PeopleSoft, RIM partner to deliver sales application

Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), the company that first pushed e-mail over wireless, is teaming up with PeopleSoft Inc. to offer corporate users PeopleSoft Enterprise Sales for BlackBerry, a sales application with similar push technology.

Custom designed to run on RIM devices and use the BlackBerry wireless network, the SFA application plugs into the PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM 8.9 on the back end and will be used by both companies to demonstrate the viability of pushing legitimate enterprise applications over wireless.

Although it does not use the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) 4.0 and network operations center to synchronize with the PeopleSoft CRM application, the SFA solution uses BES to synchronize with Outlook or Notes e-mail. BES is needed for simultaneous synchronization with PeopleSoft’s CRM 8.9 and PeopleSoft PIM applications, in addition to Outlook, Notes calendar, and contacts.

“We built some new APIs into the application so that the PeopleSoft PIM will synchronize over the air with any local PIM,” said George Ahn, general manager for CRM at PeopleSoft.

The technology will automatically detect an available wireless connection and synchronize data in either direction. Users can select times for updates but do not have to initiate the synchronization session. Users will also be able to view leads and call reports in their Outlook or Notes PIM.

From the server side, business rules are used to trigger alerts to the remote device.

Jack Gold, an analyst and vice president at Meta Group Inc., said that companies already deploying a RIM device will benefit the most from the PeopleSoft solution. “If you already have 5,000 guys at an insurance company with a BlackBerry, now you can add an application layer on top of that and IT doesn’t have to deploy new devices,” Gold said.

The SFA application is scaled down from the desktop application, Ahn said, but it does include contacts, call reports, tear sheets, leads, updates, opportunities, hot leads, and tasks.

Ahn also pointed out that the same architecture used for the SFA application could be used for human resources and call center applications. The application is built on J2ME and includes local storage for working offline. “This lays the groundwork to extend our enterprise applications,” Ahn said.

Security features include AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) data encryption during transport, and automatic data wiping capabilities from the server to the device. The application is approximately 30KB in size. PeopleSoft Enterprise Sales for BlackBerry will ship within the next two months.

In related news, RIM used the Gartner Symposium last week to demonstrate a new BlackBerry Wireless Handheld device that offers both wireless LAN and VoIP support. Expected to ship by early next year, the BlackBerry 7270 works with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The new device runs on 802.11b networks and incorporates voice and data capabilities.

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