UM continues to employ PeopleSoft

The UM system uses the programs to manage information.
Sunday, December 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:30 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

No major changes are expected in the wake of the buyout of a computer software company whose programs are used throughout the University of Missouri system, UM spokesman Joe Moore said.

PeopleSoft’s buyout by Oracle was announced Dec. 13. Also used by clients such as DaimlerChrysler, Verizon Wireless and Emerson Electric, PeopleSoft programs are used at college campuses to manage financial, human resources and student records.

“Our software is used by more than 650 institutions of higher education,” Steve Swasey, PeopleSoft spokesman, said.

Since 1999, implementation of the PeopleSoft software has been under way at the four UM system campuses to manage information in a consistent way.

At MU, the financial and human resource modules of the program are up and running, but a plan to fully implement the student modules — which will deal with student records, grades and billing — is still being developed.

Oracle plans to release a new version of PeopleSoft products that will run on Oracle’s technology infrastructure. Customers can stay on PeopleSoft applications or migrate to Oracle applications/infrastructure at their discretion, said an Oracle press release on its Web site.

“Oracle has said they will oversupport customers and have made very promising comments to PeopleSoft customers,” Swasey said.

Moore said the process of updating PeopleSoft software will continue even after implementation is complete. “In a sense, we will forever be updating PeopleSoft because of new software and the necessity to keep up with an ever-changing technological climate,” he said.

Moore described the installation of PeopleSoft software as a “massive endeavor” affecting nearly every bit of information technology the UM campuses have. He said the purpose of installing PeopleSoft was to create a uniform structure of recording across the system.

Moore said that before PeopleSoft, each campus had its own method of maintaining electronic information.

“We would install technology ad hoc as it was developed,” he said. “This (PeopleSoft) was a deliberate effort on the part of UM to systemize record keeping across the campuses.”

Although the installation of PeopleSoft began about the same time at all four campuses, the other three UM campuses are at different stages in the implementation process.

Rolla is the only UM campus to have all PeopleSoft modules fully installed. Moore said Rolla was an ideal first campus to iron out software difficulties because of its small size.

He added that the Kansas City and St. Louis campuses have the finance and human resources installations complete and have began the process of installing the student information aspect of the software.

The installation of PeopleSoft software has been fraught with technical difficulties and jumping costs as administrators have attempted to make the four UM campuses more streamlined.

Moore acknowledged that the PeopleSoft implementation has been delayed at times. “It was expected that an information management conversion of this magnitude would cause challenges,” Moore said.

Difficulties over the years have included MU tax forms being distributed three weeks past deadline, the omission of about 500 names from the MU directory and problems with individual paychecks and vacation time.

Problems with the software and difficulties in the training led to $8.5 million in additional costs, bringing the total costs to $48.5 million.

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