Over the past few years -- and at both 2009 and 2010 Alliance Conferences -- we've heard about the continuous delivery model being embraced by the Oracle team leading the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions product. The new model is vastly appealing since it moves us away from large and expensive upgrades. However, like any opportunity, it presents certain hurdles or challenges of its own.
One of these hurdles is to determine appropriate intervals for updating the technology layer of the Campus Solutions product. There will be times where Oracle will need updated features in the underlying infrastructure in order to support new business features and enhancements. We are facing just such a technology hurdle now, in that Campus Solutions 9.0 will soon require an upgrade to PeopleTools release 8.50.
I have included a statement from Mark Armstrong, Vice President of Oracle Higher Education Product Development, which clarifies the policy around PeopleTools as it relates to the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions product. Mark's note offers a good reminder that we as customers need to pay close attention to Oracle policy, so that we can make effective business decisions at each of our individual institutions.
In the coming days, the HEUG will survey our membership to get a true sense of the impact of Oracle's proposed timeline for requiring PeopleTools 8.50 for PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0. I hope each institution will take the opportunity to respond to this survey so that the HEUG Board can subsequently make an appropriate recommendation to Oracle.
Here's Mark's note...
As you know, we had several discussions in forums at Alliance in San Antonio where individual customers expressed their concerns over the date we are requiring Campus Solutions 9.0 customers upgrade to PeopleTools 8.50. Since then we have been monitoring listserv traffic, and reached out directly to the TAG and members of the HEUG Board to make sure we stay abreast of any changes you might request on behalf of these customers. I'm not sure there is a clear answer just yet, but wanted to assure you we can delay the PTools 8.50 upgrade requirement a number of months, provided the TAG and HEUG Board can advise us on a new, final date soon.
Some inconsistency in customers' understanding of the requirement and policies related to it have surfaced that we'd like to help clarify here. We've take an action item to work with you all on refining our ability to communicate policies via the HEUG organization, and deeply appreciate your willingness to collaborate with us. Please review and share the following information as you see appropriate.
- Our release model is predicated on customers uptaking product and technology on a continuous basis. Recognizing the benefits PeopleTools 8.50 delivers to the higher ed development team and customers, we'd like to be able to deliver features and functions that take advantage of 8.50 in 2011. In order for us to safely deliver features or updates utilizing 8.50, we must first ensure higher ed customers have upgraded.
- We first communicated that Campus Solutions 9.0 customers would, as part of the release model, be required to upgrade to and stay relatively current on specific PeopleTools releases in several sessions at Alliance 2009. There were no specific PeopleTools upgrade requirements for Feature Packs 1 or 2, delivered in 2009.
- Recognizing the potential impact to customer planning, we proposed January 2011 as the date by which the 8.50 upgrade--released in October 2009--would be required for Campus Solutions 9.0 customers. That date generally aligns with the next release of PeopleTools and their standard support policy. The proposal was presented and discussed with the HEUG Board in December, at which time they indicated we should complete the discussion with the TAG in January and proceed with the TAG's recommendation whether to adopt and publish the policy.
- Many factors are considered when targeting resolutions, regulatory updates and product features or enhancements for delivery to customers. In this particular case, those Campus Solutions deliverables targeted for early 2011 either don't have a hard dependencies on PeopleTools 8.50 or can be retargeted for a future date. We will work with the HEUG Board and TAG to review and potentially adjust the 8.50 upgrade requirement date based on their recommendation. However, Campus Solutions 9.0 customers will be required to upgrade at some point. Other PeopleSoft products follow the standard PeopleTools support policy (see below) unless otherwise documented.
- PeopleSoft product support and testing environments are upgraded to the latest release of PeopleTools at some point after the upgrade is released to customers. Oracle Development and Support will begin testing all 8.9 and 9.0 deliverables on 8.50 starting in March 2010. To be clear, once the environments are upgraded, Oracle Development does not continue to test incident resolutions, Regs updates and features on prior releases of PeopleTools. Customer reported application issues that are specific to older releases of PeopleTools are considered on a case-by-case basis, and require the impacted customer(s) to submit a business case sufficient to justify creating a supported one-off patch.
- PeopleTools releases, as in the past, require customers to apply upgrades to stay current and under Premier Support. Patches and platform certifications for a PeopleTools release will only be created from when that release is generally available until 12 months after the next release is generally available. For example, based on the PeopleTools 8.50 upgrade release date of October 2009, patches for 8.49 will be considered only on a case-by-case basis starting in November of this year (2010). PeopleSoft products other than Campus Solutions may require a specific PeopleTools version as a prerequisite to implementing new features or products between major application releases as well. Finally, we generally attempt to avoid delivering regulatory patches that are dependent upon the very latest release of PeopleTools. However, due to the growing volume and complexity of regulatory and legislative requirements, it is increasingly important for us to leverage the utility and efficiency of the latest PeopleTools release. Customers can review certifications via My Oracle Support (click on More, Select Certifications): https://support.oracle.com/CSP/ui/flash.html#.
-- M a r k
Mark Armstrong | Vice President
Oracle Higher Education Product Development