CRM is getting a new sibling

PeopleSoft has decided to set a new trend by announcing it will focus heavily on Enterprise Service Automation (ESA) in the coming year.

President and CEO Craig Conway told attendees of PeopleSoft Connect in Atlanta that service spending is huge for organizations, and automating the process is an important part of building a collaborative enterprise.

Conway said recent studies showed the majority of spending is not MRO, but service spending, “and there’s been virtually no automation of this spending.”

He added that service spending is hard to manage. “It’s a combination of human management, procurement and financial management.”

PeopleSoft started by working on control of spending with temps and contract workers. PeopleSoft ESA was officially launched at the conference, but Conway told Connect delegates that in six months it has sold more than 80 implementations.

He said PeopleSoft’s ESA is an integrated suite for management of all types of service in one’s company, including resource management, project management, time and billing, travel contracts and embedded analytics.

“ESA is at the same stage right now that CRM was at four or five years ago,” Conway said. “You’re going to see an enormous amount of resources committed to ESA by PeopleSoft.”

Conway also touched on PeopleSoft’s portals in his keynote.

He called this the most exciting time in technology’s history.

“There are certain points in the history of technology where technology changed the world,” he said, pointing to the introduction of the mainframe, mini-computer, PC and the Internet as key points in time.

He said portals are an intelligent use of the Internet. He stressed that PeopleSoft has a pure Internet portal structure, with no code on the client.

“There are huge benefits of moving core business processes to the Internet,” Conway said. “There is of course cost reduction. But the real benefit is the impact on the business processes themselves. Core business processes become lightning fast. Communication is instantaneous. This is the new way of doing business.”

Conway gives away his keys

Conway also offered his top ten keys to building a collaborative enterprise to Connect attendees. He told delegates at the user conference that the first step is to standardize business processes.

“Organizations need to be standardized across regions, across countries and across offices,” Conway said. “If those processes are different that is usually because of people or history.”

His second key was a pure Internet architecture. “If you’re going to reach out and you have code residing on a client, you’ll never get there. If you’re asking people to get information off your clients, you’ll never get there.”

His next recommendation was to minimize customization. “Some customization is good, but when you extensively customize an out-of-the-box, it becomes customized software and that is hard to work with,” Conway said.

He urged people to hold vendors responsible

“Number five is to accommodate multiple databases. I’m amazed when companies buy software that only works with one database,” Conway said.

“What happens if you acquire a company that is running a different database? Do you have to shut down? Do you have to wait to integrate all the data?” he asked.

The sixth piece was to have highly scalable applications. “At one time we only had to support a limited number of users. Today you need an enterprise software that can support all those who need access to your information,” he said.

Conway broke that number down, showing it can quickly become hundreds of thousands of people accessing your information.

“Global. We are global now and so number seven is multi-lingual, multi-currency businesses. Every company today operates on an international scale, so your system software has to be multi-lingual and multi-currency,” he said.

Number eight is interoperability between users.

“You cannot build a collaborative enterprise from one vendor. You need interoperability with internal information.”

His ninth point was embedded business analytics. “Analysis allows you to understand data and business. Your business participants need analytics made available to them,” Conway said.

And his final piece to the collaborative enterprise puzzle was fewer vendors with broader products.

“When businesses put themselves online, they cannot afford to have the system go down,” he said, adding that is especially important if there are a hundred different pieces with support in a hundred different places.

“People are already choosing vendors with broader product lines.”

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