PeopleSoft Inc. will forge ahead with its product road map and introduce a new analytics software package Monday, despite the fact that many customers may be focused on Oracle Corp.'s ongoing hostile takeover efforts.
PeopleSoft's Predictive Analytics Solution for CRM capitalizes on a trend sweeping the business intelligence space: Vendors are arming end users such as sales reps and call center employees with more powerful and easier-to-use analytics tools.
"Traditional data mining solutions require a lot of handholding for people other than mathematicians, because the data coming out of those applications is disconnected from business users," said Joe Davis, vice president and general manager of PeopleSoft CRM. "Customers are asking for functionality that helps identify which customers are most profitable, more easily and faster than ever before."
Davis highlighted three major improvements in PeopleSoft's new Predictive Analytics package: increased ease of use, better integration with the company's CRM applications, and inclusion of several prebuilt models aimed at helping companies in high-churn industries better leverage the tools.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft declined to provide pricing information for the offering, saying that the cost of upgrading to the applications depends largely on the size and scale of users' CRM implementations.
Davis repeatedly stressed that PeopleSoft does not intend to compete with providers of standalone business intelligence and analytics software, vendors whose strengths lie in more complex data mining applications. Rather, he said, PeopleSoft hopes to provide business analysts and other employees with analytics applications that mesh with CRM to help provide more detailed customer information.
"Our hope is to drive analytics further into [the] daily business process," Davis said.
Eric Schmitt, CRM analyst at Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass., said the Predictive Analytics product launch represents a move in the right direction for PeopleSoft. He believes the software maker is wise to tie analytics closer to operational CRM.
"Customers should recognize the benefits of having features developed with people in the call center or on the sales force in mind, versus in the traditional ivory tower of the data warehouse," Schmitt said.
While Siebel Systems Inc. has made similar claims about its analytics offering, Schmitt believes PeopleSoft has been working longer to help users garner greater demands from their investments in BI software from vendors such as Business Objects and SAS Institute.
"[PeopleSoft] recognizes that most of their customers have this software in place and the idea isn't to try and compete with SAS, but rather to help leverage what users [are] doing with it," Schmitt said. "I think customers will see this as a pragmatic approach."
Executives from the CRM team at PeopleSoft refused to comment on the Oracle acquisition attempt, even though industry analysts have repeatedly said that customers will likely shelve PeopleSoft-related buying plans until Oracle's proposed takeover is resolved.
Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle has said it would discontinue PeopleSoft products if the deal is completed. PeopleSoft's board of directors is advising shareholders to reject the buyout.
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