The PeopleSoft Finance system will be down November 9 (5 p.m.) thru November 11 (4 p.m.) for maintenance to upgrade the system to the PeopleTools 8.56.05 platform. This article provides some details about the upgrade – including the most noticeable changes and why the upgrade is important for USC. This upgrade does not change the functionality of the application in any material way. For end users, this upgrade is primarily a new look and feel to the pages that are used every day.
What are the most noticeable changes introduced by the PeopleTools Upgrade?
- The look and feel of the PeopleSoft pages is changing, but only the “style” – not the functionality. This new style introduces fields, buttons, checkboxes and other elements of the pages that have different sizing, colors, and sometimes shapes. These features’ relative placement and the functions performed by users remains the same. This new style keeps pace with the broader design of webpages that are useful both on a traditional computer and smaller devices – including mobile devices. So, the fields and buttons are optimized to work with not only the precision of a mouse click, but also the convenience of a finger touching it on the screen. PeopleSoft calls this new look and feel “Classic+” – a reference to the current look and feel being “Classic PeopleSoft”.
- The navigation bar at the top of the screen is changing slightly, but the “header” retains the core placement and functionality of today’s navigation bar while allowing for the introduction of what PeopleSoft refers to as “Fluid” navigation, which is designed to support seamless mobile device integration (smartphones, tablets, etc.) as the system evolves and matures. While there is no Fluid functionality currently supported by USC’s team, this upgrade sets the stage for introducing Fluid pages over the next few years.
- A PeopleTools upgrade does not directly impact business functionality of the system or core operations. It is an upgrade to the core technology that all PeopleSoft applications are built on – including USC’s companion PeopleSoft application (PS Human Capital Management; or HCM) that the HR / Payroll teams are in the process of taking live in April, 2019.
Why upgrade now?
- The most critical business driver behind the upgrade is to get onto the same release (PeopleTools 8.56.09) as the HR/Payroll system – PeopleSoft’s HCM product. This is necessary to ensure key integrations between PeopleSoft’s Finance and HCM systems work as delivered or with minimal customizations. So, the PS Finance Program team has been working with USC’s partners at IBM toward this upgrade for several months now. But there are other reasons…
- It is an industry “best practice” and USC standard to upgrade enterprise application technology every two years (if not more often). The core application functionality was upgraded last Fall – what’s called an “Application Upgrade” in PeopleSoft lingo. Two years ago around this same time, PeopleTools was upgraded from the original go-live version in 2015 to the current version used today. So, it’s in keeping with USC and industry standards to put this upgrade in now.
- USC does not want to lose vendor support. USC’s vendor, Oracle, will stop supporting old versions of PeopleSoft – thus requiring upgrades within reasonable timeframes.
- Lastly, one of the reasons USC invested in PeopleSoft is because it has a very good track record of evolving over time to meet the needs of its customers by keeping pace with technology. There are features and functions in this upgrade that open the door for USC to explore new, more efficient user experiences. The most prominent of these features is “Fluid” – PeopleSoft’s answer to bringing Finance, HR, & Payroll operations to mobile devices. While USC is not turning on those features immediately, once the HR/Payroll implementation stabilizes and support teams have more cycles to focus on “what’s next,” the PS Finance system will introduce these new capabilities to our users guided by business operation demands within the Division of Administration and Finance.
What does the new style look like?
Here is a link to a video overview.