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Oracle goes back to school with PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 9

Oracle says it's getting vertical and bolstering compliance capabilities with the newest addition to the PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 suite.

Oracle today unveiled PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 9 (PEPM), an integrated suite of analytic applications with newly added vertical functionality for users in the higher education sector.

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The database and business applications mainstay says that PEPM, the latest addition to the PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 Suite, also incorporates new functionality designed to enhance firms' enterprise planning and regulatory compliance capabilities.

"[PEPM 9] is a suite of analytic applications that are really designed to help organizations better plan and forecast, manage and monitor their business and better analyze what's happening and what could potentially happen," said Chris Leone, Oracle's group vice president of application product strategy.

PeopleSoft gets schooled

Oracle says that users in the higher education world today have a greater need for education-oriented analytical software to help them cope with problems like fragmented data, rising education costs and increased competition for students and teachers.

The PEPM 9 suite provides reporting and analysis tools for higher education users through the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Warehouse, Leone said. The warehouse corrals information about students into a central environment where it can be mined for information about recruiting, admissions, student records and financial data.

"We're continuing to invest and extend our applications with industry expertise," Leone said. "In this release we're really focused on the higher education within the public sector."

California State University, currently a user of PEPM 8.9, expects to roll out PEPM 9 and the new Campus Solutions Warehouse over the next year or so, said Donna Furon, CSU's project director for the CMS data warehouse.

Furon, who provided feedback to Oracle on what higher education users need during PEPM 9's development phase, said she's particularly enthusiastic about the tighter integration between human resources and finance. The integration will make it easier to track student and employee records, she said.

She also expects school reporting capabilities to improve. Currently, CSU's analytics and reporting process involves cloning images of their production systems. But with the new Campus Solutions Warehouse, Furon expects this process to change.

"We're effectively reporting out of that production system, and that's a challenge," Furon explained. "[Campus Solutions Warehouse] provides the star schemas that allow you to do the reporting over multiple modules in a single data mart."

Ultimately, Furon said, CSU expects to roll the new reporting environment out to all of its campuses.

Software that pays

According to Oracle, PEPM 9 also includes new features designed to aid firms with budgeting, forecasting, stock option programs and benefits.

Leone said that PeopleSoft Planning and Budgeting, one of the PEPM 9 financial applications, now integrates with PeopleSoft Workforce Rewards and PeopleSoft Human Capital Management. The newly integrated apps should help user companies get a better handle on payroll and overall employee compensation planning, he said.

"With Workforce rewards, customers can go in and really model their more sophisticated compensation changes," he said.

New compliance capabilities

Leone said that one of the goals of the release is to better help companies comply with federal data retention regulations, in particular the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. To accomplish this, Leone says Oracle's Internal Controls Enforcer is now more tightly integrated with the company's Global Consolidations product.

"What that allows customers to do is manage one of the critical process areas related to Sarbanes-Oxley, which is the close process," he said.

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