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PeopleSoft pack soothes 'pain points'

PeopleSoft's new CRM productivity pack zeroes in on integration, synchronization and the new federal do-not-call list.

PeopleSoft on Monday announced seven new products and functional enhancements in its CRM 8.8 Productivity Pack, including a feature to comply with the impending regulations imposed by the federal do-not-call list.

Overall, the enhancements from the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company focus on three major areas: third-party application integration, new features for increased productivity, and advanced synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes.

A new tracking feature makes it easier to comply with the new federal do-not-call list, executives said. So far, more than 30 million phone numbers are on the national registry that allows consumers to opt out of telemarketing calls.

The tracking system lets call center agents quickly tag customers' preferred contact channels -- including those they opt out of -- in order to comply with new federal regulations.

"The key piece of functionality that I see to drive this is the 'do-not-call' feature," said Laura Prelsan, research director with AMR Research in Boston. "Many companies have worked around this lack of functionality through notes and comments -- not very effective methods. Customers with significant outbound call volume will need to look seriously at that."

PeopleSoft is also making available six process connectors between Oracle and SAP back-office applications, three for each, that tie into its order management, service request materials authorization (RMA) and field fulfillment modules.

"This is software targeted specifically at key pain points we hear day in and day out from our customers," said Andrew Leigh, PeopleSoft senior product marketing manger. "We're expanding our application connections to support large integration strategies. But what we're trying to do with these [connectors] is target the other half of customers that have a need to tie their front offices with Oracle and SAP."

Leigh said additional integration with supply chain management and human capital management will be rolled out in the coming quarters.

The pre-built processes are going to require customization down the line, however.

"The real issue is the support roadmap going forward, which has yet to be fully mapped out," said Preslan. "Each of the large CRM vendors is struggling with ongoing support for their integration strategies, sinceas the target solution for integration continues to change and customizations are specific to each implementation."

Among the other enhancements in the productivity pack are a feature that allows call center agents to create a new customer record without opening an e-mail query and bulk ordering capabilities for businesses.

Also in the release, PeopleSoft's Infosync server will provide automatic synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, eliminating manual steps of loading software, Leigh said.


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