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PeopleSoft commits to iSeries with product for small biz

A solution geared specifically for small businesses in iSeries shops endears the CRM vendor to former J.D. Edwards customers as well as IBM.

SAN ANTONIO -- CRM software provider PeopleSoft Inc. reinforced its commitment to the iSeries -- and made its partnership with IBM a little sweeter -- with the launch of software designed to make implementing applications easier for iSeries users in small shops, many of whom struggle with the same complex business problems as large enterprises.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company unveiled PeopleSoft World Express Monday during the COMMON IT Education Conference. PeopleSoft pitched the product to users during the iSeries Nation session when IBM announced the eServer i5, an iSeries server based on the Power5 chip.

Clearly, they're making an investment in the iSeries.
Al Zollar
iSeries General ManagerIBM

iSeries Nation is a popular COMMON session where IBM discusses strategy and users sound off on topics related to the platform.

IBM gave Dave Siebert, general manager and group vice president of PeopleSoft World, an unprecedented 30 minutes on stage. The move raised a few eyebrows from industry insiders for its apparent favoritism among business partners, but iSeries general manager Al Zollar said showcasing a business partner with big name recognition was a logical choice, particularly given the importance IBM places on its business partners and independent software vendors in this marketplace.

"Clearly, they're making an investment in the iSeries," said Zollar.

PeopleSoft is, in fact, one of the biggest revenue producers for the iSeries.

Supported on the iSeries platform, PeopleSoft World Express is specifically designed for businesses with less than $100 million in yearly revenue. The new solution includes World enterprise applications, more than 30 industry-specific business processes and implementation services from certified channel partners. Targeting four major vertical markets, World Express is customized for industrial manufacturers, wholesale distributors, homebuilders and construction companies.

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World Express is the company's fourth product announcement since buying J.D. Edwards last year. Since September, PeopleSoft has announced EnterpriseOne 8.9 and EnterpriseOne 8.10, and made more than 250 enhancements to World.

EnterpriseOne's latest version, 8.10, supports demand-driven manufacturing and RFID capabilities. The PeopleSoft World enhancements included a new HTML user interface, manufacturing and distribution management, financial management, human capital management and integration with the Enterprise application performance management.

According to Siebert, another release of EnterpriseOne is expected by the end of the year. The next release of World is expected early next year.

The Express name has no relation at all to IBM's Express line of products designed for small and medium-sized businesses, said Siebert. In fact, where IBM Express products are generally considered scaled-down versions of its Enterprise middleware, such as WebSphere, Siebert said World Express is "not a 'light' version and has full functionality."

PeopleSoft World Express includes the PeopleSoft World Foundation, PeopleSoft World Financials, PeopleSoft World Distribution, PeopleSoft World Manufacturing, PeopleSoft World Human Capital and PeopleSoft World Project Management.

While PeopleSoft had pledged support and continued enhancements for the former J.D. Edwards product line, those claims were met with some skepticism from analysts and users, many of whom questioned PeopleSoft's commitment to the iSeries platform.

But the J.D. Edwards acquisition was a means for PeopleSoft to gain a stronger foothold in the midmarket and with manufacturing firms. The move more than doubled PeopleSoft's user base.

"This acquisition was always about growing our apps," said Siebert, a former J.D. Edwards executive.

Siebert said that it wouldn't make any sense to have acquired J.D. Edwards and not move forward with building on that product line. "We delivered on everything we said we were going to do."


Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kate Evans-Correia, Senior News Editor

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