PeopleSoft riffs on real-time

NEW ORLEANS – At its Connect 2002 Americas user conference Monday, PeopleSoft Inc. unleashed a flurry of announcements targeting security, corporate accountability, and real-time automation.

PeopleSoft President and CEO Craig Conway in his morning keynote expounded on the new “Real-Time Solutions for Real-World Challenges” mantra. The Internet has made the real-time enterprise a reality and companies are demanding real-time business processes, he explained.

The real-time enterprise is always on and available, Conway said, adding it’s able to accommodate numerous users, available around the world in multiple languages simultaneously and offers a “higher level of integration across business processes.”

Conway noted that PeopleSoft has continued to invest heavily in new products and technology in a climate of reduced IT spending and a fluctuating economy.

PeopleSoft 8 has met the company’s expectations and the upcoming PeopleSoft CRM 8.8 will have an improved interface that will require a maximum of just three clicks to complete tasks, Conway said.

Conway also introduced its Patriot Act SEVIS Solution (PASS) and Guardian security suite, solutions that address “homeland security.”

Available early 2003, PASS is a real-time foreign student tracking system to be compliant with SEVIS, the United States’ new Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The Guardian Solution includes two portal packs of integrated applications targeted to the United Sates’ first-response agencies.

The greatest challenge in homeland security is implementing a real-time infrastructure that enables agencies to anticipate emergency resource demands, Conway said.

Among other Connect 2002 announcements:

– PeopleSoft’s human resources management applications are now in their third generation and are called Human Capital Management. The solutions are designed align all HR systems within a company, PeopleSoft said. PeopleSoft Human Capital Management now includes solutions for Enterprise Learning and Enterprise Incentive Management.

– PeopleSoft Financial Management Solutions have been strengthened with the addition of specialized portals, including the CFO Portal, which makes every employee as accountable as a CFO; and the new Investor Portal.

– PeopleSoft has invested over the past year in PeopleSoft Supply Chain Management, including the launch of Supplier Relationship Management. An additional six new Supply Chain Management modules were announced at Connect.

– The conference saw the release of a new Application Integration product suite – AppConnect – a Web-enabled, pre-integrated portal integration and warehouse solution designed to work in a multi-vendor IT environment. AppConnect products include the Enterprise Portal, Integration Broker and Enterprise Warehouse and communicate via Web services and legacy integration processes, PeopleSoft said.

– PeopleSoft further bolstered its Enterprise Service Automation (ESA) suite by adding its Project Portfolio Management and ESA Warehouse, solutions created to monitor project information and consolidate data.

PeopleSoft also announced the international expansion of its PeopleSoft Accelerated Solutions mid-market offering, available now in Canada and Europe. Though its partnership with IBM, the fixed-price solutions include Peoplesoft’s Internet applications, technical and end-user training and implementation services. The offerings include CRM, Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Service Automation, Financials and Human Capital Management.

While not exactly earth shattering, the new announcements do reveal a more focused PeopleSoft strategy – something that wasn’t necessarily there before, said Warren Shiau, software analyst for Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd.

The concept of “real-time” is nothing new and PeopleSoft still has a hard sell because business processes aren’t really selling right now, Shiau said, adding that companies are still buying CRM, SCM and ERP software on a module-by-module basis.

But PeopleSoft is now sending a simple message – it’s looking to increase enterprise-operating efficiency, Shiau said. PeopleSoft has established good customer relationships, a good customer base and is broadening its product offering in the right way, he added.

While new solutions such as the PASS and Guardian are a bit “U.S.-centric,” the products – particularly the mid-market offering – should be well received in Canada, Shiau said.