PeopleSoft nabs military HR contract

After losing several military enterprise resource-planning contracts during the past year, PeopleSoft Inc. emerged victorious as the armed services' choice for a standard human resources system.

The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a $6.5 million contract to PeopleSoft to deliver a version of its Human Resources enterprise application for the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS) by March 2002, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Scheduled for Navy deployment by the end of 2003, DIMHRS will track military personnel from initial entry training through retirement.

The application would enable a ship's commander, for example, to search the underlying DIMHRS relational database for a reservist with specific skills, such as someone who specializes in intelligence and can speak Japanese.

DIMHRS also will track reservists for pay and service credit. Because active duty personnel and reservists in the Air Force, Army and Navy have been paid through separate payroll systems that have no common interface for synchronization, reservists who have served on active duty sometimes have been paid for active duty service after their return to reserve status.

Although DIMHRS is supposed to be a joint system, the services will have to reach agreements on how to represent different rank levels, such as captain and lieutenant, according to H. Lee Buchanan, the former assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition who has served in the Navy on active duty and as a reservist.

The Navy selected Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft over three competing vendors, according to the March 20 Pentagon contract announcement. Oracle Corp. and SAP America Inc. are PeopleSoft's primary competition for selling enterprise applications, and SAP had won the last six major Defense Department procurements for enterprise resource planning applications.

According to the rollout schedule established in October 2000, the Army is the first service that plans to use DIMHRS, according to Jim McGlothlin, regional vice president for PeopleSoft. The service will use DIMHRS to replace its mainframe-based Standard Installation/Division Personnel System 3.0.

Air Force officials don't have immediate plans to deploy DIMHRS, he said, but the PeopleSoft win could displace Oracle's Human Resources application used in that service.

McGlothlin called the Navy contract the "biggest federal win ever" for his company because DOD's 3.1 million employees could eventually use the system. Navsea selected PeopleSoft 8 Human Resources Management System, which is the company's first browser-based HR system based solely on Hypertext Markup Language.

The Navy has the authority to purchase $120 million in DIMHRS software over 10 years, and it will award a separate contract for DIMHRS integration and training, he said.

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