PeopleSoft is revamping its suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications so that they can be accessed directly over the internet.
PeopleSoft 8, launched in New York this week, is a suite of ebusiness applications that can be accessed by users with an internet browser, or XML-based devices such as personal digital assistants. This means that customers of the US software supplier could eliminate the need for Windows-based desktop PCs, and enjoy lower costs.
Competitors such as Oracle and SAP offer browser access as an option, but PeopleSoft has detached its application from the Windows environment entirely. It has rewritten 14,000 application user interfaces to give them a web feel and make them easier to use in a browser environment.
"The reasons for dropping Windows are usability and cost of ownership," claimed PeopleSoft's UK marketing director, Alistair McGill. "Applications such as eprocurement are being rolled out to every person in a company. Everybody understands how to use the internet, so it's cheaper and easier to offer users a simple browser interface."
Analysts believe that PeopleSoft has recognised a growing trend among companies to use internet technologies in this way.
"Companies are seeing the internet or in-house intranets as their major communications method, and browser-only interfaces are a way forward that a number of organisations are looking at," said Ralph Seeley, principal consultant at ERP analyst Cambashi.
"The ERP market is in the doldrums, so PeopleSoft's announcement is of considerable interest. It could further herald the detaching of ERP from its foundations in the enterprise," he added.
PeopleSoft 8 includes 15 new ebusiness-oriented products, such as role-based desktops to manage users' day-to-day activities, as well as functional enhancements to the suite's existing ERP modules.
PeopleSoft has also integrated into PeopleSoft 8 the customer relationship management products it acquired when it bought Vantive last year, and increased support for XML.