Whitepaper: PeopleAdmin and Oracle PeopleSoft

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Whitepaper:    PeopleAdmin  and  Oracle  PeopleSoft  

 

Executive  Summary    

Organizations  of  higher  education  strive  to  acquire  top  talent,  while  facing  a  wide  array  of  budgetary   and  technological  challenges.    The  search  for  the  most  cost-­‐effective  solution  leads  to  many  questions:  a   one  size  fits  all  product,  or  best-­‐of-­‐breed  integrations?  Would  an  enterprise  solution  or  software-­‐as-­‐a-­‐ service  (SaaS)  best  fit  your  needs?  How  should  system  customizations  be  managed?  How  can  adoption   of  new  products  and  processes  be  ensured?  

As  organizations  struggle  with  these  issues,  understanding  how  PeopleAdmin  fits  within  a  larger  Oracle   PeopleSoft   implementation   is   a   common   concern.     This   whitepaper   will   help   you   understand   the   advantages  of  using  an  applicant  tracking  system  designed  for  higher  education,  and  address  questions   regarding  the  integration  of  multiple  systems  into  a  seamless  talent  management  solution  that  meets   the  needs  of  your  entire  organization.    

 

The  Challenge  of  Higher  Education  

 

All  types  of  organizations  struggle  to  determine  the  best  Human  Resources  Information  System  (HRIS)   and  talent  management  solutions  for  their  organization;  but  for  higher  education,  the  cost  of  purchase   plus  implementation  can  be  a  far  more  significant  factor  than  it  is  for  the  private  sector.    Add  to  that  the   challenge  of  finding  solutions  that  meet  the  expectations  of  higher  education,  such  as  faculty  recruiting,   search   committee   management   and   adjunct   pools.   Public   colleges   and   universities,   like   government   agencies,   face   additional   challenges   as   they   search   for   a   solution   that   will   address   their   Equal   Opportunity  compliance  needs  as  well  as  the  complexities  of  civil  service  hiring.      

The   solution,   unsurprisingly,   is   not   simple.   Organizations   must   choose   between   purchasing   a   single   system   that   may   not   precisely   align   with   their   needs   and   cherry-­‐picking   “best   of   breed”   solutions   designed  to  address  specific  requirements.    Because  so  many  enterprise  HRIS  solutions  are  designed  first   and   foremost   for   the   corporate   environment,   large-­‐scale   implementations   of   these   systems   in   higher   education  can  result  in  unmet  needs,  low  adoption  rates  and  widespread  frustration.  

In  developing  a  methodology  for  this  decision-­‐making  process,  the  evaluation  team  must  define  the   exact  needs  of  their  organization,  and  implement  a  stringent  prioritization  list.    A  feature  comparison   should  be  more  than  a  checklist  of  the  components  and  functionality  of  each  system.    “Highlight  the   critical  needs  of  the  users  and  the  pain  points  it  will  solve“,  says  Leslie  Porter,  Director  of  HR  Consulting   and  Talent  Management  for  the  University  of  Arizona.  For  each  feature  request,  the  organization  must  

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then  ask  if  they  are  willing  to  pay  additional  customization  fees  to  implement  this  feature,  if  they  would   consider  a  best-­‐of-­‐breed  solution  in  order  to  solve  this  problem,  or  if  this  a  “nice  to  have”  that  they  can   live  without.  “Our  main  goal  is  to  serve  the  needs  of  our  constituencies,  not  just  the  HR  department,”   emphasizes  Porter.  

Similarly,   all   possible   solutions   should   be   evaluated   using   standard   criteria.   In   addition   to   specific   features  needed  by  the  organization,  common  factors  may  include:    

• Usability  

• Ease  of  adoption  

• Ability  to  integrate  and  share  data  with  other  products   • Completeness  of  the  feature  set  

• Reporting  and  data  export  capabilities  

With  all  features,  the  follow-­‐up  questions  should  be  regarding  the  level  of  customization  available  –  and   necessary  –  to  meet  the  organization’s  needs.    Since  cost  is  always  a  factor,  evaluators  should  be  aware   not   only   of   obvious   product   pricing,   but   also   the   cost   of   implementing,   configuring,   integrating   and   maintaining  each  system.  

