe managing their businesses with PeopleSoft, it’s always an adventure setting up times and meetings for us to keep in touch with them, especially those outside of North America who often do not get to join us at Oracle OpenWorld. Fortunately, during the first two weeks of May, Nigel Woodland (Oracle’s Service Industries Director for the EMEA region) and I successfully blocked off our calendars to visit seven different customers spanning four countries in Western Europe. We met executives and leaders at four Staffing industry firms, two Professional Services firms that engage in consulting and auditing, and a Financial Services firm.

As we shared the latest information regarding product capabilities and plans, we also gained valuable insight into the hot technology topics facing these businesses. What we heard was both informative and inspiring, and I suspect other Oracle PeopleSoft applications customers can benefit from one or more of the following observations from our trip.

Great IT Plans Get Executed When You Respect the Users

Each of our visits followed roughly the same pattern. After introductions, Nigel outlined Oracle’s product and technology strategy, including a discussion of how we at Oracle invest in each layer of the “technology stack” to provide customers with unprecedented business management capabilities and choice. Then, I provided the specifics of the PeopleSoft product line’s investment strategy, detailing the dramatic number of rich usability and functionality enhancements added to release 9.1 since its general availability in 2009 and the game-changing capabilities slated for 9.2.

What was most exciting about each of these discussions was that shortly after my talking about what customers can do with release 9.1 right now to drive up user productivity and satisfaction, I saw the wheels turning in the minds of our audiences. Business analyst and end user-configurable tools and technologies, such as WorkCenters and the Related Action Framework, that provide the ability to tailor a “central command center” to the exact needs of each recruiter, biller, and every other role in the organization were exactly what each of our customers had been looking for. Every one of our audiences agreed that these tools which demonstrate a respect for the user would finally help IT pole vault over the wall of resistance that users had often raised in the past. With these new user-focused capabilities, IT is positioned to definitively partner with the business, instead of drag the business along, to unlock the value of their investment in PeopleSoft.

This topic of respecting the user emerged during our very first visit, which was at Vital Services Group at their Head Office “The Mill” in Manchester, England. (If you are a student of architecture and are ever in Manchester, you should stop in to see this amazingly renovated old mill building.) I had just finished explaining our PeopleSoft 9.2 roadmap, and Mike Code, PeopleSoft Systems Manager for this innovative staffing company, said, “Mark, the new features you’ve shown us in 9.1/9.2 are very relevant to our business. As we forge ahead with the 9.1 upgrade, the ability to configure a targeted user interface with WorkCenters, Related Actions, Pivot Grids, and Alerts will enable us to satisfy the business that this upgrade is for them and will deliver tangible benefits. In fact, you’ve highlighted that we need to start talking to the business to keep up the momentum to start reviewing the 9.2 upgrade after we get to 9.1, because as much as 9.1 and PeopleTools 8.52 offers, what you’ve shown us for 9.2 is what we’ve envisioned was ultimately possible with our investment in PeopleSoft applications.”

We also received valuable feedback about our investment for the Staffing industry when we visited with Hans Wanders, CIO of Randstad (the second largest Staffing company in the world) in the Netherlands. After our visit, Hans noted, “It was very interesting to see how the PeopleSoft applications have developed. I was truly impressed by many of the new developments.”

Hans and Mike, sincere thanks for the validation that our team’s hard work and dedication to “respecting the users” is worth the effort!

Co-existence of PeopleSoft and Fusion Applications Just Makes Sense

As a “product person,” one of the most rewarding things about visiting customers is that they actually want to talk to me. Sometimes, they want to discuss a product area that we need to enhance; other times, they are interested in learning how to extract more value from their applications; and still others, they want to tell me how they are using the applications to drive real value for the business.

During this trip, I was very pleased to hear that several of our customers not only thought the co-existence of Fusion applications alongside PeopleSoft applications made sense in theory, but also that they were aggressively looking at how to deploy one or more Fusion applications alongside their PeopleSoft HCM and FSCM applications.

The most common deployment plan in the works by three of the organizations is to upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.1 or 9.2, and then adopt one of the new Fusion HCM applications, such as Fusion Performance Management or the full suite of  Fusion Talent Management. For example, during an applications upgrade planning discussion with the staffing company Hays plc., Mark Thomas, who is Hays’ UK IT Director, commented, “We are very excited about where we can go with the latest versions of the PeopleSoft applications in conjunction with Fusion Talent Management.”

Needless to say, this news was very encouraging, because it reiterated that our applications investment strategy makes good business sense for our customers.

