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PeopleSoft's Aggressive CRM Rollout
Posted Mar 13, 2002
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Another six months have passed, which means another upgrade to PeopleSoft's CRM suite. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based enterprise software vendor is on a steady diet of rollouts aimed at catching up to sector leader Siebel Systems.

The latest version, called PeopleSoft CRM, release 8.4, contains upgrades including mobile sales application, support, analysis, and automated selling. The latest upgrades are part of the second wave of incremental enhancements, following the initial June rollout and the introduction of PeopleSoft8 CRM for financial services in the fourth quarter of last year.

By minimizing network traffic, CRM Mobile Sales and PeopleSoft CRM Mobile FieldService enable mobile professionals to quickly have disconnected access to customer information via wireless devices. 'We spent about six months building out new technology that supports a leaner mobile architecture," says says Stan Swete, general manager of CRM at PeopleSoft. "The difference is, our 'footprint' on the mobile device is hundreds of times smaller than existing solutions. The synchronization is a lot more straightforward. Instead of having a copy of the corporate database and all of the relationships you have, we store data that is just focused around the transactions."

In addition to the mobile functions, the company is also including three more additions: PeopleSoft CRM Quality Management, which enables companies to track product defects and enhancement requests online; PeopleSoft CRM for Communications, which manages the entire customer lifecycle, letting communications service providers target, attract, acquire, and retain loyal customers; and PeopleSoft Collaborative Selling, an automated interactive selling solution that enables users to create scalable product and services configurations in real time.

PeopleSoft CRM, release 8.4, will be available March 22. The next CRM release is slated for Q4 this year. While the CRM focus will persist throughout the year, PeopleSoft will also be pushing hard into supply chain management solutions, Swete says.

Such a rapid and continuous rollout is a bit unusual in the enterprise software space, says Erin Kinigan, vice president of CRM at market researcher Giga. "It means PeopleSoft is committed to being a leader but has also realized it has holes that need to be filled," she says. For instance, PeopleSoft CRM 8.4's emphasis on mobile solutions isn't breaking new ground. "Mobile was the original driver behind sales-force automation," says Kinigan. "Siebel has had this for five-plus years."

David Myron and Tom Kaneshige also write for Line56.com

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