Co-presenting with Earl Parks from Gallaudet University[i], the premier U.S. school for the deaf, was the highlight of my week at Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) 2016. Gallaudet was a major player in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1980, which led to the adoption of universal design[ii], helping a great diversity of people, including me. The OOW presentation covered Gallaudet’s upgrade to PeopleSoft (PS) 9.2 and its deployment of the PS Fluid User Interface (UI). If you want to download this presentation (session #CAS4329 at Oracle OpenWorld 2016), it can be found here.
Gallaudet adopted PeopleSoft HCM/FMS/Campus Solutions in 1999 as part of their strategy to address Y2K issues. At the time, it was a great solution for them: it decreased the number of previous systems, provided cross-pillar reporting, and automated many manual tasks. Gallaudet did make some customizations, and they upgraded the system. However, they didn’t always go back to see if a customization should be retired. Overall, PS served them well for many years, but recently they began looking for something a little more user friendly while retaining the rich PS functionality.
Originally, Gallaudet was considering an entirely new system, not an upgrade to PS 9.2. Their approach was broad, starting with a review of Tier One HCM systems to compare functionality, enterprise capabilities, ROI, and user friendliness. Initial comparisons showed no clear leader. The answer was muddled for them. Different systems rated high in one area but not in all, e.g., total cost, the UI, mobility, and functional comprehensiveness. This changed with the release of PeopleTools 8.55 and when PS greatly expanded the use of the Fluid UI, which provides mobility, a very friendly UI for the casual user, plus very robust functionality for employees that needed to conduct sophisticated transactions.

Gallaudet incorporated a couple of other small projects with the upgrade, including geotagging[iii]. They used geotagging with the PS T&L application to show both the when and the where employees clocked-in. The light purple shaded map area shows the Gallaudet campus. The blue rectangle shows where geotagging initially placed the employee clock-in, off campus. Generic geotagging was defaulting to the center of the zip code. This issue was resolved by a very inexpensive update to the Gallaudet network to refine the placement of the clock-in location. The second grouping in the red square essentially shows the route of the Gallaudet campus bus. This was an issue, as it shows clock-ins that were not at the work area. This issue was addressed with a clarification to the policy for clocking-in, which was part of their organizational change management plan. Both were simple fixes and a lesson learned when mobile time is deployed.

There were great wins with just this example of the PS Fluid enabled T&L transactions:

  • Overall, employees liked being able to clock-in with their smart phone or at a kiosk.
  • Employees could check via the mobile app Info about their time and absence.
  • Gallaudet avoided an expensive project to upgrade its physical time clocks.
  • The Mobile PS clock-in application eliminated creating an interface between clocks and PS.

The initial upgrade project focused on updating Gallaudet’s deployed modules and simplification of outdated processes. Its next phase is to determine which “shelf-ware” projects to deploy. The end PS state will improve cost control, decrease overall process time, and improve the reporting/analytics.  Gallaudet will finish their modernization by examining other options to determine the pros/cons with Cloud applications and putting PS in a Cloud environment.
Let me end by circling back to the beginning of this blog. Working with Earl Parks was the highlight of this year’s OOW for me. Honestly, I had some initial (and as it turned out, unnecessary) apprehension about my ability to work with the deaf. Earl led me through a graduate-level class in looking after the best interests of your constituents, and this is an area where I never want to stop growing and learning.
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[i], The world’s only university designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students. Located in Washington D.C.
[ii], Universal design (often inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities.
[iii] Wikipedia, Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as a geotagged photograph or video, websites, SMS messages, QR Codes[1] or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata. This data usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, distance, accuracy data, and place names, and perhaps a time stamp.