CEBIT: PeopleSoft adds instant messaging to portal

HANOVER, GERMANY – PeopleSoft Inc. announced Enterprise Portal 8.8, an update to its portal product integrating enterprise instant messaging from IBM Corp., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and adding multiple site-management features, PeopleSoft said Friday.

With integrated instant messaging, PeopleSoft users can offer contacts a direct way to connect. For example, when using PeopleSoft’s supply chain management application to request bids for an order of office chairs, potential bidders can get an instant message link in the request for proposal to ask questions, the vendor said.

“Instant messaging will be used in every one of a company’s business processes, supply chain is just one of the obvious fits we have for it right now,” PeopleSoft Chief Technology Officer Richard Bergquist said in an interview at the CeBIT technology trade show here, where the upgrade was announced.

PeopleSoft’s portal will use instant messaging features such as presence detection, privacy settings and functionality that forwards messages to e-mail inboxes, phones or pagers. Administrators will have the ability to limit the use of instant messaging, including disabling the feature altogether, Bergquist said.

The new site management options in Enterprise Portal 8.8 allow departments within a company to customize their portal view without help from IT staffers. After access rights are set by the IT staff, departments can then create portals with a targeted look and feel using simple interfaces, Bergquist said.

“Before now every department had to have their own portal managed by IT administrators. Enterprise Portal 8.8 leads to lower cost of ownership and a higher rate of user satisfaction,” he said.

After messaging and site management, Resource Finder is the third major new feature in version 8.8, an upgrade from 8.4. It allows users to quickly find something in a company’s PeopleSoft systems. This could range from finding a customer who recently bought a certain product to an employee who specializes in a certain field, Bergquist said.

Portal software displays business information pulled from enterprise applications giving users a quick overview of their business performance. PeopleSoft’s Enterprise Portal will work with the company’s own applications, for example for HCM (human capital management) and CRM (customer relationship management), but will also work with products from other vendors, PeopleSoft said.

PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal 8.8 will be available as an update for existing customers in the U.S. from March 19 and internationally on May 28. Instant messaging capabilities from IBM and Yahoo will be available in the second quarter, while support for Microsoft messaging is scheduled for the fourth quarter, PeopleSoft said.

The messaging products that will be integrated are Yahoo’s Messenger Enterprise Edition, IBM’s Lotus Sametime and Microsoft’s Greenwich, PeopleSoft said.