What a difference a year, a new leader and a new flagship product can make. Just ask the folks who are watching PeopleSoft.
"Id say the opportunities [for PeopleSoft experts and partners] is pretty fantastic," says Laurie Orlov, an analyst at Forrester Research. You almost feel like knocking on some nearby wood when Orlov lists the reasons she is feeling so rosy about PeopleSoft. You want her to, perhaps, whisper.
She points to the fact that PeopleSoft has more than 3,000 customers ready, willing and able to buy its "add-ons and upgrades," particularly the long-awaited and widely lauded PeopleSoft 8, which was released in September 2000.
"I think the ERP market in general is reviving," adds Orlov. "And, to my knowledge, PeopleSoft has been reviving since the summer. They bought a CRM company. They have new e-procurement software."
A number of PeopleSoft partners are equally confident, both about the attractiveness of the HTML and XML-based PeopleSoft 8 and the job at the helm being performed by the companys new president, former Oracle executive Craig Conway.
"Were very excited," says Kelly Griffith, recruiting manager for ClienTech Online Solutions in Orlando, Fla. "Were seeing a very strong demand for PeopleSoft."
As a result, PeopleSoft pros draw good salaries, and their paychecks are easily covered by the consulting fees they generate. Dice.com public relations manager Susan Simcox says PeopleSoft consultants earn about 17 percent more than most IT consultants.
An informal salary survey by Sm@rt Partner found PeopleSoft specialists earn at least $60,000 per year—with top salaries breaking the $200,000 barrier. Low-end billing rates come in at about $80 per hour, but can soar to as much as $250 per hour.
While Scott DeGeer, VP of sales for CDG and Associates in Dallas, sees many customers leaning toward Oracles ERP products these days, he believes PeopleSoft 8 will continue to be a big seller at CDG. "Theres generally a tremendous amount of market demand," he says, praising PeopleSoft for pulling itself up by its bootstraps. "They stepped back and took a hard look at themselves, and realized they were going to have to come up with something totally new to reestablish themselves in this market."