PeopleSoft Upgrades CRM

Simplifies user interface to boost productivity; releases versions for high-tech, energy, insurance industries

Pleasanton, CA  December 9, 2002  Enterprise software supplier PeopleSoft today unveiled the latest version of its customer relationship management (CRM) solution, offering a redesigned user interface and other upgrades intended to boost end user productivity and encourage adoption.

The software company also announced verticalized editions of the CRM solution, targeting companies in the energy, insurance and high-tech sectors with industry-specific solutions offering extensible, pre-integrated business processes tailored to those companies' specific needs.

CRM 8.8's user interface has been redesigned to make it easier to use, with the goal of driving greater adoption across an enterprise, according to the software provider. PeopleSoft said it simplified the user interface to present information in context to improve service delivery and staff productivity, and that it reduced the number of clicks around key business processes to improve staff efficiency. For example, it now takes only three clicks to add a customer or create an order.

PeopleSoft's drive toward simplicity matches the current industry trend, according to Steven Bonadio, senior program director for technology consultancy META Group. "As the CRM space matures, enterprises are desperately seeking to reduce overall complexity," Bonadio said. "It is therefore essential that organizations embrace CRM solutions that integrate rapidly into the enterprise, are readily usable and intuitive, and provide robust closed-loop analytical capabilities that can improve business processes to support the customer life cycle."

Improved analytics capabilities in 8.8 can help companies deploy "smart" business processes, PeopleSoft asserted, for example, by helping organizations better match products and services to the right customers and prospects.

Major new features in the PeopleSoft Marketing component of the CRM solution include personalized dialogs, improved management of multi-channel and multi-wave campaigns, and improved customer profile management for better audience segmentation.

Features new to the PeopleSoft Sales component include Product Advisor and Enterprise Pricer modules with guided-selling capabilities, as well as flexible forecasting and territory management enhancements.

Improvements in PeopleSoft Service include improved agent navigation, Quick Code field pre-population and new browser-based push capabilities that drive events to users in real time without requiring code on the client.

A new HR HelpDesk solution enables agents and specialists to access transactions in their human resources management systems, allowing them to log and resolve cases for the workforce.

Graphical configuration tools enable business users to change business processes and logic, while PeopleSoft has added 20 new pre-built integration points to its list of enterprise integration points in the CRM solution, as well as more than 30 additional analytics capabilities, such as Context Manager, Smart Views, Real-Time Dashboards, What-if Analysis and Employee Performance Measurement.

The three new verticalized versions of the CRM solution for high technology, insurance and energy  join PeopleSoft's existing industry-specific solution for financial services, communications and government.

The energy version  targeting energy producers, transmission companies, retailers and distributors  includes such industry-specific functionality as premise management, account billing, trouble management, order management and service management. Pre-built integrations simplify the start/stop/transfer service process and allow companies to leverage their existing customer information systems and other legacy applications.

The insurance solution addresses the needs of life, health, property and casualty insurers, and it provides a unified view of customers at all access points  captive agents, independent brokers/agents, call centers and the Web  allowing for targeted product offerings, improved customer satisfaction and lower customer churn, PeopleSoft asserted.

CRM for High Technology addresses the specific needs of high technology companies, providing functionality and pre-built integration to a variety of systems specific to the needs of manufacturers and distributors of hardware, software and other technology products.

Version 8.8 and the new industry versions are set to ship on December 26.

In other PeopleSoft news relating to the CRM 8.8 launch:

" The software company announced that its alliance partners BearingPoint, Deloitte Consulting, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and IBM Global Services had signed on to support PeopleSoft CRM 8.8, and that enterprise platform vendors HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Sybase announced their support of CRM 8.8.

" PeopleSoft CRM technology partners AdviceAmerica, Angoss, Aspect Communications, Authoria, Avaya, Blue Pumpkin, Cisco, Datria, ePeople, ESRI, Firstlogic, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, MarketSoft, Micromuse, Motive, QAS and Sierra Atlantic also announced their support for 8.8.

" And finally enterprise application integration (EAI) suppliers Actional, BEA Systems, Jacada, IBM, Tibco Software, Vitria and webMethods also reported they would support of PeopleSoft's new CRM solution.