PeopleSoft: Power to the People?

It’s no surprise when large enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors expand into niche markets, and even less of one when claims of functionality seem to predate the reality. PeopleSoft, though, may be a little more out front than most, with its ideas regarding the “real-time” analytic functions of PeopleSoft 8.

PDF DownloadThe company has made applications “for the Real-Time Enterprise” a pillar of its marketing over the last year, but analysts are able to point to very few mission-critical deployments. At reinsurance specialist Hartford Steam Boiler, for example, there’s been “no real interest from the user base on real-time data analytics,” says Senior Architect Ed Gillis.

For those waffling about upgrading from PeopleSoft 7 to 8—considered necessary for analytics—Bonnie Clinton, national manager of financial systems and strategy for Toyota Motor Sales, says PS8 is “not significantly different.” In Toyota’s case, it’s “more a look-and-feel from the end-user’s perspective. There’s a little more fluidity between the modules.” And while Toyota, she says, is “as close to real-time as many—we have certain transactions that post real-time—other activities are updated in night batches.” But that, she adds, is not a limitation of the software—”It’s a function of efficiency from the system side.”

One rare standout, Corning’s specialty-materials division, has used PS8 to enact a real-time benefit, says Director of Supply Chain Technology Rick Beers. “It passes real-time info into the ERP for record-keeping: inventory changes, consumption, procurement for resupply, etc. We’ve managed to enable real-time integration by getting everybody in the business behind it.” Similarly, WellPoint Staff Vice President Chuck Moore has leveraged PS8 to communicate quickly with employees on benefits, raises and other such matters.

Prepress specialist AGT’s approach—utilizing outsourcer Surebridge to host its upgrade to PS8—has changed AGT’s view of PeopleSoft overall. “[PeopleSoft’s] culture and pricing structure—like all ERPs—is not well-suited to our needs and desires,” says AGT Senior Vice President Jay Topper. Now, he says, “We don’t feel like a PeopleSoft customer at all. Surebridge is our real partner.” Cutting your annual costs in half can have that effect.

Company Info

4460 Hacienda Drive
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 694-3000


Craig Conway
President, CEO
Joined as president in May 1999, and was bumped up to the CEO spot after just a few months. Served a stint as president/CEO for interactive broadcast-network firm OneTouch Systems. Also spent eight years at Oracle.

David Duffield
Chairman, Co-Founder
Was CEO until 1999. Prior to founding PeopleSoft in 1987, he was a founder of Integral, a human-resource and financial-applications software vendor.

Nanci Caldwell
Executive VP, Chief Marketing Officer
Was at Hewlett-Packard for nearly two decades before joining PeopleSoft in 2001.

Guy Dubois
Executive VP, International
Executive VP at Vantive until 1999; also spent six years as a VP at Sybase.

In addition to the ERP vendor’s eponymous suite (currently at version 8), the company offers modules such as AppConnect Suite and Enterprise Performance Management marketed “for the Real-Time Enterprise.”

Reference Checks

Executives listed here are all customers of PeopleSoft. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Rick Beers
Director, Supply Chain Technology
(607) 974-8930
Project: The glass giant’s specialty-materials division is using PS8 to constantly review business processes in real time.

Hartford Steam Boiler
Ed Gillis
Senior Architect
(860) 722-5438
Project: Longtime PeopleSoft user for core financial capabilities, the insurance firm sees no present need for any analytics products.

Toyota Motor Sales
Bonnie Clinton
National Manager, Financial Systems & Strategy
(310) 468-4628
Project: Recently upgraded to PS8 for all its financial and HR applications.

WellPoint Health Networks
Chuck Moore
Staff VP, HR Information Systems & Administration
(805) 557-5619
Project: On PeopleSoft since 1998, health-insurance firm upgraded to 8.3 in August. With the self-service module, 17,000 employees in 90 locations are able to maintain their own information in real time.

Applied Graphics Technologies
Jay Topper
Senior VP, IT
(312) 260-6144
Project: Prepress firm moved its PS7 deployment—including more than 100 custom features—onto servers belonging to hosting service Surebridge. That saves more than $1.5 million per year. Now upgrading to PS8.

Young America
Mary Lynne Perushek
(952) 294-6048
Project: Now running PS8 for HR and financial analytics, the fulfillment-services provider has been on PS since 2001. Added modules for e-recruiting, e-training and portals. Upgrades are planned over the next few months.