PeopleSoft Announces Industry-Specific CRM

Company seeks to expand the definition of CRM to include non-traditional customers

PeopleSoft Inc. this month announced a new CRM offering for higher education, along with new modules for the government and financial services sectors. Analysts say that PeopleSoft’s move highlights a trend toward increasing specialization in the CRM space, driven largely by customer demand.

PeopleSoft took the wraps off of its PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM for Higher Education, a solution it says is designed to support the student lifecycle phases—recruitment, registration, retention, fundraising, and continuing education—of most public and private colleges and universities.

In addition, PeopleSoft announced Enterprise Revenue Management—a billing-and-revenue management system designed for insurers, financial institutions, and revenue-generating government agencies—along with Enterprise Wealth Management, a wealth management system that lets relationship managers plan, create, manage, and track goals for affluent investors.

With its new industry-specific offerings, PeopleSoft is largely following in the footsteps of CRM giants SAP AG and Siebel Systems Inc., says Ian Jacobs, an analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc. Because customers are increasingly demanding faster CRM implementations and lower customization and integration costs, CRM vendors have responded with industry-specific CRM functionality, Jacobs says.

While many CRM vendors have tackled the low-hanging fruit (industrial manufacturing, travel and hospitality and financial services CRM functionality, for example), others—such as SAP and Siebel—have introduced CRM modules that address more esoteric industry requirements. “[T]here are also specific markets where only one or two vendors have decided to expend the resources needed to create a brand new package: SAP in essentially every iteration of manufacturing imaginable or Siebel in social services, for example,” he points out, noting that Siebel already markets a wealth management solution that competes with PeopleSoft’s new offerings.

PeopleSoft’s new CRM for Higher Education offering takes it into completely new territory, however. The company has traditionally been a strong player in K-12 education, but is one of the first vendors to introduce a CRM product specifically tailored for the higher education market. “[PeopleSoft] has versions of its applications for paper and packaging, staffing, K-12 education, real estate, and homebuilders. Given that strategy, the latest trio of vertical entrants should come as no surprise, but rather should be seen as PeopleSoft delivering on a long-held strategy,” Jacobs points out.

At the same time, PeopleSoft is expanding the definition of CRM beyond the relationships between products and vendors. “PeopleSoft’s new offerings will only further the move toward expanding the central concept of what CRM is and what types of customers would benefit from the technology,” he writes. “For example, instead of just traditional product vendors and their customers, PeopleSoft has begun applying CRM to revenue collecting governmental agencies and their constituents.”

Nevertheless, Jacobs concludes, PeopleSoft is still ignoring other potential lucrative industry-specific verticals. “[W]hile PeopleSoft has been developing technology for some niche verticals, it has virtually ignored fertile markets such as aerospace, industrial manufacturing, travel, and hospitality,” he notes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.