Ultimately,   some   organizations   conclude   that   a   single   HRIS   platform   will   meet   the   majority   of   their   needs  and  decide  that  they  can  live  with  any  gaps  in  the  solution.    Others  closely  define  areas  where   their  specialized  needs  cannot  be  satisfactorily  met  by  a  single,  wide-­‐ranging  system,  and  choose  best  of   breed  solutions  that  are  specially  designed  to  meet  the  needs  of  organizations  like  theirs.      

 

Making  the  Choice  

Organizations  that  are  either  already  using  or  are  considering  system-­‐wide  adoption  of  a  product,  such   as  Oracle’s  PeopleSoft,  find  themselves  confronted  with  these  questions.  While  enterprise  solutions   have  much  to  offer  in  terms  of  breadth,  the  strength  of  their  solution  –  broad  functionality  coupled  with   a  very  high  level  of  customer-­‐specific  customization  –  is  also  their  weakness.      

Enterprise  versus  Software-­‐as-­‐a-­‐Service  

Broad   functionality   also   means   that   customizations   to   meet   specific   needs   are   either   unavailable   or   extremely   expensive.     An   enterprise   installation   gives   the   organization   complete   control   over   their   system,  but  is  time-­‐consuming  to  implement  and  expensive  to  maintain.    While  additional  modules,  such   as   recruiting,   can   often   be   added   for   little   or   no   additional   product   cost,   hidden   costs   in   the   form   of   professional   fees   and   travel,   patches,   DMZ   servers,   third-­‐party   vendor   integrations,   workflow   customizations,   conversions   and   reporting   can   drive   the   total   implementation   cost   much   higher   than   expected.     Many   organizations,   while   recognizing   the   value   of   these   solutions   for   certain   large-­‐scale   initiatives  around  accounting  or  employee  management,  choose  to  reduce  their  dependency  on  costly   enterprise  implementations  in  other  key  areas.  

In  contrast,  Software-­‐as-­‐a-­‐Service  (SaaS)  solutions  are  becoming  increasingly  popular.    When  this  type  of   product   first   became   available,   fears   regarding   data   security   and   access   were   common.     Improved  

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technology   –   including  secure   data   centers   with   redundant   firewall   layer,   128-­‐bit   SSL   encryption,   and   virus  

protection   –   and   wide   use   of   these   products,   has   significantly   changed   this   perception.  According   to  

Gartner,  a  technology  research  company,  "Increasing familiarity with the [SaaS] model, [and] continued oversight on IT budgets… are now driving adoption forward," said Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner.”1      SaaS  solutions  can  offer  a  significantly  lower  total  cost  of  ownership  –  a  critical  factor  for  any  

institution   of   higher   education   –   by   eliminating   the  need   to   install   and   maintain   equipment   or   software  

locally,  and  drastically  reducing  implementation  and  configuration  time.  Even  at  large  organizations  with  

significant  commitments  to  enterprise  solutions,  choosing  SaaS  solutions  for  selected  needs  has  become   a  viable  option.  

Specialized  Focus  

Many   aspects   of   human   resources   management   are   applicable   to   any   organization,   public,   private   or   corporate.     However,   colleges   and   universities   often   struggle   with   how   to   meet   the   needs   of   higher   education   using   a   system   that   is   geared   largely   to   the   business   sector.     In   addition,   the   needs   of   an   employee  management  system  and  a  recruiting  system  can  be  quite  different.  There  is  relatively  little   overlap  between  the  processes  and  data  associated  with  the  two  systems.    Even  the  records  themselves   are  different,  as  only  a  small  subset  of  applicants  become  employees.  

