Oracle has made good on its promise to continue supporting applications from its PeopleSoft acquisition by launching a stepping-stone upgrade to Project Fusion.
Project Fusion, which is unlikely to appear before 2007 or 2008, comprises the platform by which the vendor will merge the functionality of its own packages with that gained from its purchases of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel Systems, should the deal go through.
PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 is the first release since Oracle bought the supplier in January this year for $10.3 billion. The focus is on tightening financial management and auditing capabilities with an eye to making regulatory compliance easier.
As a result, the supplier relationship management module now includes supplier sourcing optimisation and total cost modelling functions to help customers see where they might be able to save money.
It also incorporates a supplier contract management element to enable users to create and enforce supplier contracts based on standardised processes that are automated using workflow technology.
Additional tools include a centralised clause library, authoring tools and standard contract policies, but a centralised repository of supplier contracts also makes it easier for customers to ensure that suppliers are complying with terms and conditions throughout the entire procure to pay lifecycle.
On the supply chain management side of things, new functionality includes a module to help wholesale distributors manage their supplier rebates and commissions more effectively and a re-written inventory fulfilment engine to quicken order handling and processing.
Version 8.9 of Enterprise Service Automation, meanwhile, includes a resource capacity planning module to optimise staffing levels for project-based work, a browser-based project scheduler and project risk management tools to enable customers to document their risk exposure and draw up risk reduction plans or evaluate the effectiveness of existing ones.
Finally, on the finance side, a new Asset Lifecycle Management package is intended to help users manage the acquisition, maintenance and renewal of their asset bases.
Arch-rival SAP, meanwhile, is on the verge of launching its CRM 2005 applications, which will include the first component applications based on its NetWeaver and Enterprise Service Architecture platform.
The vendor is in the process of rewriting its currently monolithic packages to make them more component-based and the first CRM fruits of the initiative will be dashboard-based analytics for real-time reporting.
CRM 2005, which was first announced this April and is due to ship at the end of October, will also include additional sales, service and marketing functionality and an improved user interface. The Visual Composer development tool will also include support for alerts.