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'Meaningful Data Objects' On The Horizon

PeopleSoft has built prototype software called "meaningful data objects," which turn rows and columns of data into meaningful information.

NEW ORLEANS--Attendees at PeopleSoft Inc.'s user conference here this week got a sneak peak at some new capabilities the vendor is developing for its ERP and CRM apps. PeopleSoft's research and development to-do list includes information-access and predictive-analysis technology, workflow capabilities, and--for CRM apps--built-in instant messaging and E-mail.

PeopleSoft developers have built prototype software called "meaningful data objects," which turn rows and columns of data into meaningful information. The software should make it easier for workers using PeopleSoft apps to build reports that analyze everything from purchase orders to employee records.

"Reporting is still living in the dark ages," Ram Gupta, products and technology executive VP, said in a keynote speech. The data-abstraction technology is still 18 months from appearing in PeopleSoft products. Also under development is predictive-analysis and customer-behavior modeling for the company's CRM apps and closed-loop analysis for operational software such as manufacturing and supply-chain management apps.

Closer to completion is instant-messaging and E-mail capabilities PeopleSoft is adding to the 8.8 release of PeopleSoft CRM slated for debut in December. Those capabilities, built into the application's browser interface, would improve the software's customer-service and -support capabilities by letting service reps simultaneously communicate with customers and view transaction information.

They would also improve communications between managers and field sales reps, says Lori Faris, corporate services senior VP at Carreker Corp. Carreker, which uses PeopleSoft CRM apps, sells custom software and services to banks. "We've really needed a way to get real-time information to our employees across the globe."

PeopleSoft is also using Web services to build up its software's workflow capabilities for enabling real-time business-to-business processes, says Rick Bergquist, the company's chief technology officer. PeopleSoft applications will support Web Services Definition Language by year's end.

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