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PeopleSoft spruces up midmarket CRM app

PeopleSoft has made its first update to the EnterpriseOne software line since the J.D. Edwards acquisition. Enhancements touch on global support and usability issues.

PeopleSoft Inc. today made available its first midmarket CRM software update since its acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co. this summer.

PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne 8.9 is the latest update to what was formerly J.D. Edwards 5.0. It's designed for manufacturing and asset-intensive companies and is now built on the same code base that runs through all EnterpriseOne applications, including ERP.

The main push in 8.9 is on the globalization front. It now supports tier-two languages, including Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. Other improvements include support for multiple currencies in the service center, letting agents handle calls from overseas, and read-only Unicode.

Organizations will also notice data-entry enhancements, such as the ability to add pure data into any field and get color-coded text indicating inaccurate or vague information. Users also get new filtering capabilities for search fields, a common user interface for connected and offline versions of Mobile Sales, and a streamlined sync process.

Joel Reed, senior director of product marketing for EnterpriseOne, said that many of the additions were in the works prior to the PeopleSoft acquisition. The interface changes are part of an overall plan to make the software more closely resemble PeopleSoft applications, he said.

At its annual user show this fall, PeopleSoft outlined two distinct product lines resulting from the J.D. Edwards deal: PeopleSoft Enterprise for large organizations and PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne for the midmarket.

Today's upgrade paves the way for a major midmarket CRM release due out in the second half of 2004. Code-named Mount Evans, it will add service management capabilities, case management, branch scripting, a knowledge database and a new workflow engine. Users will also see a user interface that mirrors PeopleSoft's.

On the Enterprise side, PeopleSoft expects that late next year it will add customer portfolio management capabilities, user enhancements, and vertical-specific offerings for asset management and wealth management.

Karen Smith, a research director at the Aberdeen Group in Boston, said it will be essential for PeopleSoft to ultimately "create a reasonable migration path" between its Enterprise and EnterpriseOne offerings. She said that, in the long term, it "doesn't make sense for them to support two product bases," even if they're tailored to different crowds.

Smith, however, applauded PeopleSoft for having the midmarket UI match its enterprise software environment.

EnterpriseOne picked up 50 new customers in the third quarter, bringing its total to 200, executives said.


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