Oracle Releases PeopleSoft Enterprise 9

A series of three software modules, PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 marks one of Oracle's three major 2006 initiatives following its acquisition of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and many other smaller software makers.
Oracle Corp. on Monday announced the release of PeopleSoft Enterprise 9, making good on its promise to continue support for the product line.

PeopleSoft Enterprise 9, a series of three software modules, marks one of Oracle's three major 2006 initiatives following its acquisition of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and many other smaller software makers.

Oracle will release the application suite in phases. Learning Management 9.0 marks the first in the series. This module focuses on certification and regulatory compliance support. "The strength this product offers is how it can tie learning into the rest of your core HR system and other Oracle/PeopleSoft modules," said Christa Degnan Manning, research director at AMR Research Inc. "It's the advantage Oracle has over some of the pure-plays because they can say it's the only way to make e-learning meaningful."

Oracle, in this release, delivers managers reporting and alerts to verify employees are up-to-date with classes before certifications expires. The ability for the employee to take a class, yet disconnect the PC from the server has been added, too.

The feature, made possible through an extended partnership with BackWeb Technologies Ltd., lets employees download and attend any course in the company's catalog, and interact with the system without being connected to the network. The system then uploads their progress and scores when they reconnect.

PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management, the next module scheduled for release, should debut by early fall. Financial and Human Capital Management is scheduled for release by year's end.

Oracle also announced a dedicated PeopleSoft Enterprise team with the appointment of General Manager Doris Wong, an 11-year PeopleSoft veteran who joined Oracle through the acquisition.

Wong will lead the strategic direction and development of the PeopleSoft Enterprise line. "The strategy includes bringing Oracle Fusion Middleware into release 9 products scheduled for release throughout the year," she said.

Fusion is an initiative by Oracle to integrate technology from a slew of software vendors the company has acquired in the past three years.

Wong said PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 should help customers to lower costs by integrating and reusing Oracle technology, such as XML Publisher, Business Activity Monitoring, and Customer Care Data Hub

The strategy will likely include the applications suite as a hosted offering. Wong said Oracle is headed in that direction with its product lines.

Although Wong declined to provide details on the hosted service, Forrester Research Inc. analyst Ray Wang chimed in to say customers would likely not see such as offering for another three to 12 months.

Oracle also introduced an "Applications Unlimited" program that calls for ongoing PeopleSoft product development, along with support services. Applications Unlimited gives customers the option to stay on PeopleSoft products and wait it out until they decide which enterprise resource planning vendor's products they might standardize on, Wang said.

The software maker is offering lifetime support for its current generation of ERP products to keep customers from jumping ship to rival, such as SAP AG or Microsoft Corp., but will encourage users to retire applications that may not work with its Fusion technology.

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