PeopleSoft Revamps Old J.D. Edwards Line

PeopleSoft played in SAP's neighborhood when it journeyed to the German trade show CeBIT to announce the first major upgrade to EnterpriseOne, a former J.D. Edwards enterprise application product.
PeopleSoft played in SAP's neighborhood Thursday when it journeyed to the German trade show CeBIT to announce the first major upgrade to EnterpriseOne, a former J.D. Edwards enterprise application product.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft picked up the EnterpriseOne offering via its acquisition of J.D. Edwards, which closed last July. The company has dubbed the update EnterpriseOne 8.10.

"The 8 in PeopleSoft designates a strategic architecture that's a fundamental shift to the pure Internet client and a major rev in PeopleTools," said Steve Maegdlin, vice president of product marketing for EnterpriseOne at PeopleSoft. "We had released version 8.9 in September as part of the merger, but that version was really a J.D. Edwards release. Version 8.10 is the first release of significant new functionality under the PeopleSoft umbrella."

That new functionality, which primarily addresses the needs of manufacturing and distribution companies, falls under the areas of demand, supply and operational efficiency.

On the demand side, EnterpriseOne now offers built-in compatibility with radio frequency identification (RFID) systems and standards, as well as improved analysis and collaboration features within its Customer Self-Service Portal. The portal's enhanced features give users access to tools for performing failure analysis, cross-referencing and customizing item numbers, and producing demand forecasts, Maegdlin said. A new Demand Scheduling Execution function also helps high-volume manufacturers manage the cumulative release of products under blanket purchase orders.

A key new feature on the supply side, Supplier Release Scheduling, helps tier-two through tier-five suppliers in the automotive industry make sense of constantly fluctuating orders. That's a huge need in a market that practically defines just-in-time manufacturing--yet issues inventory directives that change almost by the day. Other additions include a new Buyer Workspace, which helps the purchasing department track receipts, rate supplier performance and award contracts based on weighted priorities for price, quality and delivery deadline.

"One of the weakest areas [in EnterpriseOne] had been supplier relationship management," said Paula Milano, president of Axion Solutions, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider. "Now it has strategic sourcing and the ability to negotiate with your suppliers. Plus, you can send out RFIs [requests for information] and use formulas to determine who will win that contract. Altogether, [EnterpriseOne] really gives the functionality needed for lean manufacturing. We are really excited about it."

PeopleSoft also added some new features to EnterpriseOne to help improve a company's business operations. For example, eRecruit Self-Service--which owes many of its functions to PeopleSoft's higher-end Enterprise line--allows human-resources staff to automate job postings, track applicant information and convert that data to an employee record once a person is hired.

Other new functions help manufacturers analyze the cost of their equipment; set thresholds, such as temperature or condition, for scheduling maintenance; comply with financial governance regulations; and perform financial forecasting and budgeting. The software is slated for general availability in May, according to PeopleSoft.

"I don't see anything else with the kind of breadth that's in EnterpriseOne that still has the ease of use to support the midmarket," Milano said. "I think this is so well-positioned in this market that it's really the product to beat. We are really excited by the features in the new version."

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