Many  colleges  and  universities  have  dramatically  different  processes  for  staff,  student  and  faculty  hiring.   Some   public   institutions   use   a   civil   service   or   merit-­‐based   hiring   process   for   certain   positions,   adding   even  more  complexity  in  terms  of  position  types,  templates  and  workflows  for  hiring  and  approval.    In   developing   requirements   for   their   recruiting   and   applicant   tracking   solutions,   it   is   critical   for   organizations   to   listen   to   and   understand   the   needs   of   their   different   constituencies,   ranging   from   human  resources  managers  to  the  office  of  the  Provost.  

The   University   of   Arizona   conducted   extensive   research   on   the   unique   attributes   required   for   higher   education  solutions,  including  search  committee  management  and  reference  letter  collection  for  faculty   recruiting.    The  ability  to  draw  applicants  from  hiring  pools,  and  area  where  PeopleAdmin’s  solution  was   already  a  critical  part  of  their  solution  was  another  factor.      

For   Illinois   State   University,   one   key   issue   was   position   management.   Khris   Clevenger,   Assistant   Vice   President  of  Human  Resources  explains  that  as  a  public  institution,  “the  university  is  required  to  provide   exact   descriptions   for   many   staff   positions,   and   to   seat   specific   employees   into   those   positions.     This   information   is   then   provided   to   the   state   for   auditing   purposes.”     Being   able   to   take   advantage   of   PeopleAdmin’s  standard  functionality  for  tracking  and  seating  employees  was  critical.      

While  an  enterprise  solution  could  be  customized  to  meet  their  needs,  extensive  modifications  would   need  to  be  made  by  a  highly-­‐trained  on-­‐site  specialist,  who  would  have  to  update  them  every  time  an   upgrade   was   performed.     When   evaluating   enterprise   systems,   University   of   Arizona’s   Leslie   Porter   recommends,  “Don’t  just  ask  if  a  feature  is  available,  find  out  if  it  is  a  standard  functionality  or  if  the   feature  will  require  extensive  and  potentially  costly  modifications.”  

Most   significantly,   while   an   enterprise-­‐level   solution   like   PeopleSoft   can   be   configured   for   a   specific   process,   it   generally   cannot   be   configured   to   meet   the   needs   of   multiple   parallel   processes   within   a  

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single   organization.     For   colleges   and   universities   trying   to   meet   the   disparate   needs   of   faculty,   staff,   student,  medical  and  civil  service  hiring,  a  single  hiring  process  will  not  meet  their  needs.    Organizations   that   attempt   a   one-­‐size-­‐fits-­‐all   implementation   often   find   themselves   with   constituencies   who   are   simply  unable  to  use  the  solution  and  either  fall  back  on  paper  processes  or  begin  looking  on  their  own   for  outside  solutions.    

In  contrast,  a  solution  like  the  one  offered  by  PeopleAdmin  is  designed  from  the  ground  up  for  higher   education,   supporting   multiple   position   types,   workflows   and   processes   for   faculty,   staff   and   civil   service.    Specific  features  designed  just  for  faculty  recruitment,  such  as  search  committee  management,   reference   letter   collection,   and   the   ability   to   upload   CVs,   samples   of   work,   and   other   professional   material,  helps  to  ensure  faculty  adoption  and  support.  While  all  of  these  features  can  be  customized  to   meet   the   needs   of   the   organization,   they   do   not   need   to   be   designed   from   the   ground   up   for   each   implementation,   but   instead   leverage   existing   functionality   and   the   expertise   of   your   PeopleAdmin   implementation  team.  This  results  in  a  faster,  less  costly  implementation  and  a  higher  level  of  adoption   across   the   organization,   especially   among   faculty   members   and   other   groups   whose   needs   differ   significantly  different  from  standard  staff  hiring.  

