During his talk, Conway spoke of the need for enterprise software to mature to the point of making it easier for users to own it. And he made it clear that he intends for PeopleSoft to lead that maturation process. He said the technology already has helped businesses reduce costs and improve efficiencies through the use of such features as embedded analytics, the integration of business applications and the move to put these applications online. The industry has gone from businesses coding their own software to being able to buy it off the shelf.Comparing the current software situation with that of printers 15 years ago, Conway said the best improvement in that industry was the creation of the UBS port, which simplified the installation and operation of printers. "The USB port has nothing to do with the quality of the printer, but it has everything to do with the ownership experience," he said, adding that the software industry has to do the same thing. PeopleSoft has created a group of 500 developers whose goal is to make enterprise software easier to use, he said. Among the other improvements Conway is promising is reducing the software installation time of PeopleSoft products to one day embedding performance monitors into the software. He also said that all the companys software will soon support Linux, reducing what he said is the industrys "dependence on the Microsoft [Corp.] desktop operating system" and giving users a choice of OSes on PeopleSoft applications. "Were supporting Linux not because were anti-Microsoft, but because were pro-choice," he said. "Its better for the industry to have choices." In addition, Conway said that the top business software providersPeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP AGmust work together to eliminate users need for middleware to integrate products from different vendors. The three vendors must code their products to work together out-of-the-box, he said. In that vein, Conway said that the next version of its supplier management relationship software will be coded to work directly with software from Oracle and SAP. "Now, if Oracle and SAP would do that same, it would be tremendous," he said. "This is the beginning of the end of middleware."
"Today, its prepackaged software, and prepackaged costs less," Conway said. "Thats the way its done today. It costs less, but it still costs more than it should. Everything about enterprise software today still involves lots of people."