PeopleSoft gears up for fed FMSS market

PeopleSoft Inc. this week declared its entry into the competitive federal financial market announcing plans to create a federal version of its PeopleSoft Financials product in conjunction with Andersen Consulting.

Development is already under way on PeopleSoft Financials for Federal Government company officials said. PeopleSoft plans to apply for certification under the General Services Administration's Financial Management Systems Software schedule this summer and expects its product to ship in 1998. The product is being jointly developed with Andersen which has teamed with PeopleSoft on other federal projects.

The financial push marks PeopleSoft's second thrust in the federal market. The Pleasanton Calif.-based company launched a federal business unit in 1995 to develop and market its human resources management system PeopleSoft HRMS for Federal Government. Since then the company has sold its HRMS software to agencies such as the Justice Department the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. The company said more than half of the government's Cabinet-level agencies are PeopleSoft customers.

PeopleSoft expects to leverage its installed base of HRMS users in marketing its financial product. "Every single organization is a strong reference for PeopleSoft " said Jeffrey Carr vice president of PeopleSoft Federal Bethesda Md. "They would like to see their financial applications do the same things their HMRS software does."

A key in reaching those customers will be inclusion on the FMSS schedule which involves a certification process that can take several months. Agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act are required to purchase financial systems through the schedule.

Kelly Kavanagh a research director with IDC Government said PeopleSoft is aggressive and has good technology but added "That's all moot until they really [get on FMSS]."

Temperature Rising

The FMSS market has been heating up in recent weeks as companies roll out the latest versions of their software. Oracle Corp. last month announced the addition of its Oracle Federal Financials product to FMMS and earlier this month ICF Kaiser International Inc. said its Federal Financial Assistant software package had been added to the schedule. American Management Systems Inc. meanwhile has submitted its latest financial software release Momentum for FMSS certification testing.

Carr said he sees Oracle and AMS as PeopleSoft's key competitors in the federal financial arena. He said his company has an edge over Oracle because of PeopleSoft's software applications focus. In addition Carr said PeopleSoft's technology is portable with products supporting a number of database environments including Oracle Informix Software Inc. Sybase Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s SQL Server. Carr added that AMS also will be a factor because of its large share of the federal financial systems market and he said PeopleSoft plans to develop a migration kit or path to move customers from AMS to its own system.

PeopleSoft's financial product consists of 12 modules including general ledger payables receivables and budgets. The modules will require varying degrees of modification to meet the federal requirements PeopleSoft officials said. In developing the federal version of the package the company is dealing with appropriations accounting and other issues that do not apply in the commercial sector noted David Odell PeopleSoft's Federal Financials product manager. The financial reporting component of the package also will require modification to deal with federal government-specific forms.

Overall PeopleSoft's goal is to produce a federal product that will handle 80 percent of the government customers' requirements without customization. The product will be Year 2000-compliant and incorporate the features of the commercial version of the product including workflow and support for electronic commerce.

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