People Soft Response

Jeff Caird (a very competent human factors prof in Psychology) and his students performed a usability assessment of the University of Calgary PeopleSoft Registration System. He submitted the report to the administration, and this is the response he received. Of course, we recognize that institutions do have problems dealing with large changes quickly, so we can sympathise with the position of this responder. However, it does indicate the scale of problems that occur when NO usability evaluation is done before purchasing a major product.

The Response

Hi Jeff:

As you know, PeopleSoft is third-party software and as such, there is a limit to what the University can do to customize it to suit our needs (and a limit to how much customizing the University wants to do).

We are one of the first institutions to implement this version of the Student Center, and PeopleSoft continues to make enhancements to it. These enhancements come to the PeopleSoft clients as 'Bundles' and these, at some point in time, must be implemented. To implement them, however, means that the Bundles must be assessed by the developers and fully tested by the users before they go into Production. To ask the users to do this now after all they have been through with the three system implementations is simply not fair, so implementing the Bundles will be delayed until probably next Fall. In saying this, there may be an opportunity to implement pieces of the Bundles that will resolve problems that staff or students have identified as critical.

The areas of concern identified by your Psyc 425 students are well-known by PeopleSoft Support and Enrolment Services and were documented in the student feedback sessions held in early 2007. I suspect that some of the issues documented will already have been resolved by PeopleSoft and will be included in the Bundles. Now that we are through the registration period for Fall/Winter, there will be an opportunity to review the Bundles to see if there are pieces that, if implemented, might resolve some of the issues identified by the students.

Unfortunately there isn't a magic wand that we can waive to resolve the identified issues, as there is a lot of work and resources involved in making system changes. In saying this, we are aware of most issues and will be setting priorities for changes to the Student Centre, with the hope that some have already been identified and resolved by PeopleSoft and are contained in the Bundles.

Thanks for taking the time to prepare the PowerPoint. It is appreciated and is making its way around to the likes of David Johnston, the Student Team Leads, and the system Architects here in PeopleSoft Support.