PeopleSoft helping customers get real time

LAS VEGAS – PeopleSoft Inc.’s second annual Leadership Summit here is jam-packed with announcements, but the company’s real focus was on its real time enterprise solutions.

Addressing an audience of close to 3,000 C-level attendees, PeopleSoft’s president and CEO, Craig Conway referred to the movement of business processes to an online architecture as a stunning transformation.

“You couldn’t have written a movie script with a more exciting plot,” he said.

According to Conway, what was merely a vision 18 months ago has become a reality, and is changing the way that companies are doing business. The real time enterprise has three major implications, Conway said. The first implication revolves around business processes above software applications.

“It doesn’t make sense anymore to think about individual software applications,” he said. “You can no longer evaluate software as standalone applications.”

The second implication is a higher level of integration, which Conway said need to be online within a portal framework, and the third implication is that the business process has to be always on.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company made six announcements around its customer relationship management (CRM) suite, launching products for the high-tech, energy, insurance, government, financial services and telecommunications industries. It also released three solutions under the Human Resource Management umbrella, two under Supply Chain Management and Two under Enterprise Portals.

While these announcements have been creating a lot of buzz around the conference, it is the message of the real time enterprise that PeopleSoft wants to leave its attendees with. Delivering this message is particularly important, as a large percentage of the conference’s attendees are not current PeopleSoft customers, and last year’s Leadership Summit generated 15 million dollars worth of revenue from new business, Conway said.

According to Toronto-based Peter Smith, regional vice-president of PeopleSoft global services in Canada, this message has come through loud and clear.

“Customers get it,” he said. “In my conversations with customers over the last couple of days, they really understand that a lot of the work that they’re currently doing is not value added, and they’re struggling with priorities.”

Another focus of the summit has been PeopleSoft’s continuing effort to maintain strong relationships with its customers. Part of this relationship management is an honesty built into the organization from Craig Conway down, according to PeopleSoft customer Clint Mahlman, vice-president of human resources and distribution for London Drugs Ltd., in Richmond, B.C.

Mahlman described approaching PeopleSoft with a request for implementing its supply chain management solution, and having the company reject the request because it wouldn’t be the proper fit.

“I think that speaks to the integrity of the company,” he said.

According to Smith, this sort of approach is simply common sense.

“It’s not worth it to make a sale if things don’t fit,” Smith said. “The amount of energy that a bad sale takes out on both us and the customer in the long term is too stressful, and can result in a bad reference in the marketplace. We understand the high cost of not doing the job properly, and will never sign up for a piece of bad business or an expectation that we’re not going to be able to meet.”

PeopleSoft Leadership Summit 2002 is at www.peoplesoft.com