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New PeopleSoft release spotlights segmentation

Version 8.9 is just about ready to roll out. It promises to make it easier to segment customers and build marketing plans around those designations.

PeopleSoft Inc. today detailed version 8.9 of its CRM application, which features new customer segmentation capabilities embedded in sales and customer service processes.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company introduced the new release in its Enterprise product line at its Leadership Summit in Las Vegas. The latest version makes usability improvements like reduced click streams, which are part of what PeopleSoft has dubbed its Total Ownership Experience initiative.

PeopleSoft goes global with Big Blue

At its Leadership Summit, PeopleSoft also announced a partnership to use IBM's reseller channel to sell software, hardware and services from both companies.

The partnership will broaden the global reach of PeopleSoft's small and medium-sized business products, said David Seibert, general manager of PeopleSoft World. PeopleSoft and IBM recently announced they were collaborating on PeopleSoft World Express aimed at the SMB market delivered on the iSeries platform.

The two companies will contribute marketing, advertising and sales incentive funds to build out the channel.

Seibert also announced PeopleSoft will be working with IBM to bring Linux support and applications to the SMB market.

The highlights, however, are new Customer Portfolio Management tools that allow users to segment their customers, build plans around those segments and monitor execution.

"You want to treat you customers like a portfolio of assets," said George Ahn, PeopleSoft's group vice president and general manager of CRM. "First understand them and differentiate them and then -- for each differentiation -- plan your strategy, act, monitor and react."

For example, in a few clicks a computer hardware seller can segment customers who are buying high-end products. An executive can then push out a strategy to retail stores to offer high-end photographic printer upgrades to people who have purchased the lower-end version. Those processes are now integrated, said Steve Roop, PeopleSoft's vice president of CRM product marketing.

PeopleSoft's new SmartView feature gives a user, like the vice president of sales, visibility into customer segments to see which groups are less profitable and where growth potential lies. The new Strategic Account Planning product then allows executives to design and execute strategies for up-sell or cross-sell offers. The technology automatically recommends promotions or sales opportunities to customer service agents or salespeople as they interact with customers.

Hundreds of trigger points are embedded into business processes for marketing and service staff, so users don't need to do the initial legwork, only define who an at-risk client might be, Roop said.

Version 8.9 also includes new industry-specific tools for wealth management, student life cycle management and revenue management. PeopleSoft now supports 10 verticals with 22 subsegments, Ahn said.

PeopleSoft is also releasing 15 new products within its CRM application, including six partner relationship management and partner data security tools to help drive revenue through the channel.

"This can best be characterized as not quite a point release and not quite a major release," said Steve Bonadio, senior program director with Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group. "What [PeopleSoft] continues to do is enhance core CRM apps and layers of value."

For more information

Learn more about PeopleSoft's new vice president of CRM

Read how PeopleSoft enhanced its World product line

The Customer Portfolio Management tools essentially serve as real-time decision-making engine baked into business processes, Bonadio said. He called that an emerging trend.

"More than anything else, the place where PeopleSoft has gotten to is a highly competitive CRM product within the broader marketplace," Bonadio said. "Are they as rich as Siebel in all areas? No, but the efforts to tie analytics in are starting to distance [PeopleSoft] from the competition."

The new applications will ship at the end of the quarter.

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