Benevolent or paternalistic arent words that have ever been seriously associated with Oracle or with its founder and CEO, Larry Ellison. Business is business, and now that PeopleSoft is about to disappear into Oracles labyrinthine halls, everybody is going to have to cut the best deal that they can.
So, to all PeopleSoft employees, that means taking a close look at your role at PeopleSoft and soberly considering whether there will be a place for you in the new organization.
Customers are in a far stronger position. There are still plenty of ERP (enterprise resource planning) software companies in business, allowing them to play Oracle off against the competition. But its still time to consider the current status of existing PeopleSoft installations and what their useful life is likely to be.
Customers whose installations are up-to-date and running smoothly have the luxury of doing nothing at all and waiting for Oracle to make the first move. Once Oracle gets its product strategy in place early in 2005, the challenge for customers will be to ensure that they are able to control their own destiny in terms of product support and an upgrade path.
Dont hesitate to hold Oracle to all of the promises it made during the interminable legal maneuvers leading up to buyout. Make Oracle fulfill its pledge to provide a full 10 years of support for PeopleSoft applications.
Watch out for any backsliding from Ellison statements that Oracle will release a PeopleSoft 9 and a J.D. Edwards 6. If Oracle appears to be waffling on that pledge, it may be time to consider a shift to other ERP applications.
Even customers who are confident that Oracle will fulfill all of its promises should consider whether the time will come in the next five or 10 years to review their companys entire ERP installation to see if alternative products might deliver greater business benefits.