At a time when hosted CRM is clearly hot, PeopleSoft Inc. is fine-tuning its services.
The Pleasanton, Calif., company today announced three improvements to the hosted packages it offers through PeopleSoft Global Services. As of today, PeopleSoft will provide improved service-level agreements on all its applications; hosted versions of its PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne and PeopleSoft World applications (the midmarket and iSeries lines formed after the J.D. Edwards & Co. acquisition); and remote hosting.
Providing a hosted option is a requirement in today's marketplace, according to Amy Mizoras Konary, program manger for software delivery research at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.
"The enhancements they've made are extremely necessary to sell into the mainstream companies [that are] looking to host today," Mizoras Konary said. "The bar has really been raised in terms of what you need to offer."
The improved application availability is broken down into three levels of support, said Bill Henry, vice president of marketing and strategy for PeopleSoft Global Services. The "value" level and "enhanced" level provide 99.5% availability, and the "ultimate" level provides 99.9% uptime.
"What we've done is focused hard on how we provide service and increase efficiency," Henry said. "We're able to offer these new services at about 10% to 15% below previous costs."
The first two levels of support are aimed at midmarket businesses looking to take advantage of PeopleSoft infrastructure for a lower cost, and the "ultimate" service level will be more attractive to a Fortune 500 company that wants 24/7 support, he said.
The addition of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne and PeopleSoft World marks the first time the former J.D. Edwards technology has been available through a hosted offering. The applications, however, weren't rewritten for the ASP model.
The remote hosting option allows companies that have security concerns or have recently purchased hardware to maintain their data centers on premise while PeopleSoft manages the application, Henry said.
While only 2% of its present customer base utilizes hosting from Global Services, PeopleSoft expects growth of 25% a year, Henry said.
Henry denied that today's announcement is related to competitor Siebel Systems Inc.'s introduction last month of its own hosted offering and its purchase of hosted provider UpShot Corp. Instead, he emphasized the benefits of hosting CRM alongside other PeopleSoft applications, such as human capital management, financials and supply chain. Henry estimated that three quarters of those taking advantage of PeopleSoft hosting services run a combination of its applications.
"If you just have CRM capability [on] an island of itself and not integrated, I don't understand how you can take advantage of end-to-end business processes," he said.
While PeopleSoft may not be reacting to Siebel, Oracle Corp. already offers a remote hosting option, and PeopleSoft is playing catch up, Mizoras Konary said.
She added that hosting may be a small percentage of the total market, but CIOs will give it a closer look as they focus more on complying with laws that mandate data retention.
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