No Sudden Migration

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-12-13 Print this article Print

Michael Osmonde, an IT systems analyst with Crane & Co. Inc., a Dalton, Mass., manufacturer of high-grade paper for stationery and U.S. currency, said he was surprised that Oracles pursuit was so prolonged. "When it was announced 18 months ago, I figured that it was just a matter of time before it happened anyway," Osmonde said. "Then I thought, if thats the case, should they be fighting it as hard as they did?" Osmonde said that while he understood the company was trying to get the best deal for shareholders and customers, it did keep customers in doubt for 18 months. "Its good that it is finally that the deal will actually go through," so customers can find out what kind of product support they actually will get, he said. Whether its good for the overall ERP marketplace remains to be seen, Osmonde added.
"If it turns out that [Oracle] wont enhance it a lot, ... then we will have to evaluate the situation and do what is best for the company," he said.
"Right now, I think we are pretty much in a holding pattern. The reputation that Oracle has [in terms of the quality of its own applications and its third-party product support] is not the greatest," he said, adding that Crane & Co. is "waiting to see" what Oracle does with the J.D. Edwards/PeopleSoft World ERP software it uses. Whatever the new products and enhancements the merged companies introduce, customers are going to take their time about making significant changes to their ERP software installations, said Tony Baer, principal analyst at onStrategies, a software industry research group based in New York. Click here to read about why SAP AG believes that the buyout gives it an opportunity to win over PeopleSoft customers who are not happy about the upgrade uncertainties. "Switching an ERP system is not a trivial process—you are talking about the core business processes of your company," Baer said. Enterprises "are not going to chance it unless there is a sound business reason for doing do," regardless of the upgrade plans of the merged Oracle-PeopleSoft organization. Nor does Baer expect to see a mass migration to SAP or some other competing product as a result of the merger. Customers typically feel that they spent so much time and money installing their ERP system that they dont want to repeat the process unless it is a business necessity, he said. From Oracles latest public statement, it looks like PeopleSoft customers will be able to go through two upgrade cycles before they face a decision on whether to move to a new product, Baer said. "If the upgrade process is bumpy, then you might see some churn or some migration to SAP," he said. "But you are not going to see churn because some people dont like Larry Ellison," he said. The decision will be strictly business, not emotional, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is'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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