Reasons PeopleSoft Users Are Sitting Tight with Current Versions

Given the way they make their money, it’s no surprise that the large ERP vendors want you to constantly upgrade and move to the cloud as soon as possible. These upgrades and migrations benefit their bottom line.

Take Oracle as an example. For Oracle it is a dogma, an article of faith, that the best policy is to constantly stay on the latest release so that you get all of the latest support packages. In fact, Oracle has stopped offering major upgrades for most of its large applications, as we analyzed in a series of stories on the Oracle Continuous Innovation model. Instead, it’s pushing customers to the cloud and to adopt its model of constant upgrades.

Yet, more and more companies are starting to ask questions like: 

  • Is this model good for us as well or just for the vendors? 
  • What are we getting out of upgrades? 
  • Should we just stay on our current versions and cut support costs? 

A growing body of evidence is beginning to show that companies are seeing less value in staying current and are considering more options like Third Party Support and Application Management Services. 

As this quote from a Gartner 2020 research prediction report shows, the idea of third party support, which years ago was unusual, has hit the mainstream:

“Each year, support costs for legacy software increase, while the benefits gained from that support decrease, leading to more organizations seeking lower-cost third-party support options … More buyers are aware of the value-added offerings from third-party support providers, such as custom-code support, interoperability support, and global tax, regulatory and security services.”

The latest data confirming the trend comes from a report from IDG and Rimini Street that surveyed 200 PeopleSoft customers across 18 different industries in countries across the world. Those surveyed were professionals who work directly with PeopleSoft software, including those with the titles of CIO, VP of IT, Director/ Manager of IT, as well as Oracle Application Leads, Oracle Application Managers, and Oracle Administrators. The survey results indicate clearly that these organizational leaders are not only recognizing that they don’t need to upgrade, but also moving toward third party support to receive the support they need for the current versions of the software they are running.

According to the survey, a notable 97% of respondents believe that their current version of PeopleSoft meets all or most of their business needs. 

Given this level of satisfaction with the product, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that companies want to create stabilized support systems to ensure they do not have to move off of or upgrade from these versions for years to come. 

  • 64% of respondents were using PeopleSoft 9.1 or earlier, even though PeopleSoft 9.2 has been available since 2013. 
  • And less than 50% of the PeopleSoft users surveyed stated they had any plans to upgrade.

Many of these older versions of PeopleSoft are no longer fully supported by Oracle support. 

  • Yet, 72% of respondents using PeopleSoft 9.1 or earlier are still paying for Oracle Sustaining Support, even though it doesn’t provide such key assistance as new fixes, essential patch upgrades, and updates for tax, legal, and regulatory issues. 
  • Many of those surveyed also stated they are paying additional fees to Oracle to have support for these issues. 

Given the high cost for such little value received in return, it’s no wonder that many PeopleSoft customers are asking what’s the point of paying for support that doesn’t actually provide the support they need? 

  • A majority of respondents admitted they are frustrated with vendor support costs; 
  • 43% were frustrated with the quality of the support they receive. 

This frustration makes sense. Upgrading is expensive and time-consuming. Even those customers who are on PeopleSoft 9.2 aren’t fully happy. 

  • Two-thirds of those on PeopleSoft 9.2 stated it takes between two to six weeks to test, validate, and apply 9.2 updates and 
  • only 47% of respondents believed that they are receiving strong new innovations from the continuous innovation model of support. 
  • Of those customers who are planning to upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.2 at some point, almost 85% said they are doing so based on support rather than to experience new features or enhancements.

All of these trends indicate why a third of those surveyed are either already using third party support or are considering doing so in the future. The pandemic has only increased pressure for companies to find ways to cut costs. 

Getting off the upgrade train and moving to third party support is becoming an option that more and more companies are taking given that they can cut their support bills by 50%. In the long-run, these savings can be even greater, as companies can save 90% on maintenance and support together and not have to worry about upgrades for over a decade. 

Technology companies have tried to train customers that the newest technology is always the best. But this simply isn’t always the case. Moving to newer versions of PeopleSoft involves extensive time and resources to do the implementation properly. And when nearly all PeopleSoft customers are happy with the capabilities offered by their current version, customers shouldn’t feel compelled to upgrade just because Oracle wants them too and provides flawed support for older versions. Third party support allows companies to stick with what is working and receive better support at cheaper prices.