PeopleSoft Customers Tested

Users will consider future in wake of deal.

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Once the dust settles on Oracle Corp.s acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc., current PeopleSoft customers will be forced to make a decision: wholly embrace the Oracle technology or abandon all ties to the database maker.

PeopleSoft users will be huddling together over the next several months to determine how viable PeopleSoft technology is as part of their mixed IT environments and installed databases as Oracle begins to assert its control and guidance over the future of PeopleSofts applications.

Last week, Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., reeled in PeopleSoft for $10 billion, bringing to an end its exhaustive 18-month legal and monetary pursuit of the ERP (enterprise resource planning) and human resources applications provider.

Oracle co-President Charles Phillips said last week that having PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., in the fold should help pave the way for customers to switch to non-Oracle database software.

"I would surmise that, yes, at some point, there will be some customers who perhaps are using PeopleSoft on [IBM] DB2, and they migrate over to the Oracle E-Business Suite and they end up with the Oracle product as the database as well," said Phillips. "There are substantial upsell opportunities around BI [business intelligence], analytics, portals, things like that, and that will help our tech business as well, just having the relationships."

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pledged last week to release upgraded versions of PeopleSofts and J.D. Edwards enterprise suites—PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 and EnterpriseOne 6—in the next 18 to 24 months. Ellison said Oracle will consider a PeopleSoft 10 suite, and the company is already developing plans for a merged supersuite, expected sometime between 30 and 36 months from now, that will include functionality from Oracle, PeopleSoft and JDE.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about how Oracle is reaching out to JDE users.

Oracle is not yet pushing a merged-suite migration for PeopleSoft customers, although it has pledged to support PeopleSofts software for the next 10 years. The company has not said how long it will support the technology infrastructures that PeopleSofts applications currently support.

PeopleSoft currently writes an abstraction layer to its applications to support Oracle and IBM databases and BEA Systems Inc. and IBM application servers.

About 62 percent of PeopleSofts 12,750 customers use the Oracle database.

An Oracle spokesperson could not immediately answer whether Enterprise 9, EnterpriseOne 6 and the merged suite would be optimized for the Oracle database and application server only.

Andrew Albarelle, chief principal officer at IT staffing company Remy Corp., is a PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.8 user who runs Microsofts SQL Server database. Albarelle met with his staff late last week to discuss whether to continue maintenance with Oracle post acquisition.

"One of the topics of conversation: Will Oracle support our SQL Server environment?" said Albarelle in Denver. "Immediately, the answer is yes, but, eventually, they will want us to move to the Oracle database, and thats not something we want to do."

Albarelle is considering a migration to Microsofts ERP suite, supported by SQL.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is ready to oblige. Last week it sent a letter to PeopleSoft users outlining various options to extensions of their existing PeopleSoft investments to Microsoft products and platforms, such as Microsoft Business Solutions.

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