White Knight

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-09-24 Print this article Print

?"> Do you have any estimate of the number of IBM developers that will be assigned to this project?

We have thousands of developers in the IBM company. There is no question that much of the work that many of them do will be leveraged into this relationship. But more specifically, it is fair to say that we will dedicate several hundred developers to work on this initiative in the coming years.

Some commentators have suggested that IBM is standing in the background as a white knight to help PeopleSoft fend off Oracles hostile buyout bid. How can that be if IBM isnt making a direct investment in PeopleSoft?

IBM is not in the applications business. We dont have any intention of getting into the applications business. We are in the partnering business with world-class leaders like PeopleSoft. So, I want to be perfectly clear that this is a very important agreement that will give a very positive impact to our customers and to both of our companies.

This is also the type of agreement that we are working and frankly will do with other companies.

To read more about IBMs middleware strategy, click here. How long have IBM and PeopleSoft discussed this alliance?

Well over a year. For those who would try to tie this to some type of reaction to the Oracle-PeopleSoft situation, that frankly would be incorrect.

Looking at the PeopleSoft side, how would this help the company in terms of broadening the reach of PeopleSoft applications?

There are three very clear benefits here to PeopleSoft and to other partners that we would do a similar arrangement with. The first is it allows them to focus on the application solutions themselves and not to having to build middleware infrastructure.

The second is that through partnering with a company like IBM—which is not in the applications business, who does not compete with them—they can broaden their reach to the market.

Click here to read about Conways comments about Oracle in his Connect keynote. And thirdly, I think our business is more and more recognized as really in a leadership position in terms of our market share, with DB2 and our WebSphere offerings as examples. That brings real benefits and additional strength to the PeopleSoft offerings.

Why is it really necessary to build the Business Process Interoperability lab?

I think it is a clear indication of just how serious both companies are about working closely together to gain the maximum efficiency out of our efforts. The fact that we will not only work with IBM software developers and PeopleSoft developers side by side to deliver current offerings, but also to work together on requirements for future market needs.

This interoperability lab really provides a structure to bring our two teams very closely together.

How will the two companies jointly market and deliver the solutions that are produced as a result of this alliance?

The IBM sales force will not be paid for selling PeopleSoft applications—again as part of our strategy not to be in the applications business. However, we will make significant investment for demand-generation effort such as co-marketing activities—lead-generation activities. We will work closely together … to help support our mutual customers.

How soon will work actually start on this alliance?

Work has already started. We would expect to see the first offerings in the market in the first quarter of 2005, specially with solutions that will be available to the banking, the insurance and the telecommunications industries.

Do you think that this alliance will help PeopleSoft competitively in this market, with SAP being as strong as it is and with PeopleSoft being pressured as it is by Oracle and others?

SAP is and will continue to be a very important partner of IBM. In fact, they are one of IBMs largest partners in the applications space. There is no question, though, that this will be a win-win for our customers with PeopleSoft in the ability to deliver a world-class middleware infrastructure to be even more tightly connected than before to the IBM sales and services organization, and I think we will see benefits all the way around.

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John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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