PeopleSoft is Still Going Strong. Are Your Experts?
The announcement came a full month early in 2022 that Oracle was extending its support to 2033, another 10-year commitment to PeopleSoft customers for total support of its products. This has been a standard practice for four years running for PeopleSoft, and is planned to continue forward into the foreseeable future. Considering the software’s first version rolled out in 1989, PeopleSoft will have been powering companies for 4-½ decades by the time 2033 rolls around.
It’s an amazing testimony to the product’s strength that it continues to be so prominent in the enterprise application space. Perhaps the only gray cloud affecting the long-term resiliency of PeopleSoft is that while the software is still going strong, the company experts who originally implemented it are getting to the age where it’s time to hit the beach, the bingo table, and start devoting time to visiting the grandchildren.
Having employees who are so intimately familiar with a system like PeopleSoft is fantastic when you need a quick fix or have a new employee who needs to be brought up to speed. But what happens when they give their two weeks’ notice and ride off into the sunset? The employees who are hitting age 65 in 2022 are people born in the late 1950s and early 1960s who entered the workforce in the late 1980s and 1990s. That meant they were at companies as computer systems really took off, Windows appeared, and the Internet went from novelty to necessity. They are the sort of person who has seen every scenario and put out every type of fire. Their knowledge is essential, but when they exit stage right, what do you do to replace their PeopleSoft expertise?
Curate Their Knowledge
There’s no way you’ll ever get all of someone’s information out of their brain and into a usable format before they punch their time card for the last time, but you can do your best to try! Have the subject-matter expert help you create an internal wiki on PeopleSoft, get them to lead presentations, webinars, or brown-bag sessions on important processes, and most of all, record them on video doing these things so you can really capture the essence of what they are saying and don’t miss a thing. Incentivize this for them if they feel it falls outside the normal parameters of their job.
Keep Them on as a Consultant
It’s tough for some people to let go entirely and go from working full-time to having nothing but idle hours. Check with the expert and see if they’d be willing to work on a retainer basis, answering questions via email, Zoom, or phone as needed, or even coming back into the office on occasion to do presentations. Maybe even suggest a mentorship to them where they can help other employees start harnessing their knowledge in a more 1:1 setting.
Invest in a Third-party Professional
Not every employee nearing retirement is going to want to spend their remaining time on the job as an echo chamber for the future of the company. Plus if they’re headed to Florida or ready to take that cruise around the world, their availability might be in jeopardy. But there are other PeopleSoft experts out there ready to help out and pick up the slack when your experts head for greener pastures. They can be hired for the week, the month, the transition period, or stay on call for when you need them like the world’s best relief pitcher, ready to spring into action and put out the fire at a moment’s notice.