PeopleSoft reveals the naked enterprise

Despite all the mistrust surrounding the future of the Internet, enterprises needn’t throw out the Internet baby with the dot-com bathwater, according to one University of Toronto (U of T) professor.

Don Tapscot, author and adjunct professor of management at U of T made the comment at application provider PeopleSoft Inc.’s PeopleSoft on Tour 2002 conference in Toronto Thursday. Tapscot made reference to the realities of creating today’s “naked enterprise” – a real-time organization where systems and businesses processes are transparent to customers, suppliers and trading partners as part of an extended enterprise.

“If you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff,” Tapscot said, noting that the recent examples of corporate scandals including Enron and Worldcom have created a climate in mistrust and renewed calls for corporate accountability. This is where the era of the real-time enterprise and Internet architecture comes in, he added.

“It’s an idea whose time has come,” Tapscot said, adding on-demand reports and real-time price discovery through real-time tools like Toronto-based PeopleSoft Canada’s solutions offer low latency, reduced transaction costs, and “always-on” capabilities.

If the real-time enterprise isn’t here yet, it’s not that far away, noted Christopher Hollow, an IT consultant for Toronto-based CGI Group Inc. Companies are carefully watching this space and anticipate making the transition, Hollow said.

Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) has already made that transition. The facility announced that it is implementing a PeopleSoft application to assist with financial and supply chain management systems automation. HSC had chosen PeopleSoft’s HR/Payroll solutions back in 1997 and is now introducing financials and a fully self-serve Web architecture environment.

John Aldis, business systems director, information services for HSC, said real-time access to integrated data will dispense with inefficient, paper-based and manual processes, adding that the project will be online in three weeks and a “minimally invasive” e-procurement solution is slated for a January 2003 rollout.

The biggest technical challenge for HSC, Aldis said, was dealing with multiple, disparate legacy systems. Wide and deep user access was problematic, Aldis noted, as was an over reliance on IT for report development, high maintenance effort/costs, and incompatibility with emerging technologies.

Although other vendor solutions feature higher functionality, PeopleSoft’s “comfortable” user interface and training support made for a better fit with the hospital, Aldis said.

The hospital culture is shifting to accommodate the new self-service format, Aldis noted, benefiting in lower administration costs and always accessible information, including financial and health record information. The goal is to achieve transparent and integrated IT systems and processes.

“The transition [to real-time] is actually pretty easy…it really hasn’t been a struggle,” Aldis said, adding that “self-service is the name of the game.”

PeopleSoft Canada in Toronto is at