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Scandals, Attacks Prompt New PeopleSoft Products

Responding to demands for software to improve corporate financial accountability, the company unveiled PeopleSoft Investor Portal.

NEW ORLEANS--At its user-group conference here Monday, enterprise software vendor PeopleSoft Inc. unveiled apps with roots in this year's accounting scandals and last year's terrorist attacks. It also introduced vertical-market supply-chain apps and supplier-rating software, a global financial-consolidation application, and sophisticated meta-integration software.

While other software makers are cutting back on R&D, CEO Craig Conway, in his keynote speech Monday morning, said PeopleSoft chose otherwise. "Even though it was a tight year with the tough economy, we've continued to invest in our products."

Responding to demands for software to improve corporate financial accountability, the company unveiled PeopleSoft Investor Portal, which companies can use to give stockholders access to detailed information about financial performance. The product will be part of PeopleSoft's line of software for tapping into data in its core financial apps. The new global-consolidations app will provide management with more accurate financial information. Both new products will be available in the fourth quarter.

PeopleSoft also unveiled two apps for homeland security. One, available early next year, will help federal, state, and municipal managers assess the skills of their "first responders" to disasters, including police, fire, and emergency medical personnel, and help recruit and train emergency workers.

Another app will help colleges and universities comply with government-reporting requirements for foreign students studying in the United States, the company says. That software should ship by year's end.

PeopleSoft, AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson says, is wise to focus on incremental additions to its product line during this year of economic uncertainty rather than introduce major new products.

One ambitious product on display this week is PeopleSoft AppConnect, which combines the vendor's enterprise-portal, integration-broker, and data warehouse software into a single integration package that links disparate data sources and apps from multiple vendors. Rick Bergquist, PeopleSoft's chief technology officer, says IT managers have to wrestle with a plethora of portal, business-intelligence, and application-integration software. "The problem CIOs face is that they have to integrate the integrators," he says.

PeopleSoft also announced the general availability of new features for its supply-chain products for the consumer-packaged goods, energy, financial-services, government, health-care, and high-tech markets. Health-care companies using its supply-chain technology, for instance, will get group-purchasing features, and consumer-goods makers will get hedge-buying functions to manage overlapping procurement contracts. And a new module in PeopleSoft's supplier-relationship management application, available in the fourth quarter, will help companies monitor and evaluate supplier performance.

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