Oracle rolls out renewed PeopleSoft 9

Oracle Corp. continued to release pieces of its PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 applications suite, turning its attentions to performance management. The move is part of Oracle’s most substantial revamp of the suite since acquiring PeopleSoft in January 2005.

PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 9, which debuted Monday, is an integrated suite of analytic applications to help businesses better match company data and resources to their operational goals. The release features improved enterprise planning in budgeting and forecasting and better compliance management around financial control and reporting.

Oracle has increased the integration between PeopleSoft performance management software and other PeopleSoft products. For example, the new offering now integrates with PeopleSoft Workforce Rewards so users can more easily assess the likely impact on their operations of different compensation models.

The vendor has also included some additional functionality for the higher-education market with a new Campus Solutions Warehouse. The warehouse brings student data together and allows staff to perform detailed analysis on that information in relation to student recruitment, student retention and faculty workloads.

The PeopleSoft performance management software is more proof of Oracle’s plan to enhance existing applications while working in parallel on Fusion a new applications suite, due out in 2008, John Wookey, senior vice president of application development at Oracle, said in a recent interview.

Oracle is part way through delivering PeopleSoft Enterprise 9, releasing the CRM (customer relationship management) piece of the software earlier this month. Next will be the financials portion of the application suite due out in September, followed by human resources by year-end, Wookey said.

Turning to its other applications, Oracle plans to release Siebel 8.0 and its homegrown Oracle E-Business Suite 12 before the close of this year. Oracle acquired CRM player Siebel in January for US$5.8 billion. JD Edwards World A9.1 will likely appear early next year, the first significant functional release of the software since 1998, Wookey said. Oracle gained the JD Edwards products through its PeopleSoft purchase.

Oracle is also hard at work on Project Genesis, a set of planned integrations between its disparate applications. Putting in place links or tightening existing integrations between the vendor’s homegrown and acquired applications is designed to make it easier for Oracle customers to eventually adopt Fusion.

The first fruits of Project Genesis will appear in September, Wookey said, as the vendor integrates its Telephony@Work acquisition with its CRM applications. Oracle purchased the contact center technology vendor in June so it could offer all the software needed to support interactions between customers and call-center agents from the initial contact to logging information into a CRM system.

Oracle will also integrate Siebel OnDemand, its hosted CRM application, with E-Business Suite by the end of this year. Oracle then plans to integrate OnDemand with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne in 2007, Wookey said.

Oracle’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) business is growing, but the vendor has yet to aggressively market its offerings. Oracle President Charles Phillips said last month that his company already has a huge telesales staff to back a more serious approach to hosted operations. Having the tight Genesis integrations between Siebel OnDemand and its on-premise applications should help Oracle move more rapidly in ramping up its SaaS business, Wookey said.

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