We recently had the opportunity to investigate PeopleSoft Fluid UI on behalf of a client who is interested in mobilizing a number of PeopleSoft functions. Fluid UI is PeopleSoft’s approach to making apps mobile and easier to use. Among those who have used it, however, the jury is still out on whether it effectively accomplishes the task.
There are a number of reasons for the ongoing debate, including:
It’s still PeopleTools development
This means you need specialized PeopleSoft developers to do the work. On the face of it, this may not seem like a major issue, but consider what it means for the developers. Now, on top of being responsible for standard PeopleSoft development work, they are expected to wear the additional hats of mobile app designers, UX designers and web developers. Using Fluid UI requires a whole new level of expertise from your current team, requiring them to become “overnight experts” in the design of people/interface interactions, accessibility and work flow.
Expecting your PeopleSoft developers to rapidly acquire these additional skills may well set them up for failure. And the alternative can be equally challenging. If you don’t expect them to acquire the necessary skills themselves, they will have to collaborate closely with someone who does, in order to get through the Fluid UI page building process—thus adding more people and/or teams to your project(s), which invariably ratchets up the complexity.
Fluid UI is only delaying the pain
The release of Fluid UI is a step in the right direction, however it is still a solution with a shelf-life. Any solution that uses a fixed set of front end technologies and development frameworks is anchored in time and will start to look and feel stale as the pace of front end innovations continues to accelerate.
While the new mobilization capability offered by Fluid UI is undoubtedly much better, it is apparent that it will not meet the standard of ease of use and beauty set by consumer apps. Delivered Fluid pages are full versions of the enterprise app which get ‘stuffed onto’ mobile devices. This means lots of complicated screens, different viewing modes, lots of detail and too many swipes and taps. Such an experience will frustrate mobile users, not win them over. In fact, research shows that almost 60% of employees will an abandon an employer’s mobile app if the user experience is sub-par, leaving you investigating alternative solutions down the road.
You’ll need to upgrade PeopleSoft and PeopleTools to get it
As our client discovered, while Oracle is talking a lot about the new Fluid UI tools, getting on the future path requires an upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.2 and PeopleTools 8.55. That means the cost of two software upgrades on top of the time it takes your development team to get comfortable with a new set of tools, a different development approach and an array of potentially unfamiliar mobile app design parameters.
“Free” can come with costs attached
Although Oracle does not charge for Fluid, since an upgrade and development resources are required, it’s not quite “free.” Our advice? Keep the aforementioned considerations in mind when evaluating whether or not Fluid is the right fit for your organization. There are alternatives that overcome many of Fluid UI’s issues and are less expensive. With the right partner and the right technology, you can get the mobile UX you want without:
You can quickly add a modern mobile user experience to PeopleSoft without the need for specialized PeopleSoft development skills with only one readily available skill set—mobile/web app design. It’s hard to argue with modern, mobile design and functionality for significantly less outlay in time and money.
Karl Wierzbicki of InFlight Corporation has 14 years’ of technology marketing experience, driving exceptional ROI through innovative solutions and user-centric technologies like InFlight Aura.
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