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SAP, PeopleSoft in higher ed

The two competing enterprise software makers are extending the information management functions in their business packages to the academic sector.

SAP and PeopleSoft (PSFT) will soon roll out new packages for educational institutions, both companies said today.

The two competing enterprise software makers are extending the information management functions in their business software packages to the academic community in releases planned this year and next year, they added.

SAP IQ will be made up of three separate software components tailored for public and private educational organizations, the German software maker said. IQ-Campus will address specific needs of higher-education institutions, while IQ-Training will focus on the needs of commercial training centers. Finally, IQ-Congress will be directed at the needs of conference organizations, according to the company.

IQ-Campus will ship with the release of R/3 4.0 in the fourth quarter of 1998, with the additional software components IQ-Training and IQ-Congress to follow, SAP explained.

As its release date is the closest, details on IQ-Campus were revealed today. Campus will help higher-education institutions manage human, financial, and material resources, the company said. Some issues unique to the higher-education sector involve human resource management for students, alumni, teachers, and research assistance. Campus will handle information management tasks for all of those resources, SAP added.

Other management processes it unveiled include student information management, financial aid, research and grant management, and space utilization and optimization.

PeopleSoft Student Administration consists of six similarly tailored applications, including Campus Community, Student Records, Academic Advisement, Financial Aid, Admissions and Recruitment, and Student Financials.

The general release of PeopleSoft Student Administration includes features available in PeopleSoft 7, released in September. The education package will be released by the end of the year, the company said.

PeopleSoft's release is the product of a two-year research initiative by the software developer called the Student Administration Collaborative Development Program, in which the company cooperated with seven colleges and universities.

By combining PeopleSoft Student Administration with PeopleSoft 7, the company noted it is offering all the human resource and financial functions now available to its corporate users.

In related news, SAP today detailed the next version of its CCMS (Computer Center Management System) toolset for R/3 4.0. CCMS provides monitoring tools for managing both SAP's Business Framework--a step-by-step evolution to object technology for R/3, starting first with an object model and followed by continued enhancements to underlying technology--and multiple R/3 installations from a single toolset.

"CCMS gives end users more information on their business matrix" and allows them to see if their system is working correctly, said Michael Schuster, program director for the CCMS and security.

Schuster noted CCMS also includes increased Internet security--including user validation and authorization as well as R/3 applications security--SNC (secure network communications), and SSF (secure store and forward).

In addition, CCMS integrates management functions with R/3 enterprise processes to measure system and business performance, allowing it to monitor and manage changes in the business process as well as the system architecture, the company said. The toolset will provide a view of the system to help users prioritize activities, such as making more server capacity available during peak business periods to handle an increase in incoming orders.

With the release of R/3 4.0, the tool package offers system administrators an object-oriented environment for monitoring and managing single, distributed, and multiple R/3 installations and components. If problems are detected, CCMS handles them or notifies operators through email or pages.

According to the company, the toolset is also suited for Web-based system monitoring and management. SAP is supporting the industry in adoption of WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Management) and the CIM (Common Information Model) standards for managing enterprise systems over the Internet.

Many of the new features will also be available to current users of R/3 3.1, letting them to boost system management immediately without upgrading to release 4.0, the company said.