PeopleSoft users want IBM support in Oracle’s Fusion

As Oracle Corp. works to create its Fusion best-of-breed application suite, it should make sure rival IBM’s hardware and software are an integral part of the road map, according to a survey of former PeopleSoft Inc. users.

Oracle bought out PeopleSoft last year at the same time that company was inheriting customers from J.D. Edwards & Co. Since then, Oracle has been crafting its Fusion architecture from pieces of its application suites, including its own E-Business Suite 11i. While the technical details are being resolved, both PeopleSoft and former J.D. Edwards users have called on Oracle to make sure their IBM investments will be protected.

This week, the Quest International Users Group announced the results of a recent survey of 300 users that showed a substantial number of users consider support for the IBM iSeries-AS/400 server platform to be integral to the Fusion road map.

Lexington, Ky.-based Quest represents both former PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers, as well as a number of onetime J.D. Edwards customers, particularly those that run the old World green-screen applications, are also devout AS/400 customers.

Keeping the iSeries as a platform of choice for Fusion was more important than pricing or functionality, Quest said, citing its survey. If support for the server is dropped, 29 per cent of those surveyed wouldn’t migrate to the Fusion architecture, while 50 per cent said they weren’t sure if they’d upgrade under those conditions. Moreover, 35 per cent of the World customers surveyed said they’d stick with their existing applications. Software could also be a key element — 85 per cent said they use IBM’s DB2 database, and 67 per cent use it exclusively.

Many World and J.D. Edwards/EnterpriseOne customers rely on the iSeries hardware and want the option of keeping it, said Quest President John Matelski. Other customers don’t have the money to swap in another platform. He also noted that the survey data indicated that “most customers do not want to be forced to a new infrastructure and will consider other options if forced to.”

Matelski is also the deputy CIO of the city of Orlando, which runs J.D. Edwards/EnterpriseOne financials on the iSeries.

Fred Pond, a past Quest president, also wants to see the IBM stack maintained. If Fusion is to be the best from PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Oracle, then Oracle has to give customers infrastructure choices, such as being able to use DB2 or Microsoft Corp. ‘s SQL Server databases, he said. The biggest fear is that as time goes on, Fusion looks less like a new product based on the best of Oracle’s, PeopleSoft’s and J.D. Edwards’ ideas, technology and functionality and “instead looks more like an upgrade of the E-Business suite,” said Pond, who is also the director of information services at Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. in Portland, Ore. Schnitzer Steel is another J.D. Edwards /EnterpriseOne customer.

“We would like to see any applications in this area [Fusion] operate on the iSeries platform and with the DB2 database,” said, Bubba Tyler, CIO at Conshohocken, Pa.-based Quaker Chemical Corp., an EnterpriseOne shop. “Otherwise, we will have to reinvest in infrastructure, training and support, and this added expense would bring no additional value to us.”

Oracle declined to comment on the survey.

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