PeopleSoft extends mid-market offering to Canada

NEW ORLEANS — PeopleSoft Inc. has singled out the Great White North as one of six regions it considers ripe for the mid-market approach.

The company will expand its mid-market offering, PeopleSoft Accelerated Solutions, to

Canada along with France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand. To do this, it announced a partnership with IBM Corp.’s mid-sized business division to offer pre-configured servers running IBM’s DB2 database and middleware products along with PeopleSoft business software. The packages are fixed-price offerings that include PeopleSoft’s Internet applications, technical training and implementation services. These offerings weren’t previously available overseas.

According to Jeff Read, vice-president and general manager of mid-market software at PeopleSoft, pre-configured software strips out costs and complexities for mid-sized companies. PeopleSoft goes after mid-sized businesses that generate up to US$300 million in annual revenue.

Andrew Aicklen, managing director of PeopleSoft Canada, said while this country has been dubbed a mid-market region, that does not negate the fact the each customer has its own requirements. “I am finding that it’s not all that clear-cut,” he said. It’s not simply a matter of targeting firms that have a specific amount revenue, he said. PeopleSoft Canada is succeeding with firms that have a well thought-out growth strategy and are looking for technology to help them achieve their objectives.

The announcement was one of 10 made here at PeopleSoft Connect 2002, the 15-year-old company’s 12th annual user conference. According to president and CEO Craig Conway, this year’s conference boasts record attendance with roughly 11,000 people.

Conway said that despite a recession in the U.S. that has put a clamper on IT spending, there are still opportunities to help companies become more efficient in the way they do business.

The Government of British Columbia’s Public Service Employee Relations Commission, for example, is undergoing a shakeup of its own thanks to a new government and the resultant layoffs in the public sector, according to Carol Burman, executive director of the commission’s payroll operations and information management division. “It has created a huge opportunity for us,” she said. “The timing was perfect.”

Having completed a PeopleSoft 8 HR implementation in February, the division is working to roll out self-service payroll functions to 33,000 public servants by February 2003. One of the main drivers for the project is to drive down costs.

Burman said it was time for a radical change in how the B.C. government handles its HR, and the commission is changing its business processes to match the software applications. “The BC government is not so unique that we have to customize,” she said.

PeopleSoft’s four-year support policy has meant the commission has had time to actually leverage the features in PeopleSoft 8, she added. “Before everyone was planning the next upgrade.”

The commission went live in 1995 with PeopleSoft, and Burman said PeopleSoft 8’s Internet architecture is particularly appealing because it requires no management on the desktop since it is browser-based.

That architecture was also appealing to Canadian Pacific Railway of Calgary, which is gearing up to implement PeopleSoft 8 CRM for its external sales force. It recently completed a desktop refresh of 4,000 PCs to Windows 2000, which took a year to complete, said Jeff Adams, director of customer service business performance. “Now I have a really well-equipped infrastructure. That whole desktop renewal has been the foundation for going to the Web.”

Aicklen said that rather than invest in large implementations, some companies are dividing up the enterprise and undertaking projects in a piecemeal approach. Eventually, however, the different components need to be connected. PeopleSoft also announced a product suite designed to reduce the complexity and expense of integrating applications from multiple vendors.

AppConnect uses Web services to pre-integrate PeopleSoft’s existing portal, application integration and warehouse products. These include the firm’s Portal, Integration Broker, and Enterprise Warehouse products, which support J2EE and .Net and communicate with each other using Web services standards. This runs on top of either BEA WebLogic or IBM WebSphere application servers.

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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