Peoplesoft Upgrades Portal

Adds ICM component, web services integration to enterprise portal.

PeopleSoft Inc. announced last week the next generation of its Enterprise Portal software, with two new components, including an Intelligent Context Manager component and Web services integration.

ICM provides the ability to predict a next step in the context of a business process, as well as the ability to push content to specific users, based on information they are cleared to access. ICM also proactively prompts users with relevant information when they initiate transactions in the portal.

Information is then automatically displayed, enabling users to astutely navigate through a given business process, according to officials at PeopleSoft, in Pleasanton, Calif.

The company made the announcement of Enterprise Portal 8.4, which is available now, at its Leadership Summit in Las Vegas.

The upgrade to 8.4 provides integration of Web services, with the ability to take transactions and content from a variety of vendors and systems and bring them into the portal as Web services, according to officials.

In describing how ICM works, officials cite the example of an accounts payable clerk who, using a traditional portal approach, sees that a customer is overdue on a payment. Typically the clerk would take some form of action—either contact the business directly or send the account to the collections department—without knowledge of a sales opportunity with that same company.

Through ICM, the clerk is notified of the sales opportunity at the same time he or she is accessing the account.

Tom Hyatt, vice president of technology at the Maryland Institute College of Art, is using Enterprise Portal Version 8.1 to provide a single interface to staff, students and administrators. Hyatt said he is looking to the 8.4 portal for the ability to push out relational information to users through the ICM component.

"We want to solve some campus communication and personalization issues," said Hyatt, in Baltimore. "And to be able to control the kind of information we got out to different groups."

One thing his group hopes to see in 8.4 is more flexibility in which components receive what information. "We want to provide more [information] in various groups, in a more personalized and specialized way, to make the experience that users have when they come to the portal more specialized to them," said Hyatt.