The new modules include customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain solutions and a customisable portal.
Peoplesoft's single-minded Net-based approach is seen by some industry watchers as a bet-the-company strategy to turn around a poor year's sales figures and to stabilise the company after internal turmoil.
Tony Lock, an analyst at Bloor Research, thought the strategy was likely to pay off. "Over time, the users will follow. The advantage of the client/server, Net-based approach is that it lowers the total cost of ownership. All the enterprise software suppliers are doing it, so it is a logical move for Peoplesoft.
"The important thing for potential users is to consider the details of what they want to do with such a platform. The core competencies of all the suppliers is essentially similar, so they would need to consider whether specific functions meet their needs," he said.
The CRM module includes analysis tools to gather and sort online customer and business partner information, support for mobile phone connections to contact management and sales automation tasks, and integration of the software's supply chain and CRM features. Shipping is expected in the second quarter of 2001.
The supply chain analysis tools enable users to publish supply chain plans in collaboration with business partners and to identify potential production bottlenecks. The Peoplesoft 8 Supply Chain Planning module includes graphical production scheduling tools, visualisation of supply and demand across the enterprise, planning tools to enable optimisation of capacity between work centres, user-defined analytical tools for visualising inventory strategy scenarios, and product lifecycle forecasting tools.
Alastair McGill, marketing director for Peoplesoft, said, "A lot of people haven't invested in supply chain software because it has been expensive. Peoplesoft 8's strength is that it is browser-based so it is easy to use, with low-cost training and deployment costs."
The addition of the Customer Portal interface will enable firms' customers to access a Peoplesoft 8-based system, while suppliers will use the Supplier Portal, which could simplify customer management and reduce costs. The Customer Portal will ship in December. Expected next year is Peoplesoft Marketpay, a financial settlement system to automate online payment for B2B exchanges.
Peoplesoft 8 now contains more than 160 ERP, CRM, human resources, sales force and financial automation modules.
Pricing will be based on different metrics for different sectors. For example, human resources modules will be based on the number of employees, and turnover will be the gauge for financials modules.
Also announced last week was Peoplesoft's Supply Chain in a Box, which, the company claims, is the first rapid deployment Internet-based, supply chain application. It includes customer management, e-commerce, order fulfilment, planning and supply chain analysis. Peoplesoft said the software will allow end-to-end operations from the placing of an order to its fulfilment and payment.