Business software maker PeopleSoft on Monday launched new
versions of its core software and unveiled new products for the blossoming
world of online marketplaces.
The company, which is holding its annual user conference this week in Los
Angeles, introduced PeopleSoft 8 CRM, a suite of Web-based customer
relationship management (CRM) software. The front-office software automates
a business's sales, marketing and customer-service activities.
PeopleSoft 8 CRM includes a customer portal, customer interaction center,
wireless-based applications, CRM analytics software and integration with
third-party software products built on PeopleSoft's framework. New products
and upgrades are slated for phased delivery
beginning in December, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company said.
The unveiling signals a realignment of the company's offerings.
"CRM in general is going to have to take center stage at the company,"
analyst Joshua Greenbaum, who heads Enterprise Applications Consulting,
said in a recent interview. "They really have to get that out front as a
leading product, especially (to work with) their B2B strategy."
Like rivals Oracle and SAP, PeopleSoft has moved away from back-office
software to more lucrative areas such as CRM and business-to-business
marketplaces, as a growing number of companies shift core business processes to the Web. Research firm IDC expects the worldwide market for CRM software to reach $11 billion in 2003.
Oracle and SAP have already released Web-based versions of
their core enterprise software as well as CRM applications that target online marketplaces.
"(PeopleSoft) has a fair amount they need to prove in terms of how
PeopleSoft is doing in the B2B world," said Greenbaum.
In July, the company detailed its
long-awaited suite of Internet-based business applications. PeopleSoft 8,
which was two years in the making, is the company's core back-office
software re-architected and redesigned for the Internet.
As more online marketplaces become operational, greater importance will fall on how the sites deal with customer service and completing transactions,
Greenbaum said. The importance of CRM and online marketplaces "is going to
be really big, really fast. You have to really turn these B2B networks into
bona fide businesses, and that means (providing) customer service," he
PeopleSoft also on Monday announced MarketPay, a Web-based financial
settlement system for online marketplaces that automates and manages
Web-based purchasing and payment processing. It is scheduled for general
release in the first quarter of 2001.
Online marketplaces, or trading exchanges, have become popular with many
companies because they are thought to help cut costs through improved price
and inventory management and to help reduce the amount of paperwork
typically involved in most transactions.
PeopleSoft is expanding the PeopleSoft MarketPlace beyond traditional online
procurement and plans to offer a range of communities for the buying and
selling of human resources-related products and services, such as benefits,
staffing and travel.
Additionally, PeopleSoft and longtime partner IBM said they will jointly
provide Internet-based human resource management systems (HRMS) and
consulting services for businesses of all sizes. Companies will be able to
manage their human resources activities, keeping track of such things as
resumes and retirement data using a combination of PeopleSoft software and
consulting with IBM hardware and services.