The 8.9 version marks the first major release of the Enterprise product line since December 2003—and since Oracles acquisition of PeopleSoft.
"Its been about 21 months in the making, with a significant amount of enhancements," said John Webb, vice president of strategy for supply chain applications, first at PeopleSoft and now at Oracle. "We did not change the scope from prior to the acquisitions."
In the SCM and SRM modules there are over 100 upgrades across a number of areas, including supplier contract management and strategic sourcing, according to Webb.
PeopleSoft Supplier Contract Management, at the center of PeopleSoft SRM 8.9, enables users to standardize contract processes through a centralized clause library, authoring tools and contract policies. New functionality includes a centralized terms library that lets users create and maintain standard contract components. Automated configurations and wizards enable users to create tailored contracts.
Upgraded integration functionality in SRM 8.9 links contract documents to transactional contracts housed in Enterprise Purchasing, which helps users enforce vendor pricing. Integration with Microsoft Word lets users insert clauses from the centralized library.
New features in Enterprise SCM 8.9 include a rearchitected fulfillment inventory engine that cuts processing time, while new functionality around wholesale distribution helps users to better manage supplier rebates and commissions.
Likewise the Enterprise FMS 8.9 also has a large number of upgrades, including extensive enhancements around compliance—particularly with Sarbanes-Oxley initiatives—and project management, with a new suite of applications for asset lifecycle management that brings in functionality from SCM 8.9.
In terms of better global compliance, Oracles goal is to enable paperless and more reliable processes, according to Rich Rodgers, vice president of strategy for financial applications.
"Weve enabled automated cash flow reporting, automated production of cash flow statement reports, and focused on financial statements around hedge accounting and effectiveness testing," said Rodgers, in Redwood Shores, Calif. "Weve given customers the ability to reflect multiple ledgers across companies."
A new application called Financial Gateway thats within the cash management module provides a centralized framework for electronic banking that handles payments, deposits and movement of cash from a company to financial institutions.
The new asset lifecycle management suite is targeted toward helping users manage the full life cycle of their assets, from long-range capital to procurement, maintenance and planning. The suite focuses on three classes of assets: IT, property, and plant and equipment, with much of the intellectual property for the suite borrowed from J.D. Edwards, the midmarket applications developer Oracle acquired when it bought PeopleSoft.
At the same time Oracle announced its upgrade to 8.9 last week, it committed to developing PeopleSoft Enterprise 9, according to Rodgers. It also said that any new functionality—either in 8.9 or 9—will be included in Oracles next-generation "super suite" of applications, dubbed Project Fusion.
"We want to provide functionality today with Fusion Middleware, so someone adopting 8.9 [will see] Web services enablement in much of the systems [in Project Fusion]," said Rodgers. "Although the tool set of PeopleTools will go away [with Project Fusion] by virtue of a standards-based platform, it doesnt mean that the functionality and data model wont persist."
Rodgers said that with a supported path to Project Fusion and a continued focus on compliance, Oracle expects a lot of adoption to the next—and final—upgrades to the PeopleSoft Enterprise suite.