Oracle finds supply chain niche for PeopleSoft

Von Ephraim Schwartz

PeopleSoft unveiled this week point releases for three of its major enterprise software suites, called Version 8.9. They are Enterprise Supplier Relationship Management, Enterprise Supply Chain Management, and Enterprise Financial Management.

Although Oracle"s Project Fusion will move all of its enterprise software from J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and the Oracle e-business suite to a single code base, the PeopleSoft release of Version 8.9 does not reflect any substantive input from Oracle.

"It was underway pre-acquisition," said John Webb, Oracle vice president for Supply Chain Application Product Strategy. "We will continue to look at 8.9 areas to build Web services on top to work with early Fusion products."

If Oracle"s fingerprints are to be found on release 8.9 at all, it is in the area of supply chain management, according to Bob Parker, vice president of Research for Manufacturing Insights at IDC.

According to Parker, Oracle is sorting out from a vast number of supply chain products it now owns into niches for each of its product lines. What users can expect in the future is Oracle"s expertise in supply chain advanced planning connected to network collaboration tools from J.D. Edwards, with PeopleSoft being positioned for wholesale distribution.

"PeopleSoft has a good order management and supplier relationship management system. These things are important for wholesale distribution. It is clever positioning," Parker said.

New wholesale distribution capabilities in Version 8.9 of Enterprise Supply Chain Management include margin base manipulation to adjust margins on the fly and counter sell.

Counter sell targets wholesale distributors who have industrial outlets for over-the-counter customers.

"Basically, we designed a new business process completely around a counter sell system," Webb said.

In the area of order management, PeopleSoft introduced "supply pegging" which aligns a purchase order with a sales order and updates all systems from order management to inventory to fulfillment.

Also added was a vendor-managed inventory module to give suppliers the ability to manage shipping and logistics based on inventory on hand at the local outlet. 

The Enterprise Financial Management suite was also upgraded with new global compliance and best practices to automate accounting standards, such as cash flow statement reporting and impairment testing for non-financial asset accounting.

The issues around Sarbanes-Oxley and global compliance, in a more general sense, are changing the requirements for ERP software and how finance people interact with it, according to Rich Rodgers, Oracle vice president, Financial Application Product Strategy.

"Finance organizations are not only producing financial reports, but placing financial people into different lines of business to increase their value add to the organization," Rodgers said.

All Version 8.9 products are shipping now.