In an effort to answer customer concerns about the Oracle-PeopleSoft takeover, Quest, a non-profit J.D. Edwards users group, has invited both Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. executives to address its Quest West user conference, which takes place Feb. 29-March 2 in San Diego.
Oracle President Chuck Phillips has accepted the offer and will address the user group on March 1 at an as-yet-undetermined time, according to an Oracle spokeswoman.
In keeping with the rocky relations between PeopleSoft and the user group, the company has not taken the group up on the offer. The reason, according to Steve Swasey, a spokesman for PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., is that the forum is all wrong as a venue. "Were not going to participate," Swasey said. "Theres no need to get into a tit-for-tat with Oracle. Its not the right venue, its not the right place, and its not the right time."
Relations between PeopleSoft and Quest soured over the past few months as the two have played tug-of-war over questions of who will run and support which conferences. According to Barb Schmit, Quest president and CIO of CNT, a solutions provider based in Minneapolis, much of the strain in the relationship boils down to incompatible cultures—i.e., the midmarket culture traditionally associated with J.D. Edwards customers, as opposed to the large enterprise market that forms a large percentage of PeopleSofts user base.
"Its difficult when you go into a room full of people, and youre talking about product differences and trying to identify weaknesses within products that need to be addressed on a go-forward basis, and youre maybe a 1,000-employee company, and youre talking to somebody with maybe 50,000 employees," she said. "The question is, Do you have a big voice? Thats where the difference is between the midmarket and the enterprise. I understand its difficult to integrate [two companies and product sets]. Its difficult and costly to maintain two sets of software. But theres clearly some difference between the midmarket and the enterprise."