Despite Oracle's attempts to spoil the fun, PeopleSoft has made several announcements at its Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, most notably what it is calling a major update of its customer resource management (CRM) software.

According to the software vendor, the release of PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM 8.9 isn't a major shift in technology; rather it includes "significant" enhancements over version 8.8 and addresses industry-specific issues. That hasn't prevented it from being called "the most significant CRM release in the company's history" though.

In a keynote, PeopleSoft president and CEO Craig Conway expounded on the company's open integration software strategy which allows users to develop and use applications on a Web-based architecture, and pointed to the inroads its "total ownership experience" plan has made.

After a year, the TOE program has made solid progress, Conway said. CRM 8.9 is designed to allow users to "gain more intelligence from the entire business process" and function in real-time, he said. Ram Gupta, VP for products and technology, said PeopleSoft has five new releases that are TOE-enabled, including Oracle and SAP software "out-of-the-box" integration packs.

In total, CRM 8.9 provides 15 new products and over 700 new features. According to George Ahn, general manager of PeopleSoft CRM, CRM 8.9 represents the "largest development effort in CRM that PeopleSoft has ever done." It includes the addition prescriptive analytics - described as a "avoidance system" - new Customer Portfolio Management and Partner Relationship Management modules, and several new industry-specific solutions.

Specifically, PeopleSoft Customer Portfolio Management allows companies to determine the value of each customer, develop customer segments based on that value, create differentiated plans for each segment, and act on them, the company said.

PeopleSoft claims the suite offers a 38 percent improvement in usability, 30 percent faster performance and 46 percent reduction in clicks needed to complete enterprise tasks.

Demand is supplied
Also announced and slated for a June release are new Demand-Driven Manufacturing products, results of combined technologies from the recently acquired JD Edwards. Andy Aicklen, MD of PeopleSoft Canada, said the modules are ideally suited for Canadian manufacturing and distribution enterprises, particularly those who were using JD Edwards solutions.

Demand scheduling has been something that Canadian companies have been requesting for a while now, Aicklen said. The offering includes Lean Procurement, the Buyer Workspace, radio frequency identification (RFID), Demand Scheduling Execution, configured Order Promising, and Advanced Forecast Modeling.

IBM and Sarbanes-Oxley
In addition, PeopleSoft announced a new small to medium-sized business partnership with IBM and new software designed for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.

The PeopleSoft/IBM partnership mixes IBM's hardware with its software for the SMB market. They will jointly market the products and extend into Linux environments.