Rocha said that Oracle already provides some support for 80 percent of PeopleSoft customers because those users have an Oracle database. Many of the 400,000 tools and articles in the Oracle support knowledge base cover PeopleSoft applications, he said. Like Phillips, Rocha pointed out that Oracle has a much bigger support organization than PeopleSoft. "We have 4,000 global engineers, 1,500 in the field for product support and customer care," he said. "Well bring PeopleSoft customers" under that umbrella. "Phillips compared PeopleSoft customers to customers of Digital Equipment Corp.s RDB database, when Oracle bought the product from DEC eight and a half years ago. While most of those customers over time migrated to Oracles own database product, Oracle continues to support and enhance RDB, Phillips said. "We still have several thousand [customers] running it with mission-critical systems," he said. Phillips noted that had those customers stayed with DEC, they would have gone through two acquisitions by now (Compaq Computer Corp. bought DEC and Hewlett-Packard Co. bought Compaq) and would be worse off than they are with Oracle. He predicted that long-term, PeopleSoft customers would be better off under Oracle and would get better support from Oracle, than under PeopleSoft. "PeopleSoft will have three product lines [apps for the enterprise, apps for the mid-market, and iSeries apps], an R&D budget a fraction of ours and they are saying their support will continue forever," Phillips said. One PeopleSoft customer who is a month away from completing a migration to the PeopleSoft applications from GEAC software said that switch enterprise apps is not a small job. "Its a big deal," said Randy Senn, CIO of Scana Corp., in Columbia, S.C. Senn finished the GEAC implementation not long ago, but after a merger his company decided to standardize on PeopleSoft. "We had done a lot of process engineering and documentation with the GEAC implementation and I figured it would be" easier to do the PeopleSoft implementation because of that, Senn said. "What we found out is that previous work is probably not going to minimize the work of going to the second set of applications, thats a wrong assumption. "Thats why this whole issue with Oracle has us concerned," Senn said. Rocha said that many users of PeopleSoft 7 are also struggling with migration to PeopleSoft 8 because they have to figure out how to make the software fit their business processes. The pitch with Oracles E-Business Suite is that once a customer is using the software there would be less customization required for future upgrades. "That monkeying with the software is a very expensive proposition," Rocha said.
If the deal goes through, Oracle would also bring many PeopleSoft support staff into his organization, Rocha said.