University to upgrade PeopleSoft apps

The University of Auckland is pushing ahead with plans to expand and improve its PeopleSoft systems. The university last year upgraded financials to web-based version 8, and plans to undertake human resources and student administration.

The University of Auckland is pushing ahead with plans to expand and improve its PeopleSoft systems.

The university last year upgraded financials to web-based version 8, and plans to undertake human resources and student administration.

Last year’s upgrade brought many benefits but wasn’t all plain sailing.

“There were a fair few more bugs than we anticipated,” says IT and services director Stephen Whiteside, “but the product is very good.”

He says more work still needs to be done on the financials, “catching up with patches”, before the next applications are implemented.

Whiteside says projects have to be justified in terms of cost and need.

“The key thing with spending on an upgrade of HR and payroll is that we can’t justify the cost unless we can provide good self-service to our staff and their managers. We have a lot of work to do regarding ‘are we ready re our data quality?’ "

The upgrade will be one of the key focuses of an HR director who has been appointed, he says.

The university uses PeopleSoft Student Administration 7.6. “Because we were an early adopter, everyone else is on the Australasian version.”

A new Australasian product, 8.8, is to be released at the end of the year. The university will upgrade then.

PeopleSoft Portal 8.0 is another project. Whiteside says the university is exploiting the application and the personalisation that comes with it.

“We have Portal, but Portal is a journey, not a plug-in, and there are some opportunities to improve the personalisation of services.”

Executive information systems, tools which ease analysis and reporting, is another area to be improved this year, with refinements in the university’s enterprise applications to make them more usable for departments.

Acquiring a data warehouse is part of that, with a decision on whether to buy or build yet to be made, Whiteside says.

Utilising new opportunities provided by PeopleSoft’s purchase of JD Edwards is also on the agenda.

“The acquisition made sense from a product perspective, looking at JDE’s strengths in different areas.”

One of those strengths is in plant maintenance and management, an area where the university has significant needs.

It uses Maximo for plant maintenance, but a possible move to the legacy JDE product “is something to consider for the future”.

In general, the university believes the merger is a healthy thing.

“Like many international organisations in New Zealand, PeopleSoft was small and [the merger] brings more depth to it here. For example, when we dealt with PeopleSoft re the student administration system, because it was a niche product we looked to the US and Australia rather than New Zealand.”

The university is the second biggest PeopleSoft site in the country, after Air New Zealand.

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