Newspaper sues Cleveland State University to see repair plan for troubled PeopleSoft Computer system: : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Gee, I wonder why we're having trouble getting real information about y2k problems

Newspaper sues Cleveland State University to see repair plan for troubled PeopleSoft Computer system:

Excerpts from story:

"The Plain Dealer sues CSU to see repair plan


The Plain Dealer sued Cleveland State University yesterday to obtain a plan to fix the school's troubled PeopleSoft computer system after the university's lawyers suggested to the software company that it could seek a court order to prevent the plan from becoming public.

CSU had denied a request the newspaper made under the Ohio Public Records Act to see PeopleSoft's so-called "action plan," saying the firm had objected to its release because it contains trade secrets......

.....The most spectacular failings have occurred in CSU's financial aid program. A variety of glitches have resulted in lengthy delays for thousands of students. University officials have said that the school has spent more than $11 million on the PeopleSoft project, about three times the original estimate........"

Link to story:

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 16, 2000


Has anyone else noticed that those incredibly annoying "this is your future" commercials that Peoplesoft kept running ad nauseum have suddenly been absent for, oh, the past two weeks or so?

I wonder what that irritating jerk (the one who harped on what would happen to anyone fool enough to not throw money at Peoplesoft) is going to do for work now?

-- Ron Schwarz (, January 16, 2000.

Maybe they can become lawyers' aides......looks like there's gonna be a lot more of this surfacing.

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 16, 2000.

Just a nugget, the problems with CSU's computers are not y2k related. These problems predate the rollover by so long, it's not even funny.It is just now finding it's way into the legal system.

-- Daisy Jane (, January 16, 2000.

Hi, It is true that Cleveland State purchased the software in 1996 and installed it for the 1998-99 school year. However, many corporations and public institutions purchased integrated software systems like PeopleSoft as a solution to possible Y2K Problems. Now some of it isn't working so well. Are the glitches Y2K date related problems? I don't know. And, given the fact that a newspaper has to take them to court to find out wazzup with the computers, I don't think PeopleSoft or the University of Cleveland is going to tell you or anybody else the truth without a fight. Might reveal PeopleSoft's trade secrets you know.....

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 16, 2000.

Having been through one of these transitions to PeopleSoft myself, I can tell you that the sources of these kinds of problems usually come from five areas: (1) the difficulty of tailoring essential functionality requirements within the PeopleSoft framework; (2) the extensive systems analysis and programmer support that is necessary to create and implement the tailored business process solutions; (3) the need to implement fully manual or semi-manual processes for those essential functions that cannot be reproduced in PeopleSoft at all; (4) the technical difficulties involved in maintaining and updating a customized PeopleSoft code base; (5) the difficulty in finding and keeping qualified personnel to perform both the initial customization, and the follow-on code base maintenance once the system goes into operation.

Under these kinds of circumstances, a cost overrun of three times the initial estimate is not at all unusual. Follow on maintenance costs are often much higher too. The financial support staff in our IT department went from three for the legacy mainframe system to twelve for the PeopleSoft system, and these twelve people still cannot keep up with both the ongoing code maintenance and the requests for new reports and system customizations.

Another contributing factor in our particular situation is that the sheer volume of code needed to support a fully distributed environment is roughly five times the code volume needed to support the old legacy mainframe system. There is a direct corelation between the size and overall complexity of the code base, and the number of people needed to support it.

-- ExBigSkyGuy (NotThere@NoMore.Ccom), January 16, 2000.

...but I thought that one of the big attractions of software like PeopleSoft (and SAP) was that they'd reduce the wetware requirements! (Say that last part five times, real fast.) It sounds like the people who signed on the dotted line were either real stupid, or they were sold one royal bill of goods.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), January 16, 2000.

Oh Yes... PeopleShaft, er I mean PeopleSoft...

I have been working with PeopleSoft for the past 2+ years. I'm lucky that I'm on the systems administration side of the shop and not the software maintenance side. It gets tough even for systems admin types. Where I am at, we have been running the Payroll for about 4 years, just implemented the Financials (after two years) this past July, the start of our fiscal year.

We are currently in the process of upgrading to a new version of HR (payroll and benefits) which has been mandated by PeopleSoft. I feel for Cleveland State, as I have been in their shoes with the two applications which we have on line. Oh, did I mention that we are starting the installation of the Student Administration package? Our people in the Bursar's office wish to keep our legacy system, as it works and they know it. They have heard all of the war stories concerning the PeopleSoft Student Admin package, and are not thrilled. The implementation plan that PeopleSoft calls for for the first two modules of the Student Admin package is 18 months. Gee, TPTB where I am want to try to rush it in within the next 12 months. PeopleSoft needs to get their act together with this specific package. During the month of December, 8 of the Big 10 Universities jointly wrote a letter to PeopleSoft about this package. It is NOT ready to be marketed and they NEED to respond to customers problems. Anyone track PeopleSoft stock lately?

