According to analysts, Oracle’s original plan was to get PeopleSoft’s users to migrate to the Oracle HCM. Even the name of Oracle’s next-generation product, Fusion, makes clear that the company was hoping to move all its clients onto a common platform. But in response to the unrelenting concerns of PeopleSoft clients, Oracle announced a plan in May called “Applications Unlimited.” This was a promise to not only maintain but develop PeopleSoft applications (as well as JD Edwards and Siebel products) for the foreseeable future. The release of PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management 9.0 is a delivery on that Applications Unlimited promise.
What’s in the release
Oracle aimed for three major features in the 9.0 release: improved talent management, streamlined business processes and ways for customers to extend the value of their investment.
The talent management capabilities revolve around profile management.
“A profile contains information about an employee such as skills, competencies, accreditations and personal career goals—as well as the attributes of a position to enable person-job matching,” says Tracy Martin, Oracle’s senior director of human capital management product strategy. “It is designed to work across different HR functions so data can be captured and used in recruitment, performance management, training or any other area.”
A major challenge with profile databases is keeping them up to date so PeopleSoft 9.0 enables employees to update their own profiles. These profiles give managers easy access to information about the talent in the organization. For example if an organization wants a Spanish-speaking engineer with good performance ratings and an interest in overseas work, then the talent management system can tell you if you have such a person somewhere in the company.
To streamline business processes, version 9.0 is making various procedures more configurable. A good example of this is SmartHire, which allows companies to customize the hiring process for different jobs or different parts of the organization. If restaurant managers typically need to replace staff quickly, then the system can be configured to make the hiring procedures simpler for them. Hiring templates can be pre-populated with data like cost account, tax code and region, minimizing the hassle of entering a new hire into the system.
When Oracle representatives speak about “extending the value of your investment,” they mean finding ways to use the system to reduce costs. One such innovation in version 9.0 is the use of XML Publisher to produce W2s so that employees can refer to them online. It’s a self-service capability intended to reduce calls to the payroll department and hence reduce costs.
PeopleSoft customers will likely be glad to see the specific enhancements in 9.0, but more than that, they are likely to feel reassured that they won’t be forced to a jump to a new platform in the near future.
“Oracle is already working on plans for PeopleSoft releases 9.1 and 9.x,” according to Martin. “One thing to expect is for more of the Fusion technologies, like XML Publisher, to continue to make their way into the PeopleSoft applications.”