In the race to web-enable enterprise applications, PeopleSoft Inc. took a step forward this month with the release of PeopleSoft 8 CRM, which completes the Web enablement of its enterprise resource planning suite.
The cornerstone of the release, made at the PeopleSoft Leadership Summit here, was the introduction of an HTML-based architecture that lets users run the CRM (customer relationship management) applications through a browser. The software, which requires no additional code on the client, includes what PeopleSoft deems the best components of Vantive Corp.s CRM capabilities combined with PeopleSofts Internet architecture. PeopleSoft purchased Vantive last year.
The PeopleSoft CRM offering also includes embedded analytics and a portal interface that gives users anywhere, anytime access to their CRM apps.
Ed Collen, director of infrastructure at SER Solutions Inc., a knowledge management software company in Herndon, Va., said the Web architecture of PeopleSoft 8 CRM is a feature thats becoming increasingly important to his company—particularly since its a subsidiary of a larger German company that is looking to globalize its business.
"The whole no code [on the client concept] gives us a lot of flexibility for not only [current CRM plans] but for any international follow-the-sun plan we decide to embark on," Collen said.
A Vantive customer in a primarily JD Edwards & Co. shop, Collen attended PeopleSofts conference trolling for new solutions for an upgrade to the enterprise financial management software that the company is looking to make during the next year. While hes also scoping out Oracle Corp., SAP AG and JD Edwards for new solutions, Collen is leaning toward PeopleSoft—with the express goal of being able to have CRM and financials under one umbrella.
"Its been very cumbersome to work under two systems," said Collen, who added that he sees the biggest problem as being the transfer of information from one set of applications to another. "Managing that process as information goes through billing [into CRM] will be more unified, and that will weight fairly heavy for us."
PeopleSoft 8 CRM puts the Pleasanton, Calif., company months ahead of CRM software leader Siebel Systems Inc., which is expected to unveil Siebel 2001, a Web-enabled version of its software, late this summer.
"Ultimately, the big differentiation we have with Siebel right now is that we can offer a complete solution," said Jim Littlefield, director of marketing for PeopleSoft Internet Architecture. "So Siebel is focused on just the CRM piece, whereas we have the other components. So we can give a much deeper integration into the CRM area, across our product lines, whereas Siebel still has to do a lot of customization work to try and get to the same point." Siebel officials in San Mateo, Calif., said there are no changes to its release schedule.