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PeopleSoft debuts homeland security apps

The company also introduces software that takes aim at another big issue of the day: corporate responsibility.

PeopleSoft is taking aim at two of the biggest issues of the day: homeland security and corporate responsibility.

"The solutions we're introducing today are part of a broader PeopleSoft initiative for homeland security," company President Craig Conway said Monday, as the business software maker kicked off its six-day users conference in New Orleans. "If there was ever a time to use the technology advantage of this country to defend this country, that time is now."

PeopleSoft debuted its Guardian suite of software, which will allow government agencies to monitor the hiring, movement and training of their emergency workers. The software, which will be available in early 2003, will also let users manage emergency command centers by monitoring alerts and tracking resources.

The company also announced Patriot Act programs aimed at helping colleges and other higher education schools meet new Justice Department regulations. These regulations require them to collect certain information on foreign students and report it to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, starting in January. PeopleSoft said it has already signed up several customers, including the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Duke University; the California State University system; the University of Minnesota; and the University of Michigan. The applications will be available later this year.

Many software companies have targeted federal spending on homeland security--one of the few bright spots in a sector that has seen spending dry up as the economy remains stubbornly depressed. But just as many corporate clients are slowing their spending, the government is planning to spend $38 billion on homeland security in 2003.

PeopleSoft announced earlier this year that it planned to enhance its customer relationship management (CRM) applications with specialized versions for government agencies, as well as for insurance, high-tech and energy companies, by the end of the year.

PeopleSoft, which competes with SAP, Oracle and Siebel Systems in the market for business applications, also presented two products to address the growing interest in corporate responsibility. One is a portal that businesses can use to show specific financial information and performance indicators to customers, and the second is software that combines multiple financial reporting systems onto a single system.

The company also announced that it would target medium-sized businesses overseas, an expansion of its year-ago plan to go after such companies in the United States, according to Reuters. This quarter and next, PeopleSoft will launch products aimed at medium-sized businesses in a half-dozen new markets, including the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

"We tend to have larger-sized companies in the United States. Midmarket companies are more the rule in those other countries," said Rick Bergquist, chief technology officer at the Pleasanton, Calif.-based software maker.

The company now gets one-quarter to one-third of its sales from medium-sized companies, with annual revenue of up to $300 million, Bergquist said.

Reuters contributed to this report.