PeopleSoft Will Hoist An Infrastructure Flag

PeopleSoft Inc. is looking to play catch-up to its enterprise software competitors with new offerings designed to provide a well-rounded technology stack for integration.

PeopleSoft Inc. is looking to play catch-up to its enterprise software competitors with new offerings designed to provide a well-rounded technology stack for integration.

At its Connect user conference in New Orleans next week, the Pleasanton, Calif., company will pick up the integration mantle with the message that it, too, is an infrastructure provider. As part of its infrastructure offerings, PeopleSoft will bundle its Enterprise Portal, Application Integration Broker and Enterprise Warehouse software into a single package, according to sources familiar with the companys plans.

PeopleSoft is also expected to add a Business Process Management component to its PeopleSoft 8.8 upgrade by years end. The company is likely to add more capabilities to its knowledge management offerings to round out its infrastructure pitch, but the timeline for that is not known, the sources said.

The bundle should shorten the learning curve for PeopleSoft customers wanting to expand their integration efforts. The new business process management feature will allow enterprises to determine, automate and track manual business processes, which helps streamline their work.

The moves counter rivals such as SAP AG, which this summer introduced its CrossApps technology. That software hones SAPs business process integration offerings by enabling users to aggregate and automate information across applications to fit a business process.

Application integration has become a necessary part of most enterprise IT departments. PeopleSoft customers welcome the increased focus by their enterprise software vendor.

"Having a data warehouse that sits behind [the portal] enables you to get one version of the truth whether youre running financials, [supply chain management] or HR. Thats huge, especially to those companies that run multiple types of apps that PeopleSoft offers," said Paul Wagner, CIO at Galyans Trading Co. Inc., which uses several PeopleSoft products.

"The more integration they provide, the better the return on investment for me," said Wagner, in Plainfield, Ind.

But even as enterprise application developers focus on integration, companies that have specialized in integration are putting on the heat. SeeBeyond Technology Corp., of Monrovia, Calif., is readying major enhancements to its Business Integration Suite that officials said will further automate the integration process from archiving to exceptions.

Version 4.5.3, which will be announced and become available this fall, will see several ease-of-use enhancements, including improved event scheduling, integration monitoring, Java Message Service message order timing, process automation and process handling.

In addition to integration scheduling, Version 4.5.3 will configure integration processes that can look for business conditions and respond to them or transfer information between systems, officials said. Enhanced integration monitoring will support multiple new views of the integrated environment, making it easier to identify and respond to exceptions.

In its next major iteration, Version 5.0 due in the first quarter of next year, SeeBeyond will enable graphical mapping of business process values directly into the integration logic that implements a specific process activity, which then automatically generates the Java code that performs the activitys functions.

To further enhance its integration offerings, PeopleSoft may have to look at making its People Tools development environment more available for use with third-party applications to compete, analysts say. SAP is doing just that by adding Java support, in addition to support for its proprietary ABAP programming language, to its application server.

"[Our] sense is that this is scaring [PeopleSoft]," said Bob Parker, an analyst with AMR Research Inc., in Boston. "That they think they do have to be there, but theyre not looking forward to the trip. If they dont do it, theyll lose account control. Theyll be relegated to second-tier status."

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