 

Putting  Together  the  Puzzle  

 

Fortunately,   organizations   don’t   need   to   choose   between   a   wide-­‐ranging   solution   for   their   HR   management   and   a   targeted   solution   for   recruiting.     With   the   right   integration,   it   is   possible   to   have   both.     If   a   college   or   university   decides   that   combining   an   enterprise   HRIS   solution   with   a   higher   education-­‐specific  recruiting  product  is  the  right  choice  for  their  organization,  the  next  concern  is  how   the  two  systems  should  work  together.    Duplicate  data  entry  is  costly,  time-­‐consuming  and  carries  an   inherent   risk   of   error   and   inconsistency.     There’s   no   question   about   it:   more   products   mean   more   integration   points.     However,   the   point   the   in   the   process   where   integrations   may   occur,   the   type   of   integration,  and  the  expertise  of  the  integration  partners  can  make  a  critical  difference.  

Integration  Options  

The  advantages  of  PeopleAdmin’s  specialization  in  the  higher  education  sector  include  its  partnerships   and   technical   expertise   in   working   with   other   common   higher   education   service   providers,   from   job   boards,  to  background  check  providers,  to  HRIS.    PeopleAdmin  offers  numerous  integration  points  which   are  standardized,  repeatable  and  low  cost,  all  designed  so  that  future  system  upgrades  do  not  require   integrations  to  be  repeatedly  updated.      

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In   contrast,   extensive   enterprise   systems   that   lack   particular   expertise   or   partnerships   in   the   higher   education  world  treat  these  essential  integrations  as  custom  projects.    While  a  single  enterprise  system   may   require   fewer   total   integration   points,   those   that   are   necessary   are   generally   treated   as   custom   integrations.  This  may  have  significant  upfront  and  ongoing  maintenance  costs.      

   

Integration  model    

Concerns  about  duplicate   data  entry  are  addressed  via  two-­‐way  data  integration  between   PeopleSoft   and  PeopleAdmin.    Information  is  entered  only  once,  and  the  relevant  data  is  available  to  users  of  both   systems  –  from  human  resources,  to  hiring  managers,  to  the  Provost’s  office.  When  all  participants  in   the  talent  management  process  have  easy  access  to  information,  HR  staff  is  no  longer  trapped  in  the   time-­‐consuming   role   of   “information   provider”   and   can   focus   on   other,   more   strategic   activities.   In   addition,  the  single  sign-­‐on  (LDAP)  integration  with  PeopleAdmin  ensures  that  staff  members  who  need   to  utilize  both  systems  are  able  to  do  so  seamlessly,  without  needing  to  remember  and  enter  multiple   usernames  and  passwords.    

Integration  between  PeopleAdmin  and  PeopleSoft  can  be  customized  to  meet  the  precise  needs  of  your   organization;  but  in  most  cases  follows  this  model:      

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The  PeopleAdmin  product  suite  collects  applicant  data  during  the  recruiting  process,  and  only  applicants   who  become  employees  need  to  be  added  to  the  employee  management  system.  These  applicants  are   identified  through  the  hiring  proposal  process.  New  employee  data,  including  name,  contact  

information,  position,  department  and  salary,  are  then  imported  into  PeopleSoft  at  regular  intervals,   where  additional  information  is  added  as  necessary.  

 

Employees   who   need   to   use   both   PeopleAdmin   and   PeopleSoft   can   be   set   up   once   in   PeopleSoft.   Employee  names,  IDs  and  passwords  can  then  be  imported  into  PeopleAdmin  to  enable  single  sign-­‐on   between  the  two  systems  through  the  single  sign-­‐on  integration.  

 

Conclusions  

 

Selecting  the  right  recruiting  solution  is  critical  to  the  success  of  every  college  and  university.    The  first   step  is  to  take  into  consideration  the  needs  and  priorities  of  each.    Secondly,  understand  the  advantages   and   disadvantages   of   different   technology   choices.   Finally,   know   your   options:   understand   the   possibilities  of  system  integrations,  and  the  reality  of  customization  and  maintenance  costs.    With  the   right  solution  in  place,  your  organization  will  be  poised  for  growth,  attracting  top  talent  in  every  area,   and  delighting  faculty,  staff  and  applicants  alike,  with  the  effectiveness  of  your  recruiting  process.    

1. “Gartner  Says  North  America  to  Account  for  64  Percent  of  SaaS  Revenue  in  2011”  Sept  14,  2011  

http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1791514    

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