PeopleSoft Case Study: The Quest for Process Consistency

By Michael Holbrook

Company: PeopleSoft, Inc. is a leading provider of collaborative enterprise software. PeopleSoft Pure Internet Architecture enables organizations to reduce costs and increase productivity through collaboration with their customers, suppliers, and employees. Applications from PeopleSoft include Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Service Automation, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources Management, Financials, and Enterprise Performance Management. More than 5,000 organizations in 140 countries run on PeopleSoft software. PeopleSoft maintains a global support organization with over 400 support personnel located around the world.

The Challenge: PeopleSoft has continued to expand its product lines to provide integrated customer solutions. As new products have been added, it became apparent that while the service delivery experience was good, it often varied across product groups. As a result, the company determined that enhanced support processes were needed to ensure a more consistent service experience. “Our goal was to make sure customers received a similar, high quality service experience across the growing number of product lines we support,” said Dave Hare, Vice President of Product Support Services for PeopleSoft.

Consistency across product lines becomes increasingly important as more and more customers use the integrated PeopleSoft product suites. Additionally, many PeopleSoft customers are global companies and it is critical to ensure that service quality is also consistent across geographic regions. This is central to PeopleSoft’s goal of providing superior service to all of its customers.

The Solution: PeopleSoft began by researching benchmarking and certification programs to determine which of its support processes were industry best practices and which could be improved upon. While the company had obtained ISO 9000 Series certification for its Global Support Center (GSC) operation, it was clear that the company would benefit from an additional focus on best practices. The GSC management team became aware of the Support Center Practices (SCP) Certification program through the SCP involvement of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product line, which resulted in significant improvements within the CRM support operation.

Due to PeopleSoft’s current successes with SCP and its ongoing partnership with Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA), co-creators of the SCP Certification program along with 40 of its member companies and Service Strategies Corporation, PeopleSoft was confident that the SCP program could assist in providing the framework it was looking for to drive consistency throughout its GSC operation. PeopleSoft’s review of its practices revealed that the SCP program quantifies the effectiveness of customer support, establishes a foundation to build on existing processes, and provides a clear focus on measurable results. In addition, comprehensive annual audits would help to ensure that PeopleSoft continued to meet the requirements of over one hundred business elements defined in the program. “PeopleSoft has shown a strong commitment to service quality and consistency by adopting SCP across its global support organization and targeting certification for all of its support centers worldwide,” said Greg Coleman, Vice President of Certification for Service Strategies Corporation, the internationally recognized firm responsible for administering the SCP program and conducting on-site audits.

SCP has given PeopleSoft an industry accepted resource for identifying best practices. “We are now better equipped to develop best practices by using the certification criteria as a roadmap,” states Dave Hare. “The SCP program enforces and reinforces the consistency we are striving for. Customers are now getting a more consistent service experience because of our common processes across multi-product lines.”

The Future: “Our goal is to complete the certification process for our entire Global Support Center,” said Dave Hare. Currently, the company has portions of the organization certified in North and South America as well as Europe.

By preparing for initial certification for the balance of the GSC organization, then maintaining a focus on consistency through annual re-certification, PeopleSoft will be continually monitoring and re-evaluating its service operations. “When we make one customer happier, or one support analyst more productive, we see our SCP certification investment returned many times over.”

[From Connection MagazineJune 2004]