Chicago is My Kind of Town, and once again, there have been connections reconnected. Once again, about 500 people attended RECONNECT 2017, the Quest User Group's annual deep-dive PeopleSoft only conference.
This is always a fine conference for PeopleSoft Enterprise customers, as it is focused and its' moderate size does lead toward more sharing and networking than the giant conferences Oracle has (and PeopleSoft used to have).
At the same time though, this conference is a Cryan' Shames. The Sugar and Spice of many sessions was offset by the Kind of a Drag almost total silence on the real actual future and the Cloud. Outside of PeopleSoft developers and management there was zero Oracle presence and things between PeopleSoft customers and Oracle seem more disconnected than ever.
Quest has stepped up - even more since the Oracle field teams stopped selling PeopleSoft applications. I've whined about this before, but they do a good job conference wise.
I have been to all six RECONNECTS, and if I look back - not over just the conference but at the products, too - the PeopleSoft development teams have had a remarkable 5 year run. Not perfect, not without some bugs, but the 9.2 era has so far stayed very high on the charts, (even though the customers still complain about the cost of maintenance).
To illustrate, Beacon recently sat down with a regional bank and 9.1 customer. We installed PeopleSoft 9.1 for this bank about 5 years ago. They merged with another bank, ran two systems for a while, and then we helped them convert the new parent to the PeopleSoft applications.
We recently began a 9.2 upgrade for them. In the planning for the upgrade the bank identified 140 new features they wanted to implement. 140 features that they wanted to use which were not in 9.1 We'll do less in the original upgrade (Their Budget), but they will be able to more easily update the system to incorporate these and other new features going forward (Selective Adoption).
PeopleSoft Enterprise has had a long run, and there are signs it may still have more years on the charts. From this (and other) conferences it seems clear that EBS customers are eager to move to the cloud - they still have upgrades and other limits - while PeopleSoft customers seem quite comfortable with the current apps, with a kind of "You can't do this yet" or "We don't trust you yet" attitude towards cloud offerings.
The cloud is wonderful, in many ways, and will get more wonderful according to just about everybody, but Netflix and LinkedIn and Uber didn't change the world by implementing new GL and Payroll systems. They are succeeding with building new custom cloud-centric company specific applications.
While Oracle Cloud ERP has also improved greatly over the past five years, and Release 13 (coming very very soon) looks like it may be a Tipping Point, Oracle's PeopleSoft team is working hard (and scared) to continue to provide leading functionality and tools to its enterprise customers. The PeopleSoft teams at Oracle deserve a big hand for the 9.2 continuous releases. And customers also deserve to complain they want more.
Which is one reason why this conference fills a need for PeopleSoft customers. Since the world-wide Oracle sales and marketing teams only offer the cloud, the customers more than ever need to talk to each other to find out what is going on. (Oracle will still sell you any and all PeopleSoft applications you might want, through the OD team) And I hear the Oracle Digital sales people, who used to sell mid-market sized companies but now handle all on-premises software, are actually now permitted to leave their offices and talk to customers on-site.
The sessions I personally attended were more focused on PeopleSoft in the cloud and PeopleSoft Cloud Manager. There weren't many of these sessions, and they weren't yet well attended, but these choices are beginning to be very realistic options for PeopleSoft customers.
In one session, the partner claimed to have ten customers live with PeopleSoft on the Oracle Public Cloud, which astonished me. Checking with the presenter later, it turns out they are hosting 10 PeopleSoft customers on a private cloud, but planning to move to the Oracle Cloud this year or early next. While there are few PeopleSoft customers running in a public cloud (not even on AWS), the Oracle Public Cloud has come a long way in the last year. At the recent FY18 Kickoff for Partners at Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores, one Oracle executive, speaking about the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud crowed, "Last year we were nowhere. Now we are somewhere!" (Oracle did not make the last report at all, and now they rank pretty high).
If you run PeopleSoft on Oracle, you should definitely investigate the Oracle Cloud. And if you run PeopleSoft on SQL Server, you should definitely investigate Microsoft Azure. Beacon, at least, has decided, for what we think are good reasons, to focus on these two cloud vendors for now, They are the two vendors that sell both a cloud platform and cloud applications. (Our middle name is Application.) And they both run their databases well.
Because I attended both the 2017 RECONNECT (All PeopleSoft, forever.) and the Oracle North American FY18 Kickoff (All Cloud, Now.) just a couple weeks earlier I heard two very different set of "directions" from Oracle. But both are plausible today. It very much depends on the very specific needs and resources and situation of your organization.
Let us know if we can help you sort out your options.