“Don’t worry, be happy” – Oracle tells PeopleSoft customers

Oracle Corp. committed itself to fully supporting PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers for the next decade now that the protracted and, at times acrimonious, merger with PeopleSoft has been completed.

“There was some concern in the press that we would cancel the entire PeopleSoft product line in 48 hours,” said Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp. in Redwood, Calif. “We will support the PeopleSoft product for at least 10 years and will enhance those products…for years to come.”

In a keynote address outlining where Oracle is going with the merger of the two companies, Ellison told assembled customers, analysts and press that Oracle is committed to finishing development of PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 and developing Enterprise 9.0, enhancing the J.D. Edwards World product, acquired when PeopleSoft merged with J.D. Edwards, and in developing and releasing Oracle E-Business Suite 12.0. Oracle, he announced, is set to begin development on Project Fusion, a merged application and development suite combining the best of Oracle, J.D Edwards and PeopleSoft solutions.

Project Fusion will be built on established industry Internet standards and will integrate process automation and information seamlessly across an organization. It will provide real-time access to information and a consistent view of information and customers across different business processes. The Project Fusion Application Suite will likely be launched in 2008 with individual Project Fusion applications released in 2006. Project Fusion will represent the combined efforts of skilled Oracle, PeopleSoft and J.D Edwards’ engineers. They will work to make Project Fusion a seamless upgrade from the three companies’ existing products, with little disruption to business.

Oracle looks to keep 90 per cent of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards’ engineers. Besides working on Project Fusion, the engineers will continue to support and improve upon existing Oracle, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards products.

“Project Fusion will not just be focused on process automation functions like purchase requests, but on information access that has often been an afterthought, something laid on top of process automation,” Ellison said. “It will be a normal upgrade (for customers), like moving from Oracle 11i to Oracle 12. It will be a standard upgrade. It is not a conversion.”

Other Oracle executives repeatedly focused to issues of support in their respective presentations. Juergen Rottler, executive vice-president for Oracle Support and On Demand with Oracle Corp., said along with engineers from the different companies, Oracle will also combine support and service staff and mechanisms from PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards with Oracle support teams.

“If you are a PeopleSoft or J.D. Edwards customer you will be talking to the same people and getting the same support you have been used to,” Rottler added. “When you call in you will see a lot of the same things that you have come to expect…This gives us an opportunity to bring Oracle’s support closer together with J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft support. Many PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers use Oracle products and there are lots of opportunities to being those support mechanisms together.”

Evan Quinn, global vice-president, application software with IDC in Framingham, Mass. said Oracle accomplished what it needed to do – keeping PeopleSoft customers with Oracle who may have considered abandoning the products because of the difficulties in the merger.

“If I’m an Oracle shareholder and I’ve just spent U.S.$ 10.3 billion buying PeopleSoft, you’d had better do everything possible to protect that investment,” Quinn added. “So most of what you heard is about protecting that investment. And I think they may have surprised many in the industry by treating the J.D. Edwards and the PeopleSoft product line and the Oracle E-Business line more or less as equals.”

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