"Software companies have always coveted selling software to the midmarket," he said. "The problem was there was no imperative for midsized companies to deploy enterprise software. Today, there is such an imperative. "Midsize companies have become part of the global business network, the ecosystem of business. Look at Wal-Mart, they have 30,000 suppliers. Today, theres more than an incentive, theres almost a requirement that smaller companies have access to the same tools and same technologies as larger companies."And what does the future hold for the company? "As the economy improves, companies will increase their spending," Conway said. "That will be good for PeopleSoft. And it will benefit us more than our competitors when you look at those five trends." Conway said "business process outsourcers" would be the "sequel" to ASPs, but that those companies still will require a "rich, proven suite of enterprise software applications. Our software is available to most BPOs," he said. He derided Microsoft Corp.s .Net, IBM Corp.s WebSphere and SAPs NetWeaver as integration technologies. "To be honest, Im not sure theyre good for customers," he said. "They seem proprietary. We use a service-oriented architecture to build composite applications. I believe thats a better approach." Conway described offshoring as a reality for all companies but one that provides only temporary advantage, since all companies can ultimately do it. "Technology is the ultimate advantage," he said, noting that banks improved their level of service by developing automated teller machines and other companies have delivered better customer service by improving information available to customers, not by offshoring customer-service operations. "Technology is still the best permanent advantage available to all of us," he said. "Thats what keeps all of us excited about our jobs." At the end of the news conference preceding his keynote, Conway resorted to military imagery to describe battles to come with SAP. "The assault on Mount SAP requires another development cycle," he said. "Were evaluating that now." Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Many of PeopleSofts announcements at the conference addressed these issues.