When PeopleSoft Inc. launched PeopleSoft 8 Customer Relationship Management in June, Rob Johnson, research director at Boston-based AMR Research Inc., called the product PeopleSoft's finest development effort to date.PeopleSoft executives touted what they claim as an industry "first," including "pure Internet architecture, embedded analytics and seamless integration of enterprise data and business processes."

But in the ever-changing world of software development, sitting on one's laurels is the equivalent of a death sentence.

That explains why the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company is now launching a new version of the product designed specifically for banks, securities firms and insurers.

For starters, PeopleSoft 8 CRM for Financial Services contains customer-data models that are more appropriate for financial services firms. It also adds modules to support insurance policies, insurance processes and support for Internet self-service for policyholders.

"This is a solution that can help financial services providers address certain nuances that are specific to their industry," says Robb Eklund, vice president of product marketing for PeopleSoft.

For example, PeopleSoft 8 CRM for Financial Services will provide users with an understanding of a customer's "value" based on what Eklund calls "personal, business and fiduciary relationships," not on specific products.

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The solution also provides new avenues to target marketing. It identifies "customer-value segments" within a carrier's universe of policyholders. Using the system's analytical tools, carriers can then determine which segments are most profitable and which products are most effective with specific customer segments.

Customers who already license PeopleSoft 8 will be able to upgrade to the new product for an undisclosed fee. PeopleSoft relied on input from customers for designing the new applications for human resources, financial and analytics, says Louise Stonehouse, PeopleSoft's director of insurance strategy.

The company will also select several carriers to test the product this month before it's officially launched in December. Stonehouse declined to name prospective test clients or how many would participate.

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