Managing PeopleSoft Applications

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					George Beinhorn
WriteRemedy
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Managing PeopleSoft Applications

David Post
Kintana, Inc.


The rush of new business initiatives in today's eCommerce environment requires that companies keep their
PeopleSoft applications responsive and up to date. IT departments must not only respond to management's requests
for rapid changes, but must minimize costly system downtime. IT's task is further complicated by the endless stream
of software patches and updates arriving from PeopleSoft.

Document Purpose and Scope
In this document, we will examine the challenges of managing PeopleSoft applications, and we will explain how
Kintana's products transform PeopleSoft applications management into an efficient, responsive, and reliable process.
In gathering data for this paper, Kintana conducted numerous focus groups and interviews with PeopleSoft users.

The Challenges of Managing PeopleSoft Applications
Implementing, upgrading, and maintaining a PeopleSoft application requires constant, complex interaction among
end users, business analysts, and application development and production staffs. Lacking a clearly enforced process
for automating repetitive manual tasks, most IT departments must resort to cobbled-together solutions that
continually cause delays and place system security at risk.

The risks of poorly managed PeopleSoft applications include:

Delayed Time to Market

   Missed deadlines
   Broken Service Level Agreements
   Delays in aligning PeopleSoft applications with new business initiatives
   Delays in implementing and upgrading projects

Compromised System Stability

   Manual patch-handling leads to incomplete system changes that can cause system downtime. In a typical
    example, an operator applies only the online portion of a PeopleSoft patch that includes fixes to online panels
    and batch programs. As a result, the batch processes aren't updated, and the indexes aren't rebuilt. [Result?]
   A lack of formal notifications, approvals, and escalations tempts over-stressed technical personnel to “slam”
    fixes into the production system. These careless fixes alleviate immediate problems, but frequently break
    dependent functionality.
   Without formal approvals and escalations, mistakes in turnover documents can easily result in incomplete
    changes and broken system functionality. For example, if a developer fails to provide all of the installation steps
    and components in a turnover document, production operations may deploy the incomplete change.

Increased Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

   Few IT departments possess the tools to automate all of the repetitive, manual PeopleSoft chores that invite
    errors and tie up high-level staff. These routine tasks, which must be performed daily, include applying patches,
    moving batch programs, and rebuilding indexes and views.
   Errors introduced during manual operations require expensive backtracking, resulting in reduced productivity,
    system downtime, and loss of revenue.
   Inefficient processes and backtracking lead to employee frustration, overtime, absenteeism, and turnover,
    forcing companies to waste time and money on talent searches and new-employee training.


Request to Implementation
"Request to Implementation" refers to the end-to-end process of accepting, routing, and implementing end-user
requests for changes in PeopleSoft applications.

        Example 1. An end-user identifies a problem with a data-entry panel. The request for a fix is
        communicated to a business analyst, who identifies whether it is a PeopleSoft problem or an internal issue.
        Based on the assessment, a patch may be requested from PeopleSoft, or an internal fix may be required.
        The patch or internal fix is then sent to QA for approval before being deployed to Production.

        Example 2. During the construction of a new PeopleSoft implementation, an end-user identifies a new
        requirement. The request for a change must be communicated to the project team, and high-level and
        detailed design documents must be updated. The customization is developed, and each step of the change is
        documented. All components of the change must then be consistently deployed to all environments.


Inefficiencies in Traditional Request to Implementation Schemes

    · Communications are conducted by e-mail, phone calls, hand-written notes, and hallway conversations.
    · Keeping everyone informed of the progress of each patch and customization requires a series of time-wasting
      status meetings. No one has a real-time view of the passage of a change request through every phase of the
      system.
    · The lack of a uniform, automated process for deploying changes results in deployment of incomplete
      changes.
    · Processes such as rebuilding indexes or views must be performed manually, even though PeopleSoft provides
      utilities for copying online objects to other environments.
    · Batch programs such as Cobol files, SQR, and Crystal Reports must be moved and installed manually.
    · If a version-control system is in place, manual checkout and promotions must be performed for batch
      programs.
    · Clear audit trails are not maintained, making it extremely time-consuming to trace changes to the initial
      request by following a complex trail of approvals and deployments for online and batch objects.

Figure 2 shows the twenty-one separate steps that must be performed in sequence to process a user request under
traditional application management. No built-in mechanism exists to help coordinate and drive the process, and staff
are forced to communicate through ad-hoc e-mail, phone, and written messages, and status meetings. Most steps are
manual, with limited or nonexistent audit trails to document and justify reviews, approvals, and software
deployment.

PeopleSoft delivers frequent patches and payroll tax updates through its Customer Connection web site. Each of
these changes must be applied promptly to keep the PeopleSoft environment current. The process of applying
patches and updates is fraught with the same inefficiencies and risks shown in Figure 2.
Automating PeopleSoft Management with Kintana
Complex applications such as PeopleSoft can be a handful to manage. Add the difficulties of ensuring that all of the
pieces work together harmoniously and securely, and it's easy to see why many companies are beginning to look for
an integrated, end-to-end solution that turns application management into an efficient, automated technology chain.

