Higher Education IT leaders know they need to innovate. I know because I felt the constant need to support and improve systems of engagement as an IT leader for a public university system with an enrollment of more than 70,000 students. The struggle is real! Strategic imperatives such as flexible academic program structures and improved integrated user experiences are being proposed rapidly and seen as mandatory. The demand for new requirements often imposes aggressive timelines on IT priorities, and in many cases, strategic IT initiatives were (and still are) pivotal to the health and success of an institution. To fulfill the need for cost-effective innovation for institutions running on PeopleSoft, a strategic route is to optimize existing platforms and be innovative about modern technology deployment. To start down this path, I suggest IT leaders ask themselves the following questions:
- Are you concerned that your PeopleSoft sustainment plans aren’t comprehensive, realistic, aggressive enough, or linked to strategic goals?
- Are you actively re-skilling internal resources to support strategic initiatives?
- Do you worry about operational failure during critical business processes such as payroll processing and course registration?
- Do you struggle to meet the data and system integration needs of your constituents?
- Do your users negatively comment about the overly complex and confusing user experience?
- Are you struggling to retain and hire resources to support your PeopleSoft platform(s)?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to look at the balance and alignment of your technology investments. Institutional IT teams often manage and support human resources, finance, and student information applications, and teams can be challenged by routine operational support requirements within these systems. Strategic initiatives, such as student outcomes analytics or improved registration capabilities, often take the back burner, even though improvements are pivotal to the successful operation of an institution. Colleges and universities cannot be static even if plans are in place to migrate to new platforms in the future. Therefore, it is vitally important to sustain, enhance, and optimize existing systems. As institutions are confronted with the loss of key resources and hiring challenges, risks must be taken into consideration and mitigated. PeopleSoft investments should support and not detract from strategic initiatives.
Organizational leadership needs data-driven information about how to sustain and optimize existing systems within the institution. Assessing and identifying options for increasing the resilience of existing platforms and making them more effective is critical. Even the most highly skilled IT teams may not be aware of available options and may benefit from outside resources.
An outside IT firm can provide institutions great value in:
- Enabling delivered functionality not yet deployed.
- Re-branding applications and improving user experience through PeopleSoft Fluid technology.
- Integrating PeopleSoft applications and data with other technology platforms to deliver critical functionality – CRMs, registration systems, analytics systems, student success applications, and many more.
- Lowering the cost or effort of maintenance activity.
- Improving system resilience.
- Automating testing to improve quality and free up resources.
- Streamlining business processes and potentially eliminating complex modifications.
If this sounds familiar and these questions resonate, contact Sierra-Cedar for a complimentary consultation on sustaining and optimizing your PeopleSoft systems. Sierra-Cedar has worked with more than 350 colleges and universities and has a wealth of PeopleSoft knowledge and experience. Our teams can provide insight and reliable data as institutions develop plans to sustain and optimize existing Peoplesoft applications.
About the Author
Ellen Kanter is an Account Manager within the Sierra-Cedar Higher Education Practice. With more than 30 years of IT leadership experience, Ellen focuses on helping clients achieve strategic goals and transformational initiatives.