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Top Technology Initiatives for Today’s Finance Professionals: Survey Results & Strategic PeopleSoft Alignment

30 June 2015

First blog post by the newest member of the PeopleSoft ESA Strategy Team at Oracle...

Greetings PeopleSoft Strategy Blog Community.

Let’s begin with introductions…my name is Maria Pollieri and I am a bean counter. I am the newest member of the PeopleSoft ESA Strategy Team, and key strategist for the PeopleSoft Project Costing, Proposal Management, Program Management, and Resource Management suite. I stumbled my way into PeopleSoft back in the mid 1990s with then, a finance background in external auditing (PWC) and as a former assistant controller at a Swiss watch manufacturer (Movado). I implemented PeopleSoft FSCM applications for 10 years, and most recently, spent 10 years solutioning PeopleSoft FSCM applications at Oracle.  

I will be blogging to share with you my passion around enabling the finance profession with technology. Applying technology to streamline business processes for accountants is what I’m all about.  My posts will help finance professionals in articulating the value of a PeopleSoft investment to their executives, their day-to-day users, their technology partners and the entire Finance Ecosystem.  

Where do I begin?  That’s easy…let’s start with this year’s 25th Anniversary Issue of the  Top Technology Initiatives Survey published in  the AICPA’s Information Management and Technology Assurance Section’s annual whitepaper. As a contributor, I am quite familiar with this whitepaper, and a few times a year, I present the findings to the CPA community as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP). Thousands of CPA’s are requested to participate in this annual technology survey. Accounting professionals identified security, managing data, ensuring privacy, and managing IT risks and compliance as their key IT priorities. 

How do the results of this survey relate to the PeopleSoft FSCM Community?  Let’s take a closer look...

Securing the IT Environment 

IT security is a topic that’s ‘bigger than a breadbox’ for CPAs. It spans the physical realm, and through the layered virtual realm.  In the end, it’s still the finance professional that attests to the integrity of all financial data, and that will not change. Finance owns the data, right?

Let’s focus this thread with what I feel is the weakest link, the spreadsheet. The strategic roadmap at PeopleSoft is focused on key design tenants simplifying employee self-service. This includes embedded Pivot Grids to allow for native spreadsheet-like slice and dice features, real-time drag and drop operational results, and a layered Pivot Grid security model based upon query security, pivot grid model type security and pivot grid roles.  Why build operational reports by way of static, unsecure, vulnerable and latent spreadsheets? PeopleSoft Pivot Grid results can be rendered via adaptive user interfaces that are optimized for nearly any mobile device and platform independent, to allow you to keep your data secure at all times.

Managing and Retaining Data

As the PeopleSoft customer community matures, volumes of data increase.  Not a problem. Why? The Oracle mantra is Hardware and Software:  Engineered to Work Together. Built on Oracle Engineered Systems, Oracle PeopleSoft In-Memory Project Discovery correlates structured and unstructured project data to enable organizations to answer complex questions at unprecedented speeds and serves up the insight via interactive dashboards targeted at the needs of project, program, and resource managers and executives.

Furthermore,  we overlaid large volumes of data by introducing  exception processing functionality a few years ago with the PeopleSoft Workcenter, and have been expanding its adoption, and capabilities ever since. In the ESA/ALM suites, we now have configurable workcenters to manage grants, projects, staffing, contracts, resources, programs, expenses assets and maintenance. Systematic and dynamic query-based rules now alert managers, super-users, accountants and auditors to allow them to monitor unprocessed transaction activity previously requiring many additional steps to resolve. The dashboard charts and grids allow for immediate visualization of workcenter tasks and work flows.  

To streamline back office processing we introduced the PeopleSoft Business Process Weaver (BPW) to allow for straight through execution in either parallel or in sequence as part of a lights-out business process.  

The PeopleSoft Data Archive Manager supports archiving of records with attachments, and the user interface has undergone a significant revision to make it easier for finance super users to navigate.

Ensuring Privacy

PeopleTools Pluggable Cryptography is an advanced security framework that provides a security model for applications to encrypt credit card data. The system encrypts data using 3DES algorithms and 168-bit encryption keys. Use of PeopleTools Pluggable Cryptography supports compliance with the cardholder data protection requirements of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard and with Visa's Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP).  PeopleSoft Expenses uses this feature to enhance credit card security by encrypting credit card information received into the PeopleSoft Expenses application.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) resides in a secure PeopleSoft HCM application, and is protected at rest and in transit, to be securely leveraged dynamically by the FSCM Approval Workflow Engine to route rules-based configurable approvals throughout all core transaction cycles.  

The PeopleSoft Integration Broker can be leveraged to expose PeopleSoft business logic as a web service to PeopleSoft and third party systems leveraging secure and standards web-based protocols.

Finally, the Oracle ecosystem fully supports PeopleSoft peripherally by way of Oracle Identity Management, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Database Vault, amongst others as complete solutions with embedded privacy features.

Managing IT Risks and Compliance

Every project is subject to risks that can lead to increased costs, delayed schedules, and increased resource requirements. Failure to manage these risks often arises from the inability to decide what to do, when to do it, and whether enough has been done.  Project Risk Management, a feature of PeopleSoft Program Management, addresses these challenges with the functionality to:

  • Identify risks that impact projects and document their characteristics.
  • Develop procedures and techniques to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to the project’s objectives.
  • Monitor residual risks, identify new risks, execute risk reduction plans, and evaluate their effectiveness throughout the project lifecycle.

Our customers can further reduce IT costs and enterprise-wide risk through increased visibility into the project portfolio by way of the PeopleSoft Program Management robust two-way integration with Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Let’s take a step back, and look at the bigger picture around risks and controls, since this topic is a key strategic focus area for PeopleSoft and Oracle at large.   For the past decade (since 9.0) we have been enhancing embedded controls within the PeopleSoft solution with GRC features to dramatically improve the period close, maximize cash / reduce liabilities, and increase control with transaction level security. Oracle Governance, Risk and Compliance features set the standard for enterprise risk management, regulatory compliance, and effective controls enforcement;  Oracle GRC is also an integrated and key component of the end-to-end PS FSCM solution. The platform integrates documentation and process management, automated controls enforcement, and business intelligence to provide comprehensive capabilities for compliance and risk management requirements.

Interested in discussing this topic further?  Please reachout via maria.pollieri@oracle.com, or @Maria_Pollieri.  

Have a nice day.


Source: PeopleSoft Apps Strategy Blog


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