The PeopleSoft Inc. was a company that provided Enterprise Performance Management software (EPM) performance, Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), financial management solutions (FMS), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and customer relationship management (CRM) software systems (Kurtz 2012). Beside this, the company also provided software solutions for enterprise performance management, as well as student administration to large institutions, corporations, and the government.
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The company had been in existence independently until 2005 when the Oracle Corporation purchased it. PeopleSoft technology has based its product on a Client-server approach since its establishment. Advancements resulted to new versions of the application and with time, the entire set shifted to a web-centric design named as the Pure Internet Architecture (PIA) (Anderson 2006).
With the PIA architecture, a company using ERP application could access all its business functions on a web browser (Kurtz 2012). Even after its acquisition by the Oracle Corporation, this application still can still function as an ERP. In addition, the application can as also be used for single modules for instance Student Administration in isolation. Presumably, the community college in question has an integrated PeopleSoft ERP system that encompasses student management, human resources systems, payroll systems, and inventory systems (Anderson 2006).
The ERP software as well as the documentation involved with it is a private property (Matthias 2005). Its use is only through under a license agreement that normally contains restrictions of use and disclosure. The ERP PeopleSoft software enables an advanced planning and budgeting system. It enables a synchronized top-down target setting as well as bottom-up budget preparation in support of continuous wide planning. These shows that the planning and department system in the community college do not have a hard time doing planning and budgeting.
The system as well guarantees the community college of security. ERP software provides options of read only, read-write, or no access security purposes. These dimensions assure the institution total security of their data and free from sabotage. The software can document and test risks and controls, which is an important aspect as undetected errors, could result to consequences. The software efficient and its efficiency come with cost. It is a very expensive but efficient application (Anderson 2006).
The software has especially proven to be important to higher learning institutions and colleges (Kurtz 2012). The campus solutions data assist clients to extract data from their transaction systems and build sophisticated analysis and reports. A current version of ERP has new campus solutions with three data marts, student records, admissions, and student financials. Therefore, the community college is able to produce operational and analytical reports regarding students’ records, admissions, recruiting and file reports regarding student financials. In addition, these data marts can store data on enrollment and course catalogs (Kurtz 2012).
On the other hand, the technical school uses a proprietary system that is close to a typical Commercial Off-the shelf (COTS) system (Anderson 2006). Apparently, this system is a development of the technical students during their course of study, functions similarly to the PeopleSoft system, and has equal capabilities. COTS system is any non-developmental item of supply that is both commercial and it is possible to sell substantial quantities of the item in the commercial market for instance, computer software, hardware systems, or any free software. COTS entails a pattern modified for precise use. This property has made it easier for students to construct the software.
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It is possible to buy the components of COTS and one does not necessarily require developing it from scratch. This has an overall effect of reducing the overall costs and system –development as well as long-ERP maintenance costs. Furthermore, the system reduces the initial time of development. Therefore, a typical COTS system reduces the initial costs and time of development. However, the system developed by the technical students relatively differs from a standard COTS system as it experiences rather dissimilar challenges contrary to the expectations (Kurtz 2012).
The system in the technical college is equal to a COTS system. Commercial off-the shelf Software is pre built and normally acquired from a third party vendor. (Anderson 2006). Research shows that organizations currently prefer this application as it has many desirable features costs being the leading one as it is cheap. It is a stable application as many organizations use it. This proves that it is a reliable program. COTS software is usually the output of the efforts of many experts put together and therefore is relatively complex (Matthias 2005). Thus, it is possible that the system in the
technical school is of relatively complex since many students combined their knowledge to come up with the software. The system in the technical school is expectedly of high quality since many students have imputed their skills in its construction.
However, using COTS software puts at jeopardy the security of data of the institution using it (Anderson 2006). The system in the local technical school has several components similar to this system and thus vulnerable to facing security challenges. A study conducted recently showed that only approximately 14% of companies conduct security reviews on commercial applications brought in house, and over half of the companies do not conduct the assessment at all.
Companies rely on the vendor reputation and legal agreements or lack policies dealing with COTS all together. This only means that there is limited visibility of the risks introduced into their software by COTS software. It is possible that no assessment takes place at all in the technical school, as such assessment requires a lot if expertise and this means comprising the security of their data. Vendors of COTS are not stable and may go out of business without any prior notice, which can cause devastating effects to institution using the application. In addition, it is possible to purchase solutions that are of poor quality that may cause loss of data (Kazman 2004)
It is evident that the system in the community college is more efficient than the system in the technical school. The two can merge to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges. A standard solution derived from the two alternatives should be in a position to provide security to the data stored. Properties that put security of data in jeopardy in a COTS software should not reflect in the new solution formed from the merge (Kazman 2004). Strong properties that guarantee security in ERP system should feature in the new solution. The ERP soft ware has proven to be very expensive while COTS is considerably cheap.
A COTS application is cheap since you can obtain it from several vendors in the market. The new solution should exhibit the aspect of data marts to ease the administration of students. This means that properties from the two software applications inhibiting the client from extracting information from the databases should not feature in the new solution. The data marts should therefore be a strong character in the new solution as they give full access the databases and compiling of comprehensive reports is with much ease (Kurtz 2012).
Admissions data marts, student records data marts and student financial data marts should characterize the new solution consuming (Beydeda 2005). Student records data marts should probably store data on enrollment and course catalogues organized in a systematic order to enable the institution prepare ad-hoc reports. The sample reports from the possible student records data marts ought to include information on class sizes, grade distribution, as well as graduation suitability.
In addition, reports from this category should include total statistical reports with year-to-year comparisons. Admissions data marts should show the life cycle of admissions and provide reports to sustain the admissions process. Sample reports from these databases should monitor applicants, applications, in addition to other measures by prospect profile data. The student financial data marts are important to merge financials of the students and the general financial system (Kurtz 2012).
The solution will have some cost shortcomings as it is bound to be expensive. The expected initial time of system development is long thus time consuming (Carter 2004). However, the advantages of the new solutions overwrite the disadvantages with the data marts solving most of the problems encountered. The three data marts, student financial data mart, admissions data mart, student record data mart solve the principal issue of student management (Beydeda 2005).
Anderson, L. (2006). Understanding PeopleSoft. Upper saddle river: John Wiley & Sons.
Beydeda, S. (2005). Testing Commercial-off-the-Shelf Components and Systems.New Mexico: springer publisher.
Kazman, R. (2004). COTS-Based Software Systems: Third International Conference, ICCBSS 2004, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, Febru8ary 1-4, 2004, Proceedings. New Mexico: springer publisher.
Kurtz, D. (2012). PeopleSoft for the Oracle DBA. London: Apress.
Matthias, E. (2005). Advanced planning in fresh food industries [electronic resource]: integrating shelf life into production planning Contributions to management science. New Mexico: springer publisher.
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