About Chris Malek
Chris Malek is a PeopleTools® Technical Consultant and President of Cedar Hills Group, Inc. He two decades of experience working on PeopleSoft enterprise software projects. He is a former PeopleSoft employee and currently does consulting for PeopleSoft clients through Cedar Hills Group Inc.
Chris is a technical consultant with strong soft skills. One of the aspects of Chris’ personality that sets him apart from other technical consultants is that he tries to understand the business requirements before writing any code and is not afraid to ask questions and interact with functional experts. He can engage with all levels of management and end-users to extract business requirements and recommend solutions. Chris continues to lead many large and small projects where he has had to gather business requirements, develop project plans, and implement the technical components.
Chris’ PeopleTools technical skills are solid and deep. He is an expert in PeopleCode and all aspects of PeopleTools application development. He has many years of experience developing customizations and setup driven bolt-on modules, including workflow and self-service applications. These types of applications can be the most complex to create and are topics often misunderstood by many PeopleTools developers. Chris has real-world experience using component interfaces, application packages, web services, application messaging, workflow, online development, fluid development, and application engine. Chris has completed many upgrades and new installations. Additionally, his years of experience working on implementations and upgrades gives him the skills to create customizations and bolt-ons that will have minimal upgrade implications.
Below is a listing of some recent projects I have worked on.
Augusoft PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Web Services
Cedar Hills Group, Inc. was engaged to create an extensive PeopleSoft Campus Solutions integration with the Augusoft Lumens LMS. This PeopleSoft code is deployed to Augusoft clients who desire a real-time integration between Lumens and PeopleSoft. Chris Malek designed and implemented a solution that allows for real-time updates to and from PeopleSoft. The solution includes the delivery of over twenty three different web services including:
- Gets and updates on course catalog
- Gets and updates on classes
- Gets and updates on person data
- Gets and updates on learner academic data
- Gets and updates on registrations
- Gets and updates on financial data
This solution is currently deployed to the following schools:
The web services use our standard best practices to ensure there are minimal upgrade and patching implications for the clients. Two of the clients performed a CS 9.0 to CS 9.2 upgrade and there were zero changes required to the deployed code. The code continues to be marketed and sold to new clients.
California Virtual Campus
California Virtual Campus is an initiative by the State of California Community Colleges to help students complete their education at any community college in the state. The goal of this project facilitates a matriculated student at one Community College to enroll in an online class at a different Community College in the state without having to go through the application process at the second school. This involves creating student data, matriculating, enrolling and recording payment information. This enables students to find online class offerings across the state and enroll in those courses to complete their degree with minimal friction. Without this process, the students would be required to go through a lengthy application and admission process.
This is a complex project involving the integration of every community college SIS system in the state which varies greatly between each school in software and implementation practices. The implementation is ongoing and involves many different solutions providers including Quottly and N2N Services.
The colleges implement the CVC integration in two major phase:
- Course catalog and schedule synchronization to a central website.
- Cross enrollment which involves creating and enrolling students in schools in real time from the “CVC exchange”.
Chris Malek designed and implemented all the PeopleSoft web services that are deployed to Community Colleges that use the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions SIS system. These web services allow vendor systems to extract key catalog and schedule information out of PeopleSoft in real time. For the cross enrollment functionality, the web services will fully admit a student to the university. This includes demographic, academic, and financial data. The web services use our standard best practices to ensure there are minimal upgrade and patching implications for the clients.
The PeopleSoft code is currently deployed at the following schools for at least one phase and eventually will be deployed to every community college in the state that uses PeopleSoft.
Coursedog PeopleSoft Integration
Coursedog provides Higher Education clients with innovative SAAS products for Course Catalog, Scheduling and Academic Planning. Their product must integrate data back to each school’s SIS system. Chris Malek worked with the Coursedog team and the N2N Services Illuminate Platform to design and implement the PeopleSoft integration layer. This PeopleSoft code is delivered to client production systems to enable the integration. Chris Malek designed a solution that was highly configurable and allows the same PeopleSoft project to be deployed to every customer but allows each customer to control what can be updated or retrieved with configuration. The web services use our standard best practices ensuring there are minimal upgrade and patching implications for the clients.
The PeopleSoft code designed and created by Chris Malek is currently running at the following schools:
- The City University of New York
- Stanford University
- University of California at Santa Cruz
- Illinois Central College
- College of Lake County
Coursedog continues to market their product to other schools so more will be added to the list.
Financial Aid Forms Framework
Cedar Hills Group, Inc. was contracted to analyze, recommend and implement a streamlined solution to a paper-based Financial Aid (FA) business process for National University. The FA department was using a combination of paper-based forms and an outdated electronic system. Prior to this project, the legacy system was only collecting data for a very small percentage of the forms that could be required for a student to receive financial aid.
Chris Malek led the project, working closely with directors, subject matter experts, and front-line advisors. After several prototypes, iterations and design meetings, a solution was designed and implemented to drastically increase productivity and remove paper from the process.
- We created a “Financial Aid Forms Framework” within PeopleSoft that allows new forms to be created by a subject matter expert with no help from technical staff. The functional experts can add, update, and remove forms with only a web browser.
- We replaced a cumbersome and unreliable third party system that was only a 10% solution to the business process and reduced licensing costs to the university significantly. The implemented solution was folded into the PeopleSoft database and ended up being a 95% solution to the paper-based process with no additional licensing costs and minimal upgrade concerns.
- The PeopleSoft bolt-on was designed to work exactly within the department’s current business process and policies, thus allowing for faster adoption of the project.
- The student facing pages allowed for a simple “dashboard” by aid year where students could quickly see their form submission history and quickly find the status of any needed forms for the open aid years.
This project was arguably one of the most successful projects Chris Malek has ever worked on when looking at the ROI for the client.
- The project was implemented over several phases. The first two phases of the project implemented 90% of the functionality and was rolled out in matter of months after the initial design phase.
- Those phases provided a drastic increase in turn around time for the Financial Aid Department. In the previous process, the paper forms could take weeks to get back. In the new electronic system, an Aid Counselor could request forms from a student and then receive the electronically submitted forms from an applicant in minutes. This process improvement resulted in significant cost savings and productivity gains as well as happier students.
- Additionally, no developer coding was required to create new forms. The form creation and maintenance was all handed off to the department owners. After the project went live, the department started to see over 20,000 forms submitted in an aid year and configured over 60 forms per aid year all without the help of the IT department and very few bug reports.
PeopleSoft Brightspace Integration
Chris Malek designed a configurable solution which automated the data syncs between systems. Chris technically lead the integration project and implemented a large portion of the code. He had to:
- Quickly learn about the Brightspace application concepts.
- Quickly learn about different API offerings by D2L which are called Valence and are REST web services.
- Create a design that merged the requirements from National University’s unique usage of PeopleSoft, Future State of Brightspace and business requirements. Additionally, we needed to account for future unknown functionality.
- Implement an oAuth client security scheme which PeopleSoft does not support out of the box.
- Implement a REST API client written in PeopleCode to interact with the Brightspace Valence APIs.
- Fully document the design for future team members.
The project was successful and continues to pay dividends in the flexibility of the design as different Colleges in the National University System transition to Brightspace.
PeopleSoft Technical Skills
PeopleSoft Functional Skills
Business Process Knowledge
Programming Languages & General Technologies
Technologies Learning or Researching
- Serverless Functions
- Machine Learning