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PeopleSoft as a Central Database

I could not find an appropriate section to pose a question regarding PeopleSoft systems. However, my question is more general.

There are a lot of home grown applications (some in excel, some in Leap etc..) in our department. Currently these systems do not talk to each other, and thus there are manual inputs into these systems on a daily basis. We are now trying to consolidate all of these systems. Our parent company has PeopleSoft as the Primary HRMS system, however PeopleSoft is not deployed in our little site. Some of the data is manually uploaded into PeopleSoft with the help from the parent company.

Now, deploying PeopleSoft fully in our site can be a long term project and would cost quite a bit for the company. What we are looking for is a solution wherein we would still be able to upload the information into PeopleSoft and perhaps provide an interface that is friendly to use for Data reporting, creating standard reports etc.

Does anyone out there have something in mind how this can be achieved?
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amitscorp
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amitscorp
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billmercerCommented:
You have a few basic choices. You could purchase some software that does what you need. You could hire someone to develop a system for you. Or you could try to build something in-house. Which makes the most sense for you depends on your specific situation.

I'd like to get some more information.
Do you hope to replace all of the existing files with a single unified system, or are you just looking for a more efficient way to integrate the data from the files you have? Is your final goal to upload your data into PeopleSoft and also be able to pull your own internal reports from that same data? How much of a budget do you have? Can you count on your parent company cooperating in this process, or are you mostly on your own? What sort of data do you upload currently? Are you just sending them a file that they manually process, or is there some sort of automated import on their end?  




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amitscorpAuthor Commented:
Bill,
All of your questions are valid. Here are the answers:

I am really looking to replace all of the existing files with a single unified system, if at all possible.
Yes, the final goal is to upload the data into PS and pull internal reports.
As regards, Budget I do not have the exact amount but I guess if I can show a valid need for purchasing a software that will replace all of the systems then it definitely will be entertained.
Yes, I can expect reasonable support from the parent company.
THe data is currently scattered in excel files, some sort of Leap system...but I'd say mostly excel.


Thanks for taking the time, and looking forward to your suggestions.
Regards,
Amit
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kneHCommented:
First of all you should not attempt to connect two pieces of software.
Connect the data!

Peoplesoft HRMS will prolly have an import function. And your system will have an export function. plain text (ASCII), csv etc. Use that.

Other way is to connect the databases. You can directly connect em with triggers and stuff or do it by batch. Create an xml file to import stuff batchwise.
Maybe the HRMS will have an xml function.. or some edi function.

Basically just keep in mind you do not want to connect the software you want to get the data in one place.

Hope that helps :)

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billmercerCommented:
The first thing you need to do is evaluate where you are now. Make a complete list of all the currently used files, how they are used, who's responsible for maintaining them, and so forth. Get the users to explain the function of each file. Look for redundant functions that can be simplified, and inconsistencies that could cause problems.

Second, decide on a platform. Determine if one of the existing programs you use now can be used to consolidate most if not all of the functions you need under one interface. If none of the current packages are appropriate, then you'll need to find or create a system that provides what you need. Emphasis should be on flexibility, ease of use, and robust reporting and import/export functions. PeopleSoft has a fairly elaborate API, so it may be possible to develop an application interface that would automate the handing of data back and forth. You'll need the cooperation of your parent company for this, of course. Consider hiring someone to develop the exports, reports, etc, that you need.

You didn't specify the kind of data that you are working with. That will affect your decision. For example, if it's mostly financial information, you may want to look at accounting packages as the core of your system. If most of your information is related to sales, contacts, and meetings, a contact management package might be more appropriate. If you're working with a hodgepodge of different data, you'll probably want to create a custom application tailored to your specific business.

You mentioned that you're using Leap currently. Leap is not the greatest at interfacing with outside applications, it's intended more for education and theory, but if you are comfortable with that platform, the familiarity may offset the limitations.

If you want to roll your own system, you may want to consider FileMaker Pro.
http://www.filemaker.com
FMPro 7 is a database/RAD platform aimed at small-to-medium workgroups. Its biggest advantages are the speed and ease with which you can develop custom applications, and the ability to make many changes on-the-fly with the live database. It handles a wide range of import/export types, does XML, which might be helpful with PeopleSoft. It doesn't require much programming experience to use, and there's a free application template called the Business Tracker that is available as open source, which means you can edit, adapt and extend it to fit your needs.
http://collection.filemaker.com/collection/search_details.jsp?serial=2206

Another option you might want to consider would be a web application based on the LAMP platform (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP.)
http://www.onlamp.com/
This is a very popular platform for web applications because it's very stable, provides a lot of power and flexibility at a very low cost (the software's free) and there are literally thousands of resources available.

As with any database development project, it's vital that the developer have a good solid understanding of the relational database model, and that he/she be willing and able to listen to the people who actually do the work so as to learn the specific needs of your company.

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amitscorpAuthor Commented:
Bill,
Perfect!! This is a great start...looks like you have experience from similar projects.

The data I am dealing with is mostly HR, viz Payroll, Comp, Employee data etc. Do you have software packages in mind that would be applicable for such data.

Also, I was wondering what it takes to deploy PeopleSoft for the subsidiary when the parent company has PeopleSoft fully functional?

Your help is greatly appreaciated.
Thanks,
Amit
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billmercerCommented:
I'm not an HR person, but some of the ones I've heard of...
Great Plains used to be pretty cool, but has been bought by Microsoft. No idea if it's still good.
MAS90/MAS200 is popular with the bean counters, and has some decent reporting and import/export capabilities.
I used to use Solomon back in the old days before it got bought by Microsoft. It was fairly powerful, but not exactly friendly. Again, no idea what has happened to it since Microsoft took over.  There's Abra... now that I think about it, pretty much everything I can think of off hand is owned by either Microsoft or Sage/Best.

As for deploying PeopleSoft, that probably depends on your relationship to your parent company. PeopleSoft's licensing is just plain weird. They charge fees based on how successful the company is, where you're located, what color socks you're wearing, etc, but not based on the number of users. So it's theoretically possible that they could just add you in to their existing system.

One thing to bear in mind: Oracle has bought PeopleSoft, and has in the past publicly stated that their intention was to eliminate the PeopleSoft product. There are sure to be significant changes at PeopleSoft in the near future. That could mean this is a good time to switch your company over to PS, or it's possible your parent company is even now considering options wrt their HR software.


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billmercerCommented:
I think the comments posted have value, and would prefer to see it PAQed rather than deleted.
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amitscorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks Bill...Just missed out on going back and updating my response on the forum.
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