With Oracle in an acquisition frenzy, acquiring more than a dozen companies in as many months, the market for third-party support is rife with opportunity, according to at least one such provider, NetCustomer.
NetCustomer announced March 7 direct support and services for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers—a group that had no choice but to play along in the tumultuous 18-month takeover battle that culminated in January 2005 with Oracles $10.3 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft, and by default JD Edwards.
NetCustomers on demand services include traditional application support for “50 cents on the dollar,” as well as custom application development expertise, according to its chairman and CEO Punita Pandey.
The companys services include product support and maintenance, application management and administration, and report development and customization.
Back in 2001, Ram Gupta, former executive vice president of Products & Technology at PeopleSoft, was charged with leveraging a global model of software support at PeopleSoft.
He contracted work with India-based NetCustomer to develop a model with a global scope that could scale PeopleSofts support center.
“NetCustomer designed, implemented and executed our 24-7 India support center and successfully supported worldwide PeopleSoft customers for several years,” Gupta said in a statement.
With Oracles takeover of PeopleSoft in January 2005, NetCustomer was asked to extend its model to include Oracle.
But on further review, the company declined the offer, according to NetCustomer chairman and CEO Punita Pandey.
“In 2005 we mutually decided, at least NetCustomer did, that Oracle has a different strategy—their philosophy is different [from PeopleSofts],” said Pandey, in San Jose, Calif.
“From our perspective, its Oracles partnership attitude. We are a small company and a lot more comfortable working with PeopleSoft than Oracle, and how our goals are aligned. So as entrepreneurs we decided the market opportunity is too huge to be developed just for a vendor.”
The clincher in moving away from Oracle to market directly to PeopleSoft and JDE customers is that NetCustomer has a lot more freedom working on its own, “rather than with a vendor that would control the lion share of our revenue and dictate what [path] we ought to follow,” said Pandey.
NetCustomer is not alone in offering third-party support to PeopleSoft and JDE customers.
TomorrowNow, for example, a company that started when PeopleSoft was on the verge of being acquired by Oracle in 2004, also offers similar support.
That company was acquired last year by SAP, Oracles archrival.
(TomorrowNow founder Seth Ravin started another third-party support company, Rimini Street, aimed at Siebel customers, which Oracle acquired Jan. 31 when it bought the company for $5.85 billion.)
Pandey said a big difference between NetCustomer and other third-party support providers is that its an India-based company.
“We still have 50 cents saved on the dollar…but you give us 50 cents and we give you $1 worth of support, thats customized,” said Pandey.
“Because of our global model, set up in India, we can do a lot of customized services. We can offer more for less, rather than less for less.”