By Tim Foley and Randy Ott
A few years ago my wife and I noticed water leaking through a crack in the bathroom walk-in shower where the floor met one of the walls. Fancying myself the handyman, I figured a bit of caulking would do the trick. After a few weeks though, the opening reappeared, and was seemingly getting larger by the day.  At this point, I thought I would put my hours of watching DIY television to work and take care of it for good. I don’t remember what I tried, but when I was finished it looked worse than before – and the crack opened up again, mocking my efforts. It was time to call in an expert…. 
Upgrading a PeopleSoft application to the current version can be a similarly vexing process. Most PeopleSoft technical workers are familiar with the general maintenance PeopleSoft requires – applying Tax Updates and Regulatory fixes (though maybe not with PUM, but that’s another topic for another time), as well as patching small cracks in PeopleCode and other PeopleTools programs. A full application upgrade, however, is a different beast, with many complex moving parts. When it’s time to upgrade, using Sierra-Cedar’s Upgrade Lab services is like calling in a professional contractor to overhaul your bathroom.  With over 160 successful Lab Upgrade projects completed, the Upgrade Lab will partner with your organization to make your upgrade a success.  All without combing through “Angie’s List” and hoping for the best.
Central Washington University (CWU) recently found itself in this renovation situation with its PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, Human Resources, and Financials applications.  Upgrading multiple PeopleSoft 9.0 to 9.2 pillars, along with a Campus Solutions/Human Resources split would prove a daunting challenge to handle internally.  CWU teamed with the Sierra-Cedar Upgrade Lab to assist in this effort. CWU would need time to overhaul its hardware to meet the demands of the new versions and gain the additional skills needed to administer these environments.   This had to happen simultaneously with the upgrade, all while supporting the current production systems.  To make this happen, the Initial Pass and the first two Test Moves to Production were performed on Upgrade Lab hardware. This allowed the CWU team time to build out its infrastructure for the Final Test Move and Go-Live.  The Lab was able to provide configuration suggestions and recommendations for the new environments as the CWU team gained experience.
CWU was also revamping its PeopleSoft security structure as well. This work included overhauling roles and permission lists, and the Upgrade Lab environments were used to develop this process. After development, the Upgrade Lab was able to integrate custom CWU scripts and steps into the upgrade jobs to make this a smooth transition.  In most upgrades, security tables are considered PeopleTools objects, and are only brought over in the Initial Pass. The Upgrade Lab worked with CWU to bring over “new” production users with each test move pass, including Go-Live.
Following the second Test Move to Production for both the Human Resources and Financials Upgrade, the systems of record were transferred from the Upgrade Lab hardware to the now built out Central Washington hardware. The Upgrade Lab provided both the NT and UNIX PS_HOMEs, as well as a datapump export of the Oracle database to CWU.  This was quickly brought up on the CWU hardware over the course of a day or so by the onsite team. At this point CWU began integration testing and messaging between environments. The Upgrade Lab environments remained online and available as a system of reference through the remainder of the project, including Go-Live.
Working with the Upgrade Lab allowed Central Washington to take advantage of the following:

  • The Lab started the upgrade right away on Upgrade Lab hardware, while CWU infrastructure was not immediately available.
  • CWU was assigned a dedicated and experienced upgrade specialist with an average of 12 years PeopleSoft experience for each upgrade.
  • The upgraders performed the final test move and production cutover onsite.
  • Both upgraders streamlined processes and procedures with each pass, meaning less time for Go-Live execution.
  • The Central Washington upgrade activities were not strategic in nature. They didn’t have to train someone on their staff to do something executed only once every few years.

The synergistic effect of this working relationship between Central Washington University and the Sierra-Cedar Upgrade Lab allowed CWU to do more with less, resulting in several successful upgrade Go-Lives.
Learn More
Interested in learning more? Randy Ott and Tim Foley will be co-presenting a session with Tina Short, IT Project Manager at Central Washington University, at Alliance 2014 titled: Don’t Gamble with Your 9.2 Upgrade! We will discuss Central Washington’s two recent Lab Upgrade successes – Financials 9.0 to 9.2, and HRMS 9.0 to 9.2 during this Panel Discussion.
Please join us!