PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM Gets Overhaul
Analytics functionality permeates PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM 8.9 release
PeopleSoft Inc. probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think about CRM vendors, but the Pleasonton, Calif.-based HR powerhouse does have a successful CRM practice, trailing—by some estimates—only Siebel Systems Inc., SAP AG, and Oracle Corp. in the large enterprise market segment.
So when PeopleSoft claims that the revamped Enterprise CRM it announced last week is the most significant revision in that product’s history, it's probably worth taking a look.
PeopleSoft officials say that Enterprise CRM 8.9 includes 15 new products and over 700 new feature enhancements. New or enhanced products include Prescriptive Analytics, new customer portfolio management and partner relationship management components, and industry-specific solutions.
But the big news in Enterprise CRM 8.9 is its analytics functionality, which PeopleSoft intends to “permeate every bit” of the suite, according to Ian Jacobs, an analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc. “PeopleSoft has made clear that it takes analytics very seriously,” he writes.
In this respect, says Jacobs, Enterprise CRM 8.9’s new decision engine—PeopleSoft Prescriptive Analytics—is a Very Big Deal. “[T]he engine not only diagnoses issues, it also prescribes actions to remedy those problems,” he explains. “Numerous CRM vendors have attempted to tie predictive analytics to event triggers, particularly in call center environments so that, for example, customer service agents are fed a scripted offer to prevent a cell phone customer at risk from churn from dropping a service. But PeopleSoft has taken this idea and applied it to sales and marketing as well as support. This also shows that PeopleSoft has understood just how central analytics will be to the growth in adoption of CRM going forward.”
At the same time, Jacobs points out, some of the features of Prescriptive Analytics are tied to PeopleSoft’s own data warehouse (Enterprise Warehouse), which could pose problems for organizations that haven’t deployed EW.
Enterprise CRM 8.9 also includes usability enhancements designed to increase the productivity of workers, along with performance improvements.
Elsewhere, PeopleSoft says its new Customer Portfolio Management module lets companies share common customer segments across their marketing, sales, and service departments. Enterprise CRM 8.9’s new Partner Relationship Management module, on the other hand, enables companies to sell through channels, brokers, dealers, agents, and other third parties. It lets organizations plan partner programs, set and track objectives, and—PeopleSoft claims—facilitates the recruitment of new partners. It’s composed of a variety of products, including Partner Platform, Partner Sales, Partner Commerce, Partner Marketing, Partner Service, and Partner Planning.
With these new announcements, says Current Analysis’ Jacobs, “PeopleSoft has expanded its definition of what constitutes CRM” The upshot, he says, is that PeopleSoft has effectively placed itself into competition with additional competitors. “That in turn expands the company’s competitive landscape, bringing in new pure play rivals such as ChannelWave and Comergent,” he writes, adding that PeopleSoft’s new partner offerings are designed to appeal to a different user constituency. “[E]mployees involved in CRM are focused on customers; employees involved in PRM tend to be focused on partners. This shift in mindset dilutes the focus of the product set.”
With the release of its targeted industry solutions, PeopleSoft is building on a trend inaugurated by SAP and Siebel. The company officially announced the new industry solutions in March, and is now delivering them as part of Enterprise CRM 8.9 (see http://info.101com.com/default.asp?id=6187).
The new industry solutions are PeopleSoft Revenue Management, an offering that integrates enterprise-wide customer care information, complex rating, high-volume billing, and collections capabilities; PeopleSoft Student Lifecycle Marketing, a module designed for public and private colleges and universities to support the student lifecycle process (i.e., recruitment, registration, retention, fund-raising, and continuing education); and PeopleSoft Wealth Management, which automates business activities and helps to guide the business decisions and customer interactions of relationship managers, financial advisors, investment specialists, and private bankers.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.