Corporate software specialist PeopleSoft Inc is to work with Netscape Communications Corp to extend the use of Peoplesoft’s applications by making them available over the Internet and intranet. As part of its strategy to open up its personnel, financials and supply chain management software and extend administrative applications typically used by functional experts to a much wider population of occasional users, PeopleSoft will work with Netscape to hook in to the browser company’s existing Internet and intranet infrastructure, and hence customer base. Companies are already publishing information over the Internet says Peoplesoft Internet product manager Dean Alms, so we can leverage the same infrastructure to enable them to do updates of personal data, for example. Alms says there is a lot of demand from PeopleSoft customers to access applications over the Internet, since they have read stories of how this can save them money. He says the idea of employees updating their own personal details on corporate personnel files, for example, could save large companies a great deal of money. Externally, customers or suppliers would be able to check on their account status or balances. PeopleSoft will work with Netscape to hook in to Netscape’s centralized services, such as directory services and shared security. However, Alms was keen to stress that PeopleSoft has always been independent from other vendor’s software – it works with at least seven different databases for example – and it will integrate not only with Netscape’s front end interface, but also with Microsoft Corp’s and others. PeopleSoft sees the new Internet applications as self-service applications. If they are not intuitive or need any training or documentation they will not work, says Alms. The company has launched a pilot program with selected PeopleSoft customers, offering 15 of what it calls Universal Applications that give a simplified user access to defined functions appropriate to their requirements. These include, in the Human Resources Suite, things like employee personal information update; training registration; dependent/beneficiary maintenance and pay check summary. In the Financials or Distribution suite, they include vendor profile update; vendor balance enquiry; vendor payment status enquiry and employee requisition entry. The pilot programs will run with the current release of Peoplesoft, version 6.0, but the company expects to release the final offering to coincide with version 7.0 of its software, due in the first quarter of next year. It is also expected this will coincide with the next release of Netscape’s software, which will include integrated messaging among other things. Alms says the Internet capability will be at the core of all PeopleSoft’s tools and architecture and the list of the company’s partners is set to grow, he said.