Prasad Pinnamaraju, a senior PeopleSoft support engineer at Rimini Street, is one of the hard-working professionals who contributes to the company’s average overall 4.9/5.0 client satisfaction rating. He applies an extensive background working to provide PeopleSoft third-party support to companies who need assistance with issues ranging from payables to inventory.
How it all began
Pinnamaraju started his career in computer engineering 30 years ago with Ford Motor Company, then moved to PeopleSoft, where he gained foundational skills in working with this complex software. He leveraged that knowledge to take a role at TomorrowNow, a provider of PeopleSoft third-party support that was co-founded by Rimini Street’s current CEO and Board Chairman Seth Ravin.
Ravin, who had previously been a vice president at Oracle, saw the value in PeopleSoft. He was positioning TomorrowNow to extend the longevity of the product at a time when Larry Ellison, who was then Oracle’s CEO, was conducting a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft and was apparently planning to replace PeopleSoft with Oracle.
“I thought, ‘Here’s a company that seems like it’s trying to kill the product, whereas here’s a company that’s trying to extend it,’” remembers Pinnamaraju. “So, I placed my bet with Seth’s vision.” When TomorrowNow was winding down its operations in 2008, Seth recommended Pinnamaraju to a Rimini Street recruiter, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A day in the life
What that history looks like now in the day-to-day is abundant problem-solving, helping clients with PeopleSoft challenges that can take anywhere from half an hour to four weeks to solve. The process starts with a client request to help fix a particular issue or meet a certain goal with the software. This is followed by a consultation and research process, in which Pinnamaraju gets more specifics from the client, investigates the problem, and sometimes consults with colleagues who might be able to help with parts of the solution.
Much of the work that Pinnamaraju and his team do revolves around fixing bugs in the software to ensure that things are working right. But they also spend plenty of time helping clients find new ways of doing things or troubleshooting problems with their processes.
A common request is for help with business processes that are already in use, such as getting payments from customers, ordering items, or paying vendors. Clients might be looking to do a step in the process differently or make the software function in a particular way within the process.
Other common problems are transactional data issues, such as a customer being charged twice for a single invoice; accounting issues, such as a ledger that won’t balance at month-end close; and inventory issues, such as the system failing to accurately track inventory numbers.
For Pinnamaraju, switching among different types of issues throughout the day — from payables to inventory to accounting — is a challenge, yet he has developed adroitness over decades of honing his skills and knowledge. And he embraces the fact that each PeopleSoft support ticket he gets gives him a chance to help clients, and in particular, to potentially help them with a thorny problem that demands the intense work he likes best.
“You have to love your clients,” he says. “You have to love what you’re doing. Saying ‘I help clients’ doesn’t give the full meaning of it, doesn’t reflect the struggle and success.”
Pinnamaraju also appreciates that his job is different every day. Even when two clients are having the same problem — say an issue with printing checks — the cause and the necessary fix may be different in each case. He relishes that the work provides an opportunity to learn new things.
“This role and what we do in this company, some people view as not exciting,” he says. “But there is enough excitement here, and there are things for you to learn on a daily basis.”
While that’s good news for Pinnamaraju and others on his team, it also means that Rimini Street clients get access to experienced PeopleSoft engineers who are well versed in a wide range of issues, nimble in taking on new problems, and eager to help.
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