Plumtree portal tackles HR

Plumtree Software Inc. on Monday announced a line-of-business portal package with new content and functionality designed to streamline human resources and employee-focused business processes.

The Plumtree Portal Solution for Employee Services bundles connectors — or Gadgets — for PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP AG HR applications, a collection of 19 Gadgets for employee services, and integration with a handful of partner companies with the flagship Plumtree Portal platform.

San Francisco-based Plumtree has witnessed strong demand for an offering that combines portal technology with HR-specific functions and content, according to Hilary Jules, director of alliances at Plumtree.

In a recent customer survey, “80 percent of our customers said HR was a sub-portal or community they wanted to deploy. That was the most often cited community our customers wanted,” Jules said.

The Enterprise Class Gadget Suite for SAP HR is comprised of 17 pre-built Gadgets that integrate frequently used SAP HR transactions into the Plumtree Portal. The Gadget suite allows portal users to update and view career-related data, personal information, and financial information. Specific functions range from expense reports and time off requests to health and insurance benefits transactions. The Gadget Suite for SAP uses SAP’s role-based security to ensure users edit and view only their own personal information, according to Plumtree officials.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise Class Gadget Suite for PeopleSoft pulls in PeopleSoft data such as employee training history, contact information, and payroll information. The Gadgets allow employees to update and track the information, while administrators can approve, update, and search.

In addition to the SAP and PeopleSoft integrations, Plumtree is currently developing an additional 19 Gadgets designed to provide out-of-the-box services including calendaring, expert location, training registration, job posting and application, and survey capabilities. Furthermore, partner companies Extensity, PlaceWare, and Workbrain are developing connectors to the Plumtree Employee Services portal, and Cedar Consulting and are providing deployment support and services.

Plumtree’s move to package a line-of-business portal is designed to drill down into specific business needs that can be solved by portal technology, according to Jules.

“Employee services is the most immediate pain point, and [this solution] is a way to give them portal functionality to solve those problems quickly,” she said.

Furthermore, coupling commonly used application transactions in a portal can provide a broader context for that functionality by bundling the functions with related processes and documents, Jules said.

Plumtree’s effort to provide preconfigured, line-of-business specific functionality can give its enterprise clients a head start in developing a portal designed around internal employee self service, according to Paul Hamerman, research director at Giga Information Group, in Cambridge, Mass.

“There seems to be quite a bit of adoption of employee portals to encapsulate a lot of self service functionality that is essential to HR functions,” he said.