PeopleSoft pushes connected enterprise

PeopleSoft is trying to boost sagging revenues by enticing customers with the prospect of an enterprise that can extend business...

PeopleSoft is trying to boost sagging revenues by enticing customers with the prospect of an enterprise that can extend business processes to any customer, supplier or employee at low cost via the Web.

At the PeopleSoft Leadership Summit 2002, the company unveiled a number of human resources and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

PeopleSoft also pitched attendees on the potential for success they could achieve with the next-generation PeopleSoft 8 enterprise resource planning and supply chain management suite.

PeopleSoft also boasted that it has signed up 50 companies for its suite of supply chain management applications - a relatively new area for the company.

In a keynote speech, PeopleSoft chief executive officer and president Craig Conway said the PeopleSoft 8 suite offers a way of sharing data throughout the enterprise in real time and of boosting employee productivity, while the Web architecture cuts maintenance and training costs.

"Digitising goes to the bottom line," Conway said. He also emphasised the need for companies to view software as a means to support a business process and not as an end in itself.

Analysts and users had mixed views on the company's message.

John Moore, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group said, although using software to handle business-process management is a natural progression for the entire industry is complicated and time-consuming.

However, Todd Bridwell, assistant manager of information systems at Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, liked the idea of connected enterprise.

"We're focused on how to get information to the people that need it," he said. "What does finance need to know to make their cost target?"

Even so, the automotive company is taking incremental steps to achieve the integration. "You can't do it all at once," Bridwell added.

Toyota runs PeopleSoft 8 for human resources and is upgrading its financials to that suite, as well. But because it is a manufacturer focused on the parts business, Toyota did not see other CRM applications as a good fit, said Bridwell.

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