PeopleSoft Launches New Modules on Path Toward Major Upgrade

Enterprise application vendor PeopleSoft has announced three new CRM modules that address three new vertical markets. Those products will join PeopleSoft’s six other industry-specific offerings, which the company has made available since late 2001.

The three new products are: PeopleSoft Wealth Management; PeopleSoft Revenue Management Solution; and PeopleSoft CRM for Higher Education. The first two offerings will ship in the second quarter of 2004, while the Higher Education solutions will be available by the third quarter.

PeopleSoft said the new releases are precursors to its upcoming CRM release, version 8.9, which will launch in the second quarter of this year. The company noted that version 8.9 will be the most significant launch in its CRM history, adding 15 new modules, more functionality and continued development of vertical product offerings.

Many Sizes

Steve Roop, vice president for CRM product marketing at PeopleSoft, told CRM Buyer that PeopleSoft is committed to creating new solutions for underserved markets because its customers have made it clear that one size does not fit all.

“We better know these industries inside and out [if we are to] deliver solutions that fit them right out of the box,” Roop said. “As we increase our … penetration of more vertical markets, we increase the success for our customers [in terms of] implementations.”

Steve Bonadio, senior program director for CRM at Meta Group, told CRM Buyer that PeopleSoft is making pretty good progress in verticalizing its CRM applications — something he believes all CRM vendors must do to stay competitive.

“By tying these industry-specific functions seamlessly to the horizontal application, PeopleSoft is then able to increase the value proposition of its total solution,” Bonadio said.

‘Aha’ Moment

PeopleSoft’s Wealth Management (WM) Solution has four components, Roop said. It targets retail banking and brokerage houses, offering strategic account planning, sales and referral management, and a client management module.

According to Roop, financial advisors traditionally have focused their premium services on what he termed “high net-worth individuals,” or those worth more than US$5 million. However, a new “mass affluent” category — those worth between $100,000 and $1 million — is set to balloon in size from about 80 million Americans this year to 130 million in 2005.

“This category of investors want the same high level of customer service and advice traditionally given to wealthier individuals,” Roop said. “[WM] aggregates customer information and helps financial advisors identify who these customers are, identify them and then retain them.”

Denis Pombriant, CRM industry analyst and managing principal of Beagle Research Group, told CRM Buyer that he did not see this particular solution coming.

“It’s one of those ‘aha’ moments that makes perfect sense once it is in front of you,” Pombriant said. “The baby boom is the richest generation in American history, and it’s aging. Managing this wealth is going to occupy a lot of the attention of financial managers now and in the foreseeable future.”

Partnership Trend

Meanwhile, to develop its new higher education (HE) and revenue management (RM) offerings, PeopleSoft partnered with other technology companies. SPL WorldGroup, PeopleSoft’s RM partner, specializes in billing and customer-care solutions, while CIBER, PeopleSoft’s HE partner, is known as a systems integrator for public- and private-sector organizations.

Pombriant noted that partnerships in the CRM space have become increasingly prevalent. The trend makes sense because no software developer has complete mastery of every domain, he said.

“Partnering also confers certain legitimacy to the [primary] vendor, which is necessary in such a competitive market,” he added. “Customers want to believe they are buying the best solutions.”

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