PeopleSoft tells its customers merger not

When discussing the future of PeopleSoft Inc., its chief technology officer Rick Bergquist called up a timely baseball analogy.

“Most people thought the Boston Red Sox were out of it once the New York Yankees took a 3-0 series lead,” Bergquist said.

Bergquist was in Toronto recently to talk about the firm’s new direction. PeopleSoft’s destiny is in its own hands, Bergquist said. Right now the goal is to continue to support customers, grow the company and, most importantly, have a strong sense of product innovation. Within the next five years the goal is to surpass rival SAP AG as an ERP leader, Bergquist said. This will occur through software releases, including the recent third edition launch of Enterprise One. The current situation between Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft is “not a foregone conclusion,” Bergquist added. As long as PeopleSoft continues to show the board and shareholders that it is continuing to see growth and is striving to innovate with new technology offerings the firm will be successful, Bergquist said.

According to Bergquist, PeopleSoft’s future roadmap will be based on the concept of the adaptable enterprise initiative, specifically delivering an composite-application integration platform environment that includes collaboration, portal access and analytics. The recent middleware partnership with IBM Corp. to standardize PeopleSoft apps on WebSphere is also part of the new strategy, he added.

In Canada, customers are aware of what is going on in terms of the Oracle situation, but it hasn’t affected growth, particularly in the public sector, said Andrew Aicklen, vice-president and managing director for Toronto-based PeopleSoft Canada Co. If anything, the situation has given PeopleSoft good brand recognition, he quipped. Aicklen noted that in PeopleSoft Canada has been exceeding previous licence revenues and “growing nicely over the last 18 months.”

The company’s J.D Edwards acquisition has been particularly beneficial for Canada, Aicklen said, which has a large manufacturing base. The Canadian user groups are strong and have been good in providing feedback as well, he added.

According to Toronto-based Warren Shiau, software analyst for IDC Canada, when it comes to ERP applications, PeopleSoft’s strength has been an emphasis on enabling customers to strengthen business processes within a heterogeneous environment rather than forcing organizations to only use PeopleSoft applications.

PeopleSoft plays on the application layer and has been open anywhere else, regardless of platform, software or database, Shiau said. Users are looking to run more efficiently to IT infrastructures, particularly by using Web-enabled processes, he added.

While vendors such as SAP or Oracle are building down from that application layer into the middle-tier software it appears that “they’re really looking at offering this functionality so that users can integrate into an SAP or Oracle world,” Shiau said, adding that PeopleSoft appears to be developing this “out-of-the-box” functionality to quickly operate in a heterogeneous environment.

PeopleSoft exceeded analyst expectations in its just-ended quarter, reporting a recent 12 per cent increase in revenue, to US$698.8 million, and a slight uptick in revenue from software license sales. The quarter, which ended Sept. 30, was the first for which analysts can compare PeopleSoft’s results including J.D. Edwards & Co., which it bought in July 2003.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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