Next Generation Business Intelligence Is the Key to the Future

The third, and perhaps most exciting, lesson I learned during this journey is that our audiences already know that the latest generation of Business Intelligence technologies will be the “secret sauce” for organizations to transform business in radical ways.

While a number of the organizations we visited on the trip have deployed or are deploying Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and the associated analytics applications to provide dashboards of easy-to-understand, user-configurable metrics that help optimize business performance according to current operating procedures, what’s most exciting to them is being able to use Business Intelligence to change the way an organization does business, grows revenue, and makes a profit. In particular, several executives we met asked whether we can help them minimize the need to have perfectly structured data and at the same time generate analytics that improve order fulfillment decision-making. To them, the path to future growth lies in having the ability to analyze unstructured data rapidly and intuitively and leveraging technology’s ability to detect patterns that a human cannot reasonably be expected to see.

For illustrative purposes, here is a good example of a business problem where analyzing a combination of structured and unstructured data can produce better results. If you have a resource manager trying to decide which person would be the best fit for an assignment in terms of ensuring (a) client satisfaction, (b) the individual’s satisfaction with the work, (c) least travel distance, and (d) highest margin, you traditionally compare resource qualifications to assignment needs, calculate margins on past work with the client, and measure distances. To perform these comparisons, you are likely to need the organization to have profiles setup, people ranked against profiles, margin targets setup, margins measured, distances setup, distances measured, and more. As you can imagine, this requires organizations to plan and implement data setup, capture, and quality management initiatives to ensure that dependable information is available to support resourcing analysis and decisions.

In the fast-paced, tight-budget world in which most organizations operate today, the effort and discipline required to maintain high-quality, structured data like those described in the above example are certainly not desirable and in some cases are not feasible.

You can imagine how intrigued our audiences were when I informed them that we are ready to help them analyze volumes of unstructured data, detect trends, and produce recommendations. Our discussions delved into examples of how the firms could leverage Oracle’s Secure Enterprise Search and Endeca technologies to keyword search against, compare, and learn from unstructured resource and assignment data. We also considered examples of how they could employ Oracle Real-Time Decisions to generate statistically significant recommendations based on similar resourcing scenarios that have produced the desired satisfaction and profit margin results.

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Although I had almost no time for sight-seeing during this trip to Europe, I have to say that it may have been one of the most energizing and engaging trips of my career. Showing these dedicated customers how they can give every user a uniquely tailored set of tools and address business problems in ways that have to date been impossible made the journey across the Atlantic more than worth it. If any of these three topics intrigue you, I’d recommend you contact your Oracle applications representative to arrange for more detailed discussions with the appropriate members of our organization.

Monday Jun 04, 2012

Oracle HCM User Group (OHUG) 2012 Conference

The PeopleSoft HCM team is looking forward to a great OHUG conference and to meeting with our PeopleSoft HCM Customers there!

The OHUG Global Conference 2012 will be held at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 18-22, 2012.

With Oracle Corporation's continued support of the Global OHUG Conference, this event is one of the best opportunities PeopleSoft HCM Customers have to interact and communicate directly with PeopleSoft Strategy, Development and Support and understand the entire Oracle HCM opportunities that await.

PeopleSoft HCM has 10 exciting sessions and several Meet the Experts sessions planned to highlight the value and opportunities with PeopleSoft applications. For details on the PeopleSoft HCM tracks and sessions please visit the OHUG Session Line Up page.

PeopleSoft HCM will be offering an annual General Roadmap session by Tracy Martin and multiple Product specific sessions. Our PeopleSoft HCM General session will provide very valuable information on our continuous delivery strategy and upcoming HCM 9.2 release and beyond. Tracy will also address opportunities that await PeopleSoft customers with co-exist opportunities with Fusion, Taleo, Oracle BI and more. Our Product Roadmap sessions will go into product specific areas providing roadmap information for the corresponding product domains.

There will also be a PeopleTools Roadmap and Vision session that will let Customers see what is new in PeopleTools and what is planned for the future.

And last, but not least, PeopleSoft will be holding the annual Meet the Experts sessions. Customers who want to have focused discussions on specific areas or products can meet with PeopleSoft Strategy, Development and Support teams who will be available to discuss product features and answer Customers' questions.

Don’t miss this opportunity! If you are a PeopleSoft HCM Customer, join us at OHUG! Look forward to seeing you there.

About

This blog is dedicated to topics focused on PeopleSoft Applications, including Human Capital Management, Financials, Enterprise Service Automation, Asset Lifecycle Management, Procurement, Supply Chain and Customer Relationship Management.

For information about legislative updates to our PeopleSoft Applications see the PeopleSoft Legislative Updates Blog.

For information about PeopleTools see the PeopleSoft Technology Blog.

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