The short answer to this question is yes, yes! Upgrading to Campus Solutions 9.2 will provide your institution a truly transformative platform from which to further extend your investment in Campus Solutions.
Of course, the question calls for a more complex answer as to why - and when to upgrade to Campus Solutions 9.2 (CS 9.2). In this examination of upgrading to CS 9.2, I want to discuss these points in more detail and to provide to you an informed foundation to help you make the right decision for your institution.
Why upgrade to CS 9.2?
The upgrade from CS 9.0 to CS 9.2 was designed to be an upgrade with a lower impact to your organization than upgrades between earlier versions. Some might refer to the upgrade from CS 9.0 to CS 9.2 as a “technical only” upgrade. Tables and record structure are generally unchanged between CS 9.0 and CS 9.2, and if you are already on CS 9.0 with bundles through July 2015, you are at the same codeline as CS 9.2.
Enhanced User Experience
The user experience in CS 9.2 has been enhanced to provide a more simplified experience for your users. The new standard Tangerine style sheet provides for basic control of the look and feel of your PeopleSoft Pages, such as the NavBar, the fluid banner, homepages and tiles. Use of a Style Sheet will allow for you to apply a predefined layout setting to every page in your CS 9.2 application, eliminating the need to redefine the same settings for each page separately, providing for a consistent appearance and user experience throughout your CS 9.2 system.
Oracle Global Search
To further enhance your users’ experience, Oracle Global Search provides secure, free-text search within PeopleSoft applications across multiple objects and multiple applications for a more streamlined search-driven navigation approach, very similar to the experience your students, faculty, staff, and administrators have when using search engines such as Google or Bing, facilitating the transition to the new technology.
And, beginning with PeopleTools 8.55, CS 9.2 will have a Fluid header on its classic pages that matches the Fluid pages. This fuses the user experience of classic pages with newer Fluid pages and applications. With the Fluid user interface, user navigation is more seamless and intuitive. Using Fluid homepages, tiles, global search, related actions, and the new fluid Navigation Collection feature, users can more easily navigate to the information most important to them. Oracle has provided flexibility in the use of the Fluid header: if there is a special circumstance where your institution wants to maintain the classic menus, you may do so.
PeopleSoft Update Manager
With CS 9.2, Oracle has introduced the use of the PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM), making PUM standard across all Oracle PeopleSoft 9.2 applications. If you are currently live on either PeopleSoft HCM 9.2 or PeopleSoft Financials 9.2, your institution is already leveraging the flexibility of PUM. Oracle is delivering new CS 9.2 capabilitieis via a fully patched PeopleSoft image to My Oracle Support. Using PUM, your institution can select which capabilities to accept, allowing for a tailored, custom package of changes that meet the specific needs of your school without having to worry about any prerequisite updates.
Device Independent Design with Fluid
The benefits of CS 9.2 can’t be complete without a mention of Fluid. PeopleTools 8.55 contains significant improvements in a variety of areas and most notably in Fluid User Interface. PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface offers a completely responsive device independent design for desktop, smartphones and tablets. It offers the most advanced user experience using the latest rendering technologies HTML5/CCS3. PeopleSoft Fluid UI enables PeopleSoft mobility on any device by recognizes the device format factor being used for PeopleSoft and rendering the layout for which it is most optimized.
When to upgrade to CS 9.2?
The upgrade to CS 9.2 contains significant improvements to both the underlying infrastructure of the PeopleSoft application along with tremendous advancement to the user experience. The question, now, becomes finding the right time to upgrade.
CS 9.2 was released in December 2015 and a certified upgrade path was released to upgrade to CS 9.2 on PeopleTools 8.54. In the near future, Oracle will be delivering a certified upgrade path to upgrade to CS 9.2 on PeopleTools 8.55.
Following the Least Complex Upgrade Path
It should be noted that support on CS 9.0 will end in December 2019. Planning for your upgrade now positions your institution to be on the latest version of Campus Solutions, and upgrading sooner means your campus can follow the least complex upgrade path: the longer your institution waits to upgrade to CS 9.2, the more features and capabilities it will be missing as all future releases through the continuous delivery model will assume CS 9.2 as the baseline. The earlier your campus upgrades, the less complexity.
Taking Advantage of Mission-Critical Functionality
Another good reason to begin your upgrade planing is to take advantage of more mission-critical functionality. After upgrading to CS 9.0, many institutions have not yet implemented the new 9.0 features such as Activity Guides, Workcenters or Pivot Grids. Starting your upgrade to CS 9.2 now will allow your school the time to evaluate many of the new features delivered in CS 9.0 and to plan how to best leverage these new capabilities moving forward.
Including Cloud Solutions in Your SIS Roadmap
Planning for your upgrade now will also allow your institution to develop a roadmap for co-existence with Oracle’s Cloud solutions. Oracle will soon release, in 2016, Student Management, a component of Oracle Student Cloud. Campuses may choose to stay with the Campus Solutions product only, integrate with one or more Student Cloud pieces, or move entirely to a cloud based student information system. Robust design and development for both product offerings will continue into the future.
Oracle has introduced significant enhancements in CS 9.2 that represent technology and user experience innovation. Taking advantage of CS 9.2 now will provide the foundation for further extending your Campus Solutions application and impact.
Sierra-Cedar is ready to support your evolution with whatever solution is best for your campus. For further details, stop by the Sierra-Cedar booth at Alliance 2016 (booth #508) to speak to one of our CS 9.2 experts or visit us at http://www.sierra-cedar.com.
About the Author
Wendy Williams has over nineteen years experience in PeopleSoft applications and over ten years in higher education. In her role at Sierra-Cedar, Ms. Williams is responsible for successful delivery of key Oracle Higher Education projects and enables consistency in execution and deliverables across projects.