At the official launch of a combined Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. Tuesday, Oracle executives outlined the companys commitment to PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards & Co. customers, as well as the companys future plans with a combined suite.
PeopleSoft, now part of Oracle after an 18-month battle to remain independent, acquired JDE in the summer of 2003.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison covered a broad swath regarding the companys commitment to PeopleSofts application development and support, promising to continue to support and enhance its three product lines—Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, and EnterpriseOne—until 2013. The company will continue the development of Enterprise and EnterpriseOnes current versions, develop the next iterations of both suites, and begin work on a combined super suite.
In some cases—primarily, it seems, with World, JDEs oldest line of software—Oracle plans to extend support for PeopleSofts product lines beyond what PeopleSoft itself offered.
The successor suite of products, dubbed Project Fusion, will merge the best functionality from each suite, using an open-standards Java-based platform, according to Ellison, whose biggest current hurdle seems to be convincing users, analysts and press that the newly combined company can maintain all three product lines and at the same time develop new technology.
“Im going to try and persuade you that we can do both,” said Ellison, at the companys Redwood Shores, Calif., headquarters. “We are very large, with 50,000 employees. We can do both. We can develop three lines while simultaneously developing a new suite. We can do it. We have enough people and enough resources.”
Ellison also said Oracle would continue to support PeopleSoft and JDE users underlying infrastructures, including technology from IBM, Microsoft Corp. and BEA Systems Inc., until 2013. Because it did not have its own database and application server technology, PeopleSoft wrote an abstraction layer to its applications that supports Oracles and IBMs database, as well as Oracles and BEAs application server.
Users will, however, eventually have to look at migration, according to Ellison.
“We are not asking anyone to stay frozen [on their current infrastructure],” he said. “But we expect people to at some point between now and 2013—sometime before that—to upgrade to Project Fusion.”
It was not clear from Tuesdays conference what the Fusion architecture will consist of.
Continuity and consistency being a key theme during the official launch of the combined Oracle and PeopleSoft, Ellison said that in terms of support, PeopleSoft users should not be surprised, when they call the new company regarding a software issue, to have the same support person they were dealing with at PeopleSoft answer the phone at Oracle.
While Oracle started the process last week of laying off nearly half of PeopleSofts 11,000 employees, Ellison said Tuesday that Oracle has extended offers to 90 percent of PeopleSofts development and support personnel.
John Wookey, the new executive vice president of application development, and Jeurgan Rottler, the new executive vice president of global product support, drilled down deeper into Oracles plans for product development and support.
eWEEK reported earlier this month that Oracle quietly replaced two top executives, Ron Wohl, former executive vice president of application development, and Michael Rocha, former executive vice president of global product support. While Oracle declined to confirm the new appointments at the time, Tuesdays conference confirmed the executive placements.
Wookey said Oracles approach to application development moving forward will bring in elements of PeopleSofts organizational structure. Changes at Oracle include bringing development and support under a single leadership and adding new executives from both the Oracle and PeopleSoft side of the house to oversee product development and strategy, as well as Fusion development.
Joel Summers, an 11-year veteran of the Oracle Human Resources Management Systems team, will head the development of PeopleSoft applications. “Some of the things that made PeopleSoft unique as a company are the things we want to inherit,” Wookey said. “Thats one of the charters Joel has as his responsibility.”
Former PeopleSoft executive Jesper Andersen will head the strategy group, whose main goal will be to provide a common product roadmap for Oracles three product lines. Andersen will also oversee the hundreds of Oracle and former PeopleSoft employees charged with determining the feature set of the Fusion suite.
Cliff Godwin, an Oracle executive, will be in charge of another new group that will focus on bringing the Oracle and PeopleSoft architectures together.
Wookey also outlined Oracles current product roadmap. During 2005, PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 will be completed. In 2006, users can expect the Oracle E-Business Suite, version 12, as well as PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 and EnterpriseOne 8.12. Wookey said ongoing World enhancements will be delivered “continuously.”
Also in 2006, users can expect to see the first Project Fusion components, including data hubs—many of which Oracle has already announced—and transaction bases.
The first Project Fusion applications will be available sometime in 2007. The full suite will be ready in 2008, according to Wookey.
Rottler, Oracles new head of global support, reiterated Ellisons “support through 2013” mantra, and announced that the company will extend support for JDE Enterprise XE and 8.0 support until February 2007. PeopleSoft had originally said it wouldnt support the products past this month.
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