Kintana is that solution. Kintana standardizes the Request to Implementation process for all of a company's
eCommerce components, from high-level workflows to the finest details. Kintana defines, automates, and optimizes
each step of each process, giving companies the ability to manage complex eCommerce applications easily,
speedily, and with complete, real-time control. Kintana automates all of the error-prone manual processes that
prevent a company's IT department from aligning its systems on a pace with its business initiatives.

The Accelerator for PeopleSoft transforms the Request to Implementation process into a fast, efficient closed loop.
Its unique active workflow engine allows companies to model their business processes and automate all manual
steps. Kintana maintains a complete audit trail of user requests, notifications, approvals, and software deployments
(batch and online) in a central Oracle RDBMS repository. Built using 100% pure Java technology, the PeopleSoft
Accelerator can be accessed using any standard web browser

Request Management with Kintana Create
Kintana Create is the component of the Kintana Product Suite that manages requests. End-users quickly and easily
log requests with Kintana Create, entering all of the detailed information that will be required to facilitate rapid
resolution of the request. The workflow then drives the request through the appropriate processes of notification,
analysis, approval, resolution, and disposition. Finally, Kintana Create passes qualified requests to Kintana Deliver
for development and deployment of changes.

Managing Deployment with Kintana Deliver
Kintana Deliver is the component of the Kintana Product Suite that manages the deployment of application changes.
Developers use a standard web browser to capture all components of the software change request. The Kintana
Deliver workflow then drives the change request through the application development cycle. (A sample cycle might
be: Development => Test => Staging => Production.) During development and deployment, Kintana Deliver
automatically sends e-mail notifications to the appropriate parties and gathers online approvals before the changes
are deployed.

Automating Change-Deployment with Kintana Accelerator for PeopleSoft
Kintana Deliver invokes the Kintana Accelerator for PeopleSoft to perform the actual application changes. Kintana
Deliver interacts with PeopleSoft using documented, PeopleSoft-approved APIs. The PeopleSoft Accelerator can
automatically deploy customizations, PeopleSoft patches, and tax updates to online and batch programs. In addition,
the PeopleSoft Accelerator performs all necessary post-deployment steps, such as compiling Cobol programs and
rebuilding indexes and views.

Figure 4 shows how Kintana Create drives a User Request (#25200) for a software patch through the request-
management process, and how Kintana Deliver creates a Software Change Request (#56700) to apply the patch. The
patch consists of online changes and batch program changes, as shown in the figure. The PeopleSoft Accelerator
automatically performs all steps required to deploy the software patch.

Benefits of Kintana for managing PeopleSoft
Faster Time to Market
Kintana streamlines the Request to Implementation process by automating resource-intensive manual tasks. The
Kintana workflow engine drives the process from start to finish, notifying parties and escalating requests if
bottlenecks occur. Kintana frees high-level staff from repetitive manual chores and keeps all parties informed of the
status of each request and change. The result is drastically reduced time to market for business initiatives.
Figure 5 shows how Kintana manages the Request to Implementation process, from user request to final
deployment. Notice that Kintana requires just six manual steps to process a user request that would otherwise have
required twenty-one manual steps.

System Stability
Kintana dramatically improves system stability, by automating error-prone manual tasks and preserving detailed
audit trails. Because Kintana performs all installation procedures, access to production servers and database schemas
can be restricted to a select group, for increased security.

Total Cost of Ownership
Kintana reduces the total cost of ownership for PeopleSoft applications in several significant ways:

    Automation of manual tasks. Kintana automates the repetitive manual tasks required to apply software
    patches, updates, and customizations, freeing high-level staff to do the jobs they are being paid for. Kintana
    improves communication, eliminating the need for time-wasting meetings to inform staff of the status of
    updates and changes. Kintana preserves detailed audit data, saving countless hours that would be required to
    trace changes manually.

    Retention of skilled staff. In today's extremely tight technical labor market, turnover of skilled employees can
    cause huge delays and major outlays. Highly skilled staff are frustrated by the daily requirement to perform
    repetitive manual chores. Kintana automates these manual tasks, freeing these high-paid employees to focus
    their skills on value-added services. Job satisfaction soars, eliminating the need for costly, time-consuming
    talent searches and training.

    Reduced system downtime. In today's eCommerce marketplace, customers expect system availability and
    reliability. Downtime is simply unacceptable. Kintana's uniform, automated, repeatable processes eliminate
    human error, for greatly improved system stability and security.

Summary
The Kintana Product Suite enables companies to realize their business initiatives rapidly and securely. Kintana
transforms complex, error-prone traditional PeopleSoft management into a fast, efficient, automated technology
chain, for significantly reduced costs and accelerated time to market.

Over 200 major companies now use Kintana to manage their eBusiness applications, including Applied Materials,
Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems, Insweb, Michelin, and Stanford University. These companies have discovered
that the future of eCommerce application management can be found at Kintana today.