The advantage of PeopleSoft is that you can customise it to your needs. The downside of PeopleSoft is that you can customise it to your needs. This may be a contradiction to start with, but both are actually true. At practically all customers we see that PeopleSoft has been customised to meet specific business requirements. And this can be a good thing as it may improve efficiency or maximize your productivity. However, not all customisations are good, properly built or even (still) required. And in many cases customisations increase the complexity and cost of maintenance and upgrades. In this blog post we take a look on the advantages and possibilities of reducing customisations in PeopleSoft.
Customisation, configuration and built-on
But first let’s take a look at the differences between customisation, built-on and configuration. Customisation, bolt-on, and configuration are three distinct approaches to tailor PeopleSoft to meet specific requirements. While they all involve modifying the behaviour of PeopleSoft, there are important differences in terms of scope, complexity, and impact on maintenance and upgrades.
Customisation refers to making changes within Peoplesoft to meet specific business needs and align the system with your organization’s unique process requirements. Customisation of PeopleSoft is typically done through Application Designer and involves things like modifying PeopleCode or altering objects like records, components and pages. As customisations change delivered (core) functionality they may impact future updates and/or upgrades and may become expensive to maintain.
A bolt-on, also known as add-on, extends PeopleSoft with specific functionalities to meet your business needs or specific process requirements. Most bolt-ons for PeopleSoft are created through Application Designer and involve the creation of new objects within the PeopleSoft system. But other options exist and range from developing new Java classes till integrating low-code or PaaS extensions with PeopleSoft. Unlike customisations, a bolt-on doesn’t change delivered (core) functionality or change the underlying delivered code. This level of independency makes upgrades or updates less complicated as there is no (direct) impact on Oracle delivered code.
Configuration is using native tools in the PeopleSoft system to change its behaviour or features to match more with your business needs and requirements. Configuration is typically done through the regular web interface (PIA) of PeopleSoft without the use of Application Designer. It involves using built-in configuration tools or options provided by PeopleSoft to modify behaviour, (data) processing, workflows, security or the user interface. Configuration does not alter delivered code and by so is less expensive to maintain and generally doesn’t have impact on updates and/or upgrades.
The need for less customisation
On a high level we see two main reasons that strengthen the need for less customisations in PeopleSoft. As a general trend in a world with evolving technology and organizations that strive for efficiency and agility there is a growing shift towards standardized solutions. The second, and related, reason concerns the cost and complexity of PeopleSoft maintenance and upgrades. Removing unnecessary customisations simplifies maintenance and reduces upgrade complexity.
When taking a closer look, reducing the level of customisation has the following advantages:
- Cost reduction
Customisations often require specialized skills and expertise, leading to increased development, maintenance, and upgrade costs.
- Simplified upgrades
Regular PeopleSoft upgrades are essential to take the advantage of new features, enhancements, and the latest security patches. By reducing customisation, you can ensure smoother and faster upgrades.
- Improved maintenance and support
When relying heavily on customisation, organizations face challenges in terms of ongoing support and maintenance. The maintenance of custom code requires specialized (scarce) resources and can be timeconsuming.
- Agility and scalability
Agility and scalability are critical factors for your businesses to adapt to changing market dynamics and evolving needs. Reducing the level of customisation in PeopleSoft enables you to become more agile and responsive as the dependency to wait for adjusting (blocking) customisations vanishes.
Remove or isolate customisations
Now we have seen that there is an advantage in reducing the number of (disruptive) customisations in PeopleSoft; the question may arise: “How can we accomplish this?”. Well, there are two options on the table. We can either remove the customisation entirely and go back to PeopleSoft vanilla. Or we can isolate the customisations as much as possible from the PeopleSoft vanilla code line by replacing them with either a bolt-on or configuration item.
With PeopleSoft delivered functionalities like Application Engine Plug-ins, PeopleCode Event Mapping, Drop Zones, Page and Field Configurator and Page Composer it is possible to bring your PeopleSoft application back to vanilla without sacrificing your organizations productivity. These functionalities came available during the course of recent PeopleTools releases. We will discuss them in more detail in future blog posts.
How to get started
Removing customisations from PeopleSoft is a strategic initiative that brings several benefits to your organization. To get started on your customisation reduction initiative you can follow an approach like this:
- Conduct a customisation audit
Before embarking on any customisation reduction initiative, conduct a thorough audit of your PeopleSoft system. Identify and document all existing customisations to provide a clear overview of the existing customisations and help you to prioritize your removal efforts.
- Evaluate business requirements
Analyse the current requirements for your business. Identify customisations that are no longer relevant or can be replaced by standard PeopleSoft functionality or best practices.
- Leverage delivered functionality
PeopleSoft offers a rich set of delivered functionality that often eliminates the need for customisations. Explore PeopleSoft’s latest updates and enhancements to take advantage of new capabilities that may have been introduced since your initial implementation.
- Adopt configuration options
One effective technique to remove customisations is to leverage PeopleSoft’s configuration options. Utilize PeopleSoft delivered configuration tools like Page and Field Configurator and Page Composer to minimize the need for customisations.
- Employ personalization and user interface enhancements
In many cases, customisations are made to enhance the user interface. Instead of customising PeopleSoft’s delivered pages, consider leveraging personalization options and features such as Page and Field Configurator, WorkCenters, homepages and dashboards.
- Evaluate bolt-on solutions
In the case that removing a customisation would result in a significant loss of critical functionality, consider replacing them with bolt-on solutions.
Keep the level of customisation low
Once you have reduced the number of customisations in your PeopleSoft system, it’s important to keep the level of customisation low. This can be accomplished by strictly adhering to these 5 Rs during future PeopleSoft projects:
- Remove – Customisations which became obsolete need to be removed
- Replace – Whenever possible replace customisations by newly delivered features
- Reengineer – If feasible, transform the customisation into a configuration item or bolt-on
- Redesign – Redesign disruptive customisations in a less obstructive way
- Retain – Is the functionality really required; keep the customisation
Can we help you?
Whether it’s replacing customisations by configuration, isolating them so they don’t impact future updates or removing customisations entirely, Blis Digital can help you make your customisation process as smooth as possible.
Step away from complex and costly PeopleSoft maintenance and upgrades with our Demodification services. Or find if you are in control on the level of customisation of your PeopleSoft application with our Customisation Due Diligence quick scans. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you.