PeopleSoft: A Focus on Simplicity

By John McCormick Print this article Print

Dossier: PeopleSoft was first with a Web-based CRM package. Did it sacrifice some features along the way?

In becoming the first major vendor to introduce a customer relationship management product specifically for the Web, PeopleSoft was ahead of the pack. But technology managers who have bought or evaluated the now nine-month-old package say PeopleSoft sacrificed some features and functionality in its rush to market.

PDF Download "It's missing stuff," says Ron Coble, information technology director at Polycom. The video and voice company is using PeopleSoft's marketing module and plans to implement the sales force automation tool in the near future. Coble says PeopleSoft's product relies too much on third-party services for services such as bulk e-mailing. And, while satisfied with PeopleSoft's sales force automation tool, he says it doesn't have the links to sales-support materials that other packages do.

PeopleSoft8 CRM, the formal name of the Internet package, was introduced in June 2001. Built on technology PeopleSoft inherited when it bought Vantive in 2000, the package features modules for field sales management, marketing, call center, and call routing and tracking support. Since no code needs to be installed on a client—a user just needs a browser to access the system—the savings from faster deployment can be considerable.

For customers like Mark Stacey, a technical support manager at Plant Equipment, which is in the process of migrating parts of its CRM operation to the Web, the Internet underpinning of the product was sufficient reason to go with PeopleSoft8 CRM.

"Was it completely done when it came out? No," acknowledges Stacey, whose company makes advanced phone-system products. "Did we expect [some level of incompleteness] because it was the initial release of the Web version? Yes; we understood that."

Even if some modules need bulking up, the underlying product is considered strong. That's evident in PeopleSoft's snaring of new brand-name customers, such as Gillette, the Internal Revenue Service and Pepsi America.

In addition to its very strategic acquisition of Vantive two years ago, the company has also purchased Annuncio Software, an online campaign specialist, which should enhance the marketing functionality of PeopleSoft's core CRM suite.

But PeopleSoft isn't just adding functionality to its core product. Taking a page from Siebel's playbook, PeopleSoft also is pushing out industry-specific versions of PeopleSoft8 CRM. The first such product, for financial firms, was launched in December.

PeopleSoft / 4460 Hacienda Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588-8618
(800) 380-7638 / www.peoplesoft.com

Ticker: PSFT
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 8,436 (Dec. 31)

Craig Conway
President and CEO
Conway joined PeopleSoft in 1999 as president and chief operating officer and was named chief executive officer later that year. Earlier in his career, he did an eight-year stint at Oracle.

David A. Duffield
A onetime IBM systems engineer who founded PeopleSoft in the mid-1980s.

Stan Swete
Senior VP and GM of CRM

CRM Product
Components of PeopleSoft8 CRM include CRM HelpDesk, CRM Interaction Management, CRM Marketing, CRM Portal Pack, CRM Sales, CRM Support and CRM Telemarketing.

Reference Checks

Plant Equipment
Mark Stacey
Technical Support Manager
(909) 296-2727
Project: Plant Equipment used PeopleSoft's CRM application to consolidate various customer applications into a single data-access point. The company is now looking to push CRM apps out to the Web.

Sixth Dimension
Ravi Nair
Director of Network Operations
(907) 226-0749
Project: The energy management company is using PeopleSoft's sales and field sales package, among others.

Ron Coble
Director of Information Technology
(408) 526-9000
Project: The company is using PeopleSoft software as the basis for a new marketing initiative, and is implementing PeopleSoft's field service and support modules.

Thomson Financial
Craig Berkson
CIO, Portfolio Solutions
(646) 822-2000
Project: Thomson Financial is using PeopleSoft's marketing, sales, support and portal products to keep better track of its clients and to improve internal sales efficiencies.

Green Mountain Coffee
Rod Ely
Systems Architect
(802) 244-5621
Project: The company automated its call center and built a customer-facing Web app with PeopleSoft products.

Hub Group Distribution Services
Gint Dargis
(630) 271-3600
Project: The logistics planning and distribution service is using PeopleSoft's sales, support and marketing modules and is planning to implement field service this year. The executives listed here are all users of PeopleSoft's technology. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

This article was originally published on 2002-03-18
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