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PeopleSoft brings IM to Enterprise Portal

PeopleSoft Inc. (http://www.peoplesoft.com) wants to make it possible for users of its new enterprise portal to collaborate in real time with their customers, suppliers, and partners. Toward that end, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based enterprise software maker disclosed last week it will integrate its products and technology platform with leading instant messaging (IM) technologies from IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

“The ability to exchange instant messages within applications and portal frameworks is essential for improving business efficiency across the enterprise,” said PeopleSoft CTO Rick Bergquist. “PeopleSoft will be the first enterprise applications vendor to allow customers to leverage this pervasive technology to offer real-time communication between participants in a business process.”

By integrating IBM Lotus Sametime, Microsoft’s “Greenwich” Real-Time Collaboration Server, and Yahoo Messenger Enterprise Edition into its recently released Enterprise Portal 8.8, PeopleSoft provides users with a number of IM features, including presence detection, “follow-me” functionality, and privacy settings. Presence detection allows users to see immediately whether a messaging partner is online. “Follow-me” functionality forwards messages to different devices, such as mobile phones, or converts them into speech and delivers them via voicemail. The privacy settings ensure that users are not subject to “unwanted communication.”

Along with the integrated IM, Enterprise Portal 8.8 includes a number of new features, including Resource Finder, which allows users to locate immediately any resource needed to help execute a business process; wizard-driven site administration that enables users to create and deploy tailored community-specific sub-sites with little or no assistance from the IT department; and user-driven site management.

PeopleSoft develops a range of enterprise software, including customer relationship management applications, supply chain management apps, human capital management programs, and financial management and application integration solutions.

By integrating IM into its latest portal release, observers say PeopleSoft steps to the front of a growing line of software makers adding instant messaging to their enterprise products. Both Oracle and Sun Microsystems have disclosed plans to include the technology in their products later this year, and Microsoft plans to release its SharePoint Team Services product (with MSN Messenger support) along with its new Windows Server 2003 sometime in mid-2003.

Currently, more than 600 customers have licensed Enterprise Portal, a key component of the PeopleSoft AppConnect suite, the company said. The product will be available in late May. The IM capabilities from IBM and Yahoo will be available worldwide in the second quarter; Microsoft’s IM technology will be generally available in the fourth quarter.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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