PeopleSoft bolsters portal software

PeopleSoft Inc. Friday announced an upgraded version of its portal software that is aimed at making it easier for companies to collaborate not only internally but also with external suppliers, partners and customers.

New in PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal 8.8 are wizard-driven tools that allow end users to configure sub-sites within the portal framework. Cross-enterprise relationships can require dozens or hundreds of sub-sites, PeopleSoft says. Giving site-management tools to business users so they can create and deploy their own sub-sites can help keep content fresh and let IT staff focus on other tasks, according to the vendor.

Also new to the portal suite is support for instant messaging technologies from IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. Integrated instant messaging will allow portal users to see which business partners are online and then immediately communicate with them to expedite business transactions, PeopleSoft says. Users also will be able to take advantage of instant messaging features that allow them to forward messages to mobile phones or convert them into speech for voice mail delivery, and privacy settings that restrict unwanted communication.

PeopleSoft’s Resource Finder feature, new to Version 8.8, helps business users locate the appropriate person or resource needed for a particular task or business process. For example, a user could search for a customer who has purchased a certain product, or the application for creating an electronic expense report.

PMI Mortgage Insurance expects to significantly reduce costs by streamlining development and maintenance of its Internet sub-sites with Version 8.8, said Kyle Whittemore, director of executive compensation at the Walnut Creek, Calif. private mortgage insurer, in a statement announcing the new version. The Resource Finder feature will improve efficiencies, he said.

“Resource Finder will also allow us to reduce internal costs of maintaining company directories and organization charts while giving our employees and customers real-time access to reliable and accurate information,” Whittemore said.

PeopleSoft unveiled Enterprise Portal 8.8, which is part of its AppConnect integration suite, at this week’s CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany. The portal software will available this month. Instant messaging capabilities from IBM and Yahoo will be available in the second quarter; instant messaging capabilities from Microsoft will be available in the fourth quarter.