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The marketplace for collaboration software can be utterly confusing, with competitors throwing around a mishmash of acronyms to describe their products. From CRM (customer relationship management) to MRM (marketing resource management) to SRM (supplier relationship management), the software products in this space read like alphabet soup.

PeopleSoft Inc., founded in the mid-80s to provide software to manage human resources, makes understanding its data-driven products extremely easy with a series of online demos developed by interactive agency Lot21 Inc.

The demos, which users can click on from the PeopleSoft homepage, were designed to showcase the PeopleSoft 8 suite of products for CRM and SRM, and were developed using Flash technology and audio. They took prospective customers through a day in the life of a sales director at a fictitious company, who uses PeopleSoft software to check on sales activity, assess revenue generation by account, check on outstanding orders and buy new laptops for his sales team. They also guided the user through real-life examples of how the data is used and managed across various departments of the organization.

"The message we needed to communicate was PeopleSoft 8 applications enable better collaboration between employees, suppliers and customers," said Paul Santello, director-account management and strategic planning at Lot21.

"To really make that work, we took a linear, storytelling approach with the copy and reinforced that with a visual model that conveyed all of the areas the product affects in the company."

And the demos seem to have exceeded PeopleSoft’s expectations. The company surpassed its lead generation goal for its CRM product by 600% after the three-month campaign, which ran during the second quarter of 2001.

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