-- Sheeple (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), January 16, 2000.

The genesis for these types of installations is typically cronyism. Some A-hole has a buddy who works for Peopleshaft, Anderson Con-sluting, KPMG-Peatmoss etc. This buddy then gives his buddy a leg up into the company and the ball starts rolling.

These people are vampires. Glorified bucketshops filled with adolescent wet behind the ears college coders.

This is NOT to say there aren't some great people at these companies, just that you won't have them working in your shop.

-- Gordon (, January 16, 2000.

I've worked with PeopleSoft products for over 3 years. They aren't the world's easiest things to work with, nor is their functionality 100%. However, the stuff is, on the whole, on the high side of average.

I know of several colleges and universities in the greater Boston area that have implemented or are in the process of implementing PeopleSoft's Student Administration system and have not had the problems that Cleveland State has had.

Perhaps CSU is looking for a scapegoat for problems of their own creation?

-- Paul Neuhardt (, January 16, 2000.


Excuse me....... What did I read that you wrote? I would have you to know that I have worked at some major fortune 100 companies, and the door is ALWAYS open for me to return if I wish.

Speak not of what you do not know.

-- (Sheeple@greener.pastures), January 17, 2000.

Read about peoplesoft CEO having to do his first round of layoffs ever at peoplesoft in the WSJ several months ago. The same article mentioned his donation to some dog (woof-woof) charity in the amount of 5 million (might have been 50 but anyway....), that 5 million could have forestalled the layoffs for another year or so.

Reading between the lines of the WSJ article...peoplesoft is going to the Dogs!

-- INever (, January 17, 2000.

Paul, there is no question that PeopleSoft, as ERPs go, is on the high side of average.

The kinds of problems that I mentioned previously, especially those having to do with effective replacement of sophisticated process functionality, often happen when an ERP is being used to replace a legacy system -- or set of legacy systems -- that are already highly capable themselves, and are already highly tailored to fit a set of fairly efficient business processes. The problems get even worse when the legacy systems play a crucial role in supporting the competitive advantage that a particular business may enjoy.

ERPs such as PeopleSoft work well when an organization is just beginning to recognize the need for a more sophisticated and capable approach to doing business, and needs to make a choice between developing the systems itself or buying a customizable off-the-shelf package.

-- ExBigSkyGuy (, January 17, 2000.

I've been working with PeopleSoft products (since version 3.0) and PeopleSoft's competitors' products for about five years. I'm also a con-slut-ant, though not with one of the Big Five houses. PSoft has a couple of threatened lawsuits pending, generally from botched installations. That's nothing special. Stay in the Enterprise Resource Software business long enough, and someone will sue you for something.

Here's the facts that I know and thoughts I have --

CSU did have a lot of problems before PSoft was installed. They probably needed an entire business reengineering workplan, in addition to the implementation plan. I did not work on that project, but I know someone who did.

PeopleSoft's ads HAVE disappeared from the airwaves, but I would observe that they were only ON for a month or two. I understand from my pals over at PSoft corporate HQ in Walnut Creek, CA that the ads were "an embarrassment" to the company. I wouldn't read too much into the disappearance of the ads.

IMO, PSoft's Student Administration module is very, very buggy. If I were CSU, I'd keep what I had, if it worked. I'd never tell a client to replace stuff that's already satisfactory.

Psoft's Benefits and HR (plus Payroll) modules are their oldest and most robust products, in fact, they are where PSoft started their product line. They utterly SMOKE every other competitor's competing HR and Benefits products, including SAP's (SAP is better for supply- chain products). However, installation and setup is not easy at all. Getting those babies up and running isn't like installing Quake or Video Pinball, folks. I have personally done seven full-on implementations and four upgrades, and they can be done much, much faster than 12-18 months. But implementation speed is a function of how much you're willing to spend and how many people the client can free up to work alongside us con-slut-ants. If they don't have much money, then implementation takes forever. If they want us to do all the heavy lifting, then we're going to end up hanging around after the system goes live, because the client's people won't know what the hell we did or howdahell to keep it running. That's where the obscene prices and multiyear implementation schedules come from.

Hell, even doing it YOURSELF is prohibitively expensive. PeopleSoft training costs $600 a day per person, assuming you live close to one of their training centers and can get a seat for the class you want. Four-month waiting lists are not uncommon. If I were to go back and get classroom training for all the modules I've worked on over the last five years, we'd be talking over $25K. And you don't want to KNOW how much the software costs.

It is true that PSFT has taken hits to its stock price, but that's true across the ERP sector. Every consulting house laid people off in droves this past summer, and every ERP software maker (including Oracle, which does more than just software) has seen some financial hits this year. You can't take PSFT out of context and claim they're doing something wrong -- the whole SECTOR is in a slowdown.

I'm not trying to stand up for PSoft, because they sure do have their problems. I just don't think they deserve some of the criticism I have seen here.

-- Robert Dobbs (, January 17, 2000.

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