Completed project: PeopleSoft (HRMS/SIS) 9.0 upgrade

Primary UITS contact: Sara Chambers

Completed: April 4, 2008

Description: February 15, 2008, was the target date for the first major upgrade of the PeopleSoft Student Administration software that is core to the Student Information and Human Resource Management Systems (SIS and HRMS). This upgrade included enhanced functionality for Student Records Administration, Academic Advising, Campus Community, Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Financials, and Student Self-Service. It also included updated functionality for Employee Records Management, Benefits, Payroll, and Employee Self-Service. As one might expect, this project required significant technical and functional resources.

The Executive Committees that oversee and prioritize the SIS and HRMS projects also provided the governance oversight for the upgrade. The Associate Vice Presidents/Provost/Chancellor, Vice Provost, and Directors from the areas charged with the governance of these systems comprise the two executive committees. The two committees met jointly on January 29, 2007, for the first of several meetings to review the status of the PeopleSoft software upgrade project and to establish direction for the upgrade.

During this meeting, the committee:

  1. Reaffirmed the decision to upgrade to PeopleSoft release 9.0 in 2008 instead of the alternative, which was to upgrade to release 8.9 in 2008 and move to release 9.0 in 2009.
    • The primary university benefit of going to release 9.0 is that it stabilizes the environment. It will be 2011-2012, at the earliest, before another major upgrade is required. This will allow functional and technical resources to focus on other priority initiatives once this upgrade is complete.
    • In addition, the university gains some additional functional benefits from 9.0, primarily in the academic advising area, back office functionality, and student self-service.
    • Users will experience only one major change in the PeopleSoft user interface and functionality over the next five years instead of a change for 8.9 and another for 9.0.
    • Users will experience a single large maintenance outage to convert data for the upgrade.
  2. Reaffirmed that the February date still appeared best for an implementation. February offers the fewest problems across the board and allows us to implement well in advance of the termination of support for the older version.
  3. Concluded that the timeline to implement release 9.0 was very tight, as Oracle did not release the upgrade scripts until mid-February 2007, and IU had six years of customizations to redevelop and nearly 4,000 hours of new development to complete. The project team planned milestones throughout the project to allow for decision checkpoints to help assess if the project was staying on track. (August 1, 2007, was the last date when we could have reverted to release 8.9 for a February 2008 implementation. This action was not taken.)

The last half of 2007 and first quarter of 2008 have required effort from all teams similar to that needed for the original implementation project. A great deal of work has had to be completed in a short period of time. Despite the tight timeframe, the Joint Committee requested that a documented fall-back contingency date not be selected due to the critical nature of the implementation when student processing is lower than usual.

IU could not justify a complete freeze of functionality enhancements during the past 12 months. Therefore required maintenance and development of value-added functionality that did not impact the core PeopleSoft software continued in the 8.0 production system. Development such as the new Faculty Annual Reporting system, electronic documents for student drop and add, grade change requests, Ad-Astra Room Scheduling software upgrade, and the migration of student, faculty, and staff self-service functionality to the new version of the OneStart portal are examples of this type of development that continued outside of core PeopleSoft.

Outcome: Upon completion of the project, the HRMS/SIS system is now on new application server and web server technology, is on a stable software platform for at least five years, and will provide new functionality in many areas of the application, including a new Student Center design.

Milestones and status: The PeopleSoft upgrade project got underway in early 2006. The development and analysis work began with version 8.9. When Oracle announced the delivery dates for version 9.0, IU determined that combining 8.9 with 9.0 would be advantageous. We continued to conduct functional and technical analysis of the 8.9 product through March 2007, assuming this work would be transferable to the 9.0 effort. Technical work began on the 9.0 effort in February 2007, immediately following Oracle's release of the 9.0 upgrade scripts. All modifications made to IU's PeopleSoft application since 1999 have been redeveloped in the 9.0 software and were released to the functional team for testing on June 1, 2007. The Student and HRMS functional teams concluded their fit/gap analysis in August and submitted requests for development projects to fill critical gaps. These requests amount to roughly 4,000 hours of work. Development continued through the end of November 2007; regression testing started in December and continued through early February. The production upgrade began on February 15, 2008, and continued for six days, with the system coming back online for all customers on February 21, 2008.

