PeopleSoft has announced Enterprise Portal 8.8, an update to its portal product integrating enterprise instant messaging from IBM, Yahoo! and Microsoft and has added multiple site-management features.
With integrated instant messaging, PeopleSoft users can offer contacts a direct way to connect. For example, when using PeopleSoft's supply chain management application to request bids for an order of office chairs, potential bidders can get an instant message link in the request for proposal to ask questions.
"Instant messaging will be used in everyone of a company's business processes, supply chain is just one of the obvious fits we have for it right now," PeopleSoft chief technology officer Richard Bergquist said at the CeBIT technology trade show.
PeopleSoft's portal will use instant messaging features such as presence detection, privacy settings and functionality that forwards messages to e-mail inboxes, phones or pagers. Administrators will have the ability to limit the use of instant messaging, including disabling the feature altogether, Bergquist said.
The site management options in Enterprise Portal 8.8 allow departments within a company to customise their portal view without help from IT staffers. After access rights are set by the IT staff, departments can then create portals with a targeted look and feel using simple interfaces.
"Before now, every department had to have their own portal managed by IT administrators. Enterprise Portal 8.8 leads to lower cost of ownership and a higher rate of user satisfaction," Bergquist said.
The third major feature in this version is the Resource Finder. It allows users to find something quickly in a company's PeopleSoft systems. This could range from finding a customer who recently bought a certain product to an employee who specialises in a certain field.
Portal software displays business information pulled from enterprise applications giving users a quick overview of their business performance. PeopleSoft's Enterprise Portal will work with the company's own applications, for example for HCM (human capital management) and CRM (customer relationship management), but will also work with products from other suppliers, PeopleSoft said.
PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal 8.8 will be available as an update for existing customers in the US from 19 March and internationally on 28 May. Instant messaging capabilities from IBM and Yahoo! will be available in the second quarter, while support for Microsoft messaging is scheduled for the fourth quarter.
The messaging products that will be integrated are Yahoo!'s Messenger Enterprise Edition, IBM's Lotus Sametime and Microsoft's Greenwich.