Users praise PeopleSoft software ownership program

PeopleSoft's investment in its software ownership enhancement program is yielding results, making applications easier and cheaper to install and maintain, according to users of the company's products.

At its Leadership Summit 2004 customer event in Las Vegas this week, PeopleSoft touted a number of milestones it has achieved since launching the total ownership experience (TOE) program at last year's summit. The effort resulted in tools that automate the process of doing upgrades, managing customizations and modeling applications.

PeopleSoft is now halfway to reaching its goal of cutting the expenses associated with software ownership by 60 percent via such things as increased end-user productivity, according to Chief Marketing Officer Nanci Caldwell. The company has devoted more than 1,000 developers to the project and has already completed more than five releases that had TOE enhancements.

"There's a lot of hype in the market, and it's very reassuring we've been able to deliver what we have delivered," Caldwell said.

Among its claims around TOE, PeopleSoft said it has cut the time needed to resolve customer problems by 44 percent, reduced the number of steps to implement application updates by 80 percent and cut overall implementation time by 20 percent.

A half-dozen users at the Leadership Summit 2004 offered praise for TOE. At Harris Trust and Savings Bank, a regional bank based in Chicago, IT personnel expect a planned upgrade from PeopleSoft Financials Version 8.3 to 8.8 to be done in as little as eight weeks, said William Kragh, vice president of the financial control group. That speed is fairly unique in the industry, he said, contrasting it with other upgrades already under way that have now exceeded the two-year mark.

"In terms of doing business with PeopleSoft, we found when we speak the words, they listen and give you the time of day," Kragh said, noting his interest in some of PeopleSoft's other new applications, such as a tool to aid with Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance.

Kragh wasn't alone in citing TOE's benefits.

"It (TOE) was a selling point," said Casey McMullen, director of IS at Agri Beef Co., a beef supplier in Boise, Idaho. While he has not yet used the tools, McMullen said, "they made us understand those tools, such as the one that keeps track of customizations and one that identifies needed upgrades."

The company went live with PeopleSoft's Enterprise Financials in January after a six-week implementation that replaced two legacy systems.

TOE has become an important part of PeopleSoft's work, said Mike Conlon, director of data infrastructure at the University of Florida, which runs PeopleSoft's portal and plans next month to roll out its human resources and financials software. Conlon said the university has done a significant number of patches and upgrades around PeopleSoft, a process made easier with the diagnostic tools that identify and manage customizations.

He said he is also interested in implementing the change assistant tool that helps IT staff understand what patches are needed for a given version of PeopleSoft software.

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