Oracle is taking steps to make any migration process easier for users. The company has adopted PeopleSofts Total Ownership Experience initiativerechristened the Superior Ownership Experiencean effort to develop best practices for reducing upgrade and installation headaches, and add system-monitoring capabilities. "We cant support 20 versions of the same applications," Phillips said. "Everybody wins if we make it easier to evolve to [Project Fusion].""If your customization is unique, chances are youll have to do it again," Wookey said. "If you did it because of the immaturity of your application at the time, then its a matter of mapping of data models and business processes, [and] thats something we think we can help with." Matelski said he still expected Oracle to allow some form of customization post-Project Fusion, even if its not with PeopleTools. "What Oracle will need to do is apprise customers as to what product release they need to be on for World, EnterpriseOne, Enterprise, and E-Business Suite that will ensure the cleanest migration to the new product suite," he said. "Once that baseline for migration has been established, then Oracle developers can do what they need to do to ensure that all customizations supported in those versions are brought across to the new product." Phillips and Wookey reiterated plans to support all PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards applications until at least 2013 and said it was likely support would continue beyond then. In addition, they announced that Oracle had extended support for J.D. Edwards Enterprise One Xe through February 2007 and for EnterpriseOne 8.0 through June 2007. Some analysts interpret Project Fusion as a sign that customers shouldnt count on sticking with PeopleSoft applications. Click here to read more. The Boston-area event Wednesday drew an overflow crowd and was one of several customer events Oracle is holding at various sites around the country. Matelski praised Oracle for reaching out to customers. "To me, this shows not only Oracles commitment to getting a consistent message out, [but also] their desire to get as much direct customer feedback as possible," he said. Oracle also is winning high praise for its relations with the various independent user groups it inherited when it bought PeopleSoft, and it is supporting collaboration and joint conferences among those user groups, Matelski said. Matelski is executive vice president of the Quest International Users Group, made up of users of J.D. Edwards technology. Whalen is president of the PeopleSoft International Customer Advisory Board. "Theyve been very embracing of advisory boards and user groups," Whalen said. "Theyve used the merger as a catalyst for making those relationships very positive." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Pain points may be inevitable for some customers though. For at least the past five years, Oracle has strongly discouraged customization of its applications. Meanwhile, PeopleSoft made its advanced customization capabilities a competitive differentiator through its PeopleTools tool kit, leaving many PeopleSoft customers with heavily customized applications today. Those customers will have a more difficult time migrating, Wookey conceded.