Next Monday, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company will begin testing 15 self-service Web applications that comprise its new Universal Applications suite. The administrative apps are designed to give a wide range of corporate users online access to relevant human resources, purchasing, and accounting data. The applications will be rolled out along a new Java client in the next major release of PeopleSoft 7 due in the first quarter of next year.
Employees, suppliers, and customers will be able to tap into the Universal apps using the Java or a Windows client. The two types of clients will share a three-tier application server and be deployed using the company's PeopleTools toolkit to assure that they run in sync. The server will run under a BEA Systems' Tuxedo transaction server to ensure that thousands of users can log onto the applications simultaneously, the company said.
"The Internet is really letting us expand to a whole new set of users," said Rick Bergquist, PeopleSoft's vice president of technology. The company's business applications have routinely been used by internal specialists at large enterprises around the world. However, the new easy-to-use Internet apps may conceivably end up at the fingertips of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people both inside and outside of the large multinational corporations deploying the software, he added.
PeopleSoft has also signed a deal with Netscape Communications to share technology for the purpose of testing their offerings to make sure they are compatible. The agreement comes as Netscape has signed up Novell and PeopleSoft competitor Oracle to integrate software offerings.
Yet the PeopleSoft agreement is more modest. It calls for the two companies to develop a "common Internet infrastructure," complete with gateway services and a desktop client that can extend across a large corporation's computer systems.
PeopleSoft is not alone in rushing online to reach a much greater audience. Rival SAP has also been rolling out Java applets for its R/3 system since last fall. Earlier this month, SAP unveiled Web-enabled workflow software linking purchase agents to their suppliers. The software is scheduled to come to market inside the next version of R/3 later this spring.
Meanwhile, Oracle next month will debut the Oracle Applications for the Web 2.0, a series of more than 30 client modules written in Java for its business applications suite.