Ease of Use Put at Top of PeopleSoft To-Do List

PeopleSoft Inc. is working to make it easier for customers to install and configure its software.

PeopleSoft Inc. is working to make it easier for customers to install and configure its software—even integrate it with third-party applications.

At its Connect user conference in Anaheim, Calif., this week, PeopleSoft will announce four tools for Version 8.8 of its enterprise resource planning software that automate installation, configuration, performance tuning and updates of its namesake software, officials said.

The Pleasanton, Calif., company will also announce five PeopleSoft Process Integration packs that use PeopleSofts AppConnect technology to provide out-of-the-box integration of business processes in its applications and those of SAP AG and Oracle Corp. Specifically, it connects its payroll, program management, field services, sales order management and source-to-settle business processes.

Both the easier installation and the integration offerings are the first fruits of PeopleSofts TOE (Total Ownership Experience) initiative.

"TOE is no longer a promise. Were executing on it now," said PeopleSoft Chief Technology Officer Rick Bergquist. "Were helping companies to become real-time enterprises and helping them drive down costs."

PeopleSoft user Jim Prevo is looking more for the developer to provide enhanced ease of use rather than expanded functionality.

"There was a phase [in the late 90s] where every vendor was pushing features out the door, selling software based on features. Some of that software went out the door prematurely," said Prevo, vice president and CIO of Green Mountain Coffee Roaster Inc., in Waterbury, Vt. "The TOE initiative is an appropriate step back, making sure that applications are functioning as they need to. If they are able to do what they outlined with the TOE intitave, I will be a very happy camper."

In addition to explaining how it is supporting the J.D. Edwards & Co. applications it acquired this summer, PeopleSoft will announce Version 8.8 of FMS (Financial Management System). Among the upgrades 225 new features are modules for compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, in addition to the TOE capabilities. Other features include improved cash management for a single view of a companys global cash position and direct entry of credit card statement information, eliminating manual entry of this data.

FMS 8.8 will get a look and feel common to PeopleSofts Supply Chain Management 8.8. Both applications get integration of PeopleSoft supplier relationship management functionality. These applications will ship next quarter and be targeted at asset-intensive verticals such as manufacturing, utilities, construction, mining, real estate and life sciences.

Finally, PeopleSoft will expand its support contracts, which last four years after a product becomes generally available. Technical support will be offered for its Enterprise and EnterpriseOne applications for up to six years after general availability.

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