William Band By William Band

Since the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle in 2004, the PeopleSoft CRM solution seemed to go underground. Relatively little has been heard about the product since that time. However, Oracle has been continuing to invest. PeopleSoft CRM 9.0, a major step forward, was released in August 2006, and the company will soon announce PeopleSoft CRM 9.1.

My take on Oracle's PeopleSoft CRM in the past has been that the product line has a significant base of loyal customers who value the usability and benefits of integration to PeopleSoft's HR and ERP suites. It offered a broad range of functionality across all the major components of CRM, with particular strengths in sales, customer service, and analytics. It had less robust, but sound, capability for marketing, field service, eCommerce, and customer data management.

Although, the solution does not offer a SaaS deployment option, it provided unique support for specific industries such as the public sector, particularly education. It also provided strong support for the financial services, utilities and telecommunications sectors. All-in-all, PeopleSoft CRM was well-suited for existing PeopleSoft customers who need a broad-based CRM platform to build on.

The release of 9.1 demonstrates Oracle’s commitment to deliver an up-to-date solution for its steadfast PeopleSoft customer base. And, it will to capitalize on the industry sectors for which the solution is particularly well-tuned. The most notable improvements include features to improve user effectiveness such as a “Web 2.0” user experience, new collaboration tools, and reduced clicks and page transfers. The product has enhanced functionality in the marketing and customer service areas. And, it offers added additional capabilities that deepen already strong support for the Higher Education and Telecommunications sectors.

Mindful, of the growing popularly of SaaS CRM solution, the PeopleSoft 9.1 release also targets reducing the cost-of-ownership. For example, it features greater ease of application configuration than past releases. And, it has been tuned to improve system performance, and offers greater interoperability with expanded web services.

In an interesting twist for a CRM product, Oracle is taking advantage of its strong presence in the HR community and will offer “CRM-like” capabilities for this audience. PeopleSoft CRM delivers two products targeted at the Human Resources community: HelpDesk for Human Resources for workforce service delivery and the new Workforce Communications. HelpDesk for Human Resources was introduced in 2004 with integration to PeopleSoft HR. Workforce Communications was introduced earlier this year. And in 9.1, both of these products will provide delivered integration to eBusiness Suite HR release 12.1.

Oracle is investing in the right things that customers care about: a “Web 2.0” user experience, collaboration tools, marketing and service functionality improvements, and making upgrades easier. I am sure the PeopleSoft fan club will be glad they now have a fully up-to-date CRM solution available to them.