SAP Extends Grab for PeopleSoft Users

The Safe Passage Program promises migration support to SAP's NetWeaver platform for customers uncertain about the future of Oracle's Project Fusion.

In another move to attract Oracle customers, SAP has extended its Safe Passage Program to all users of J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft applications.

SAP AGs Safe Passage program, which the company rolled out in January hard on the heels of Oracles PeopleSoft acquisition announcement, initially pertained only to SAP customers who also use PeopleSoft and JDE applications.

The program provided a discounted migration plan, allowing users to maintain their current PeopleSoft and JDE application support while migrating to MySAP ERP (enterprise resource planning). It was enabled by SAPs purchase of TomorrowNow Inc., a third-party maintenance provider for PeopleSoft applications.

SAP on Monday extended that program to more than 6,500 Oracle customers running PeopleSoft and JDE applications in the United States.

The rationale is to provide a "safe passage" to companies facing uncertainties caused by Oracles acquisition of, and subsequent integration of, PeopleSoft and its technologies.

That includes technology from JDE, which PeopleSoft acquired shortly before Oracle launched its long and aggressive campaign to purchase PeopleSoft in the summer of 2003.

"PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers are facing the planned obsolescence of their software investment, and this is a major point of concern for companies that have already been forced to weather the takeover storm by Oracle," said SAP America President and CEO Bill McDermott, in a statement.

Under the program, companies running PeopleSoft and JDE will be able to move to SAPs NetWeaver platform. The program also includes maintenance, migration and support offered via TomorrowNow.

Upon launching the combined Oracle and PeopleSoft in January, Oracle outlined Project Fusion, the code name for a suite of products that will merge the best from all three product sets—Oracle, PeopleSoft and JDE applications.

/zimages/3/28571.gifAnalysts say Project Fusion is the death knell for PeopleSoft applications. Click here to read more.

Oracle next year is slated to deliver the first Project Fusion components, including data hubs, which Oracle announced at Oracle OpenWorld in December. Project Fusion applications will follow in 2007, with the entire suite to be ready by 2008.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead a Q&A with Oracle senior director of Customer Data Hubs Peter Heller here.

The second wave of SAPs Safe Passage Program will include an independent analyst report detailing the "considerable challenges" created by this integration, which will cover multiple tool sets, platforms, applications and corporate cultures, SAP said in its press release.

Analysts werent surprised by SAPs latest move. "I dont think [SAP] has anything to lose" by extending the program, said Paul Hamerman, an analyst for Forrester Research Inc.

Hamerman said that the initial program didnt result in much migration away from Oracle. "The switching costs are very high," he said. "A very high percentage of customers will stay with what they have, at least for the next couple of years, when they see what kind of transition choices they have with the Fusion release, and they can decide whether to go forward with Oracles transition path or look for another vendor."

But even if customers dont buy into a wholesale migration away from Oracle, many are still evincing interest in using TomorrowNow for maintenance without a full-scale migration, Hamerman said.

Next Page: Analysts say the move makes SAP an option for customers.