PeopleSoft connecting with disconnected PCs

Looking to broaden access to CRM (customer relationship management) applications to those outside the corporate office, PeopleSoft Inc. on Aug. 27 plans to formally unveil mobile extensions to its Sales and Field Service applications to enable disconnected access.

Through these extensions, sales and field service personnel will be able to access these applications in a disconnected fashion on mobile PCs, said Stan Swete, senior vice president and general manager of CRM applications at PeopleSoft, in Pleasanton, California. The technology enables users to work in a standalone fashion without network connectivity, and to then resynchronize with their network via standard Internet connections, either wired or wireless.

Through the new functionality, a sales person could access and update contact and sales lead information, while field service personnel could get information about service calls in terms of scheduling and parts requirements and availability, Swete said.

"The population of users accessing systems is increasingly mobile," Swete said.

PeopleSoft's mobile device footprint, Swete said, will be hundreds of times smaller than the footprint of traditional client-server applications.

"We're going to extend the technology so our applications can run on mobile devices where you can interact with our applications in a disconnected fashion," Swete said. "The example would be where you're on a plane or on a beach."

As part of PeopleSoft's effort, the company will partner with IBM, which will provide its DB2 Everyplace database product for handling storage on the mobile systems.

The software products, which will bear their own formal names, are to due to ship to early-access customers in the fourth quarter of this year, with general availability planned for early 2002. The degree of support planned for other devices besides PCs is still to be determined.

PeopleSoft next week also plans to detail wireless workflow application support for RIM interactive pagers, enabling users of these pagers to receive workflow notifications.

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