PeopleSoft bolsters human resources, CRM offerings

Building on its roots in human resources software, PeopleSoft this week is introducing products aimed to help customers more efficiently train, cultivate and compensate their workforce.

The Pleasanton, Calif. company will debut its Human Capital Management (HCM) suite, plus additions to its customer relationship management (CRM) lineup, at its Leadership Summit 2002 in Las Vegas. PeopleSoft expects to draw 3,000 attendees to the show.

The HCM suite features three new modules, due to be delivered in the second half of this year and early next year. Enterprise Learning is for the management of training resources, including on-site, third-party and distance-learning sources. With the software, employees can see available training opportunities, and managers can track which employees need training and what training has been completed. Future versions will expand training management features to business partners, says Jenni Lehman, vice president of product strategy for PeopleSoft's HCM division.

Performance Management lets supervisors set employee objectives and then track those objectives. Employees, too, can use the application to see if they're meeting managers' expectations.

With the Enterprise Incentive Management module, companies can automate complex compensation plans. Managers can lay out strategies to reward employees, and employees can calculate anticipated commissions, for example. The first release is focused on sales incentive compensation, Lehman says.

Clint Mahlman, vice president of human resources and distribution for London Drugs, is anxious to get his hands on the new applications. In particular, the Canadian drugstore chain is looking for more collaborative performance management tools so managers and employees can easily share and track performance expectations, making sure those expectations are aligned with corporate goals, Mahlman says. "Not too many companies can offer that alignment piece, and I think PeopleSoft is heading in that direction," he says.

Mahlman says people are London Drugs' greatest asset, and as such, he wants to be able to manage that pool of talent like any other corporate asset. The drugstore chain, which has 55 drugstores across Alberta and British Columbia, has been a PeopleSoft user since 2000 and upgraded this year to the Internet-based versions of PeopleSoft's financials, payroll and human resources software. "Especially in retail, with many units spread over a geographic area, the Internet architecture makes a lot of sense," Mahlman says.

Also bundled in the new HCM suite are PeopleSoft's existing human resources products, which include benefits administration, payroll, and time and labor applications; tools for self-service access; and built-in analytic features.

In CRM, PeopleSoft will announce software for companies in four vertical industries: government, insurance, high tech and energy. CRM for Government is due in the third quarter. The other three vertical applications will follow sometime after that, PeopleSoft CTO Rick Bergquist says.

The new CRM vertical applications are in addition to two announced earlier this year: CRM for Financial Services and CRM for Communications.

Vertically-focused CRM applications are a strength of CRM market leader Siebel Systems Inc. Since revamping its software to a Web-based architecture, Siebel has readied specialized applications for 20 industries, including recent releases for wireless communications, media, oil and gas, medical products, chemicals, retail, and travel and hospitality.

PeopleSoft's software runs on Windows NT/2000, Linux and assorted flavors of Unix. The company would not disclose pricing.

Also at the summit, PeopleSoft will showcase Version 8.4 of its software family, which began shipping late last month and includes several new modules.

CRM 8.4 adds Mobile Sales and Mobile FieldService modules, which provide for disconnected access so users on the road can get to customer information; Quality Management, which handles the process of tracking product defects and enhancement requests; and Collaborative Selling, a module for automating the sales process from product configuration to pricing, quoting and order capture. The Collaborative Selling module includes self-service tools so customers and partners can track orders and services data.

PeopleSoft added two modules to its supplier relationship management suite. Trading Partner Management covers tools for recruiting and registering business partners, collaborating with partners, and tracking partners' performance. The Strategic Sourcing module includes tools for streamlining the buying of goods and services. Companies can automate requests for quotes and proposal, conduct auctions in real time, and award contracts and purchase orders, for example.

In its Enterprise Portal suite, the highlight of Version 8.4 is Context Manager. This feature links content to specific processes so that as users accomplish certain tasks, the software presents relevant content. For example, if someone books a flight through a PeopleSoft travel and expense application, the portal could push content about related travel advisories or weather conditions.

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