Immediately following the upgrade, on March 1, we implemented the first patch release. This release included Financial Aid Regs and Campus Solutions bundle fixes for the 9.0 software. Customers experienced the usual amount of system outage related to a scheduled release (one Saturday afternoon).

Benefits:

The university will gain several functional benefits from version 9.0, primarily in the academic advising and back office areas. Many enhancements extend existing capabilities and reduce administrative overhead. We will also see enhancements in the Student Self-Service area.

General benefits of 9.0 include:

  • IU software will remain compliant with federal and state regulations for financial aid and tax processing.
  • The upgrade provides the first benefits of a new service-oriented architecture.
  • The upgrade provides enhancements to the PeopleSoft development toolset and underlying technologies.
  • The upgrade positions the application for future releases of Fusion middleware.
  • The upgrade provides Oracle XML Publisher capabilities.

The benefits of combining versions 8.9 and 9.0 into one upgrade include the following:

  • The combined upgrade will stabilize the environment. It will be 2011-2012, at the earliest, before another major upgrade is required. This will allow functional and technical resources to focus on other priority initiatives once this upgrade is complete.
  • Users will experience only one major change in the PeopleSoft user interface and functionality over the next five years instead of a change for 8.9 and another for 9.0.
  • IU will experience a single large maintenance outage to convert data for the upgrade.

Related information: See the upgrade project home page.

Comment process: Send comments to the SIS Technical Account.

Risks: The timeline for implementing 9.0 was very tight. The upgrade scripts were not released until February 15, 2007, leaving only 12 months to complete this significant effort. A fully customized environment was released to the functional teams for analysis in June, due to the time required to install and reapply the IU customizations made to the previous release. The amount of work involved pushed regression testing into December, which really compacted the timeline for wrapping up the project by February.

Another significant risk was that the Financial Aid Regulatory Changes had to be applied to the system prior to FA packaging in March. Therefore, these enhancements were applied to a copy of 9.0 and applied to the production system two weeks after the upgrade, making coordination of the changes and testing difficult.

Issues: A significant issue with the upgrade plan is that the system had to sustain downtime to perform the software and database upgrade. Several large institutions that performed an 8.9 upgrade took the system offline for five or six days. The IU project team is evaluating alternatives to provide a read-only environment for much of the period, but the details may limit this environment to a small back-office user base.

Another issue facing the project team is that the software was not performing well right up to the eleventh hour. We conducted several load tests and all were fairly inconclusive. The technical staff continued to work on configuration and tuning and succeeded in providing a more stable application before our implementation date.

Primary client: Students, faculty, and staff who use the HRMS/SIS system

Client impact: Clients experienced significant changes in the user interface as well as changes in functionality. This upgrade required training for all SIS administrative users as well as central HRMS users. While the user interface for HRMS will also change, this is less of a training issue since the PeopleSoft client is available to only a few hundred back-office users. The distributed E-Doc interface will remain stable.

Project team: A large number of participants across UITS and the functional departments were involved in this project. Primary project managers were Laurie Sullivan, SIS; Bob DeGorgio, HRMS; and Karen Watkins, UITS. Approximately 120 functional and 38 technical staff were assigned to this effort.

Governance: The joint executive teams from SIS and HRMS representing major UA, IUB, and IUPUI administrative areas provided the project oversight. Members of that group were:

  • Mary Byrde, Financial Management Services
  • Sara Chambers, UITS
  • Roland Cote, Office of Enrollment Management, IUB
  • Dennis Cromwell, UITS
  • Jim Kennedy, Student Enrollment Services
  • Laura Kress, University Human Resource Services
  • Susan McCammon, Office of Academic Affairs, IUB
  • Dan McDevitt, Student Enrollment Services
  • Kathleen McNeely, Financial Management Services
  • Rebecca Porter, Office of Enrollment Services, IUPUI
  • Dan Rives, University Human Resource Services
  • Jeanne Sept, Office of Academic Affairs, IUB
  • Laurie Sullivan, Student Enrollment Services
  • Roger Thompson, Office of Enrollment Management, IUB
  • Barry Walsh, Financial Management Services and UITS

This is document auzv in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-09-30 00:00:00.

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