PeopleSoft acquisition presents opportunities
Prediction No. 4: Supply chain players may benefit from disenchantment among PeopleSoft users over the Oracle buyout, but probably not directly. Many PeopleSoft customers are currently less than thrilled by Oracles purchase of PeopleSoft, including those inherited through PeopleSofts J.D. Edwards acquisition. Oracle is trying to hold on to the PeopleSoft user base, but Microsoft, for one, is already out there trying to generate new business for its ERP arm. SAP senses opportunities, too.Oracles move might also open up opportunities for best-of-breed players in 2005, particularly those with modular architectures. Companies the size of i2 and Manugistics have much smaller sales forces than Microsoft, SAP or Oracle, for instance. On the other hand, i2 and Manugistics both garner large enterprise accounts, sometimes with the help of large systems integrator allies.Interestingly, i2 and Manugistics each count IBM among their major partners. Coincidentally, in Septemberonly two months before Oracle completed its bid for PeopleSoftPeopleSoft inked a $1 billion deal with IBM to add a middleware layer to PeopleSoft applications. Prediction No. 5: RFID will remain a question mark, even as products based on the NextGen standard hit the market in the second half of 2005. If my crystal ball was a snow globe, RFID pilots and deployments would be the snowflakes. How, where, and when RFID shakes out will have a big impact on the supply chain landscape, not just in 2005 but for at least a decade or two to come. Big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target and the U.S. Department of Defense initially set Jan. 1, 2005 as their deadlines for RFID compliance. But with the new year approaching, large buyers show signs of softening their RFID demands. Also, as of November, product suppliers rushing to meet the deadlines found it tough to come up with the first spate of RFID hardware from vendors. In December of this year, epcGlobal finally ratified its Next Generation RFID spec, three months later than originally anticipated. Texas Instruments unveiled plans to ship Next Generation chips in the second half of 2005. Consequently, well probably be seeing a lot more deployments toward the second half of this year. Still, though, some customers are looking at 2010 or beyond as the date for full-scale RFID rollouts. Product suppliers are complaining that, as of yet, their return from RFID has added up to zilch. But on the other hand, theyve already spent $250 million on the still emerging wireless technology. So despite the myriad criticisms leveled against RFIDranging from privacy and security concerns to general immaturity of the technologyRFID has indeed started generating revenues for vendors. And in this economy, thats no mean feat. Click here to read more about the role RFID could play in securing supply chains. Prediction No. 6: Supply chain security will pick up steam in 2005. Due to technological advancements, together with lingering fears of terrorism, supply chain security can only heat up in 2005. In December of this year, the US-based National Cargo Security Council unveiled plans to expand to other continents, change its name to International Cargo Security Council, and help supply chain security pros explore new technologies for fighting terrorism and theft. New surveillance technologies are already being used in transportation and logistics to pinpoint suspicious packages, peer inside transport vehicles and positively identify people through darkness and fog. Other emerging tools include gamma rays, X-ray back scatter and radiological sensors. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.