Paring Down Partners

When it comes to partnering, PeopleSoft firmly believes that less is more.

When it comes to partnering, PeopleSoft firmly believes that less is more. After lining up too many allies in the mid-1990s, the company now has around 35 close consulting partners—down about 60 percent from a few years ago.

"Several years ago, we probably partnered with 90 firms globally," says Jay Fulcher, executive VP of PeopleSoft Global Services. "Today, that list is under 35 globally. However, the remaining partnerships are very large and very robust. All of them have made substantial investments in PeopleSoft platforms."

Think of names like Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), IBM Global Services and regional consultancy Accuent of Parsippany, N.J., and you get the picture. Most of PeopleSofts partners are certified to install the PeopleSoft 8 software suite and related CRM applications. "Certification is a core piece of our partner ecosystem," says Fulcher. "It allows our [customers] to work with fewer—but better—partners."

Still, fewer partners hasnt led to longer projects. On the contrary, the typical PeopleSoft 8 installation requires around 16 weeks to complete. During the client/server rage of the mid-1990s, most PeopleSoft installations required six to eight months, says Fulcher. Several factors have trimmed installation times by 50 percent or more. Most notably, the PeopleSoft 8 suite is entirely browser-based on the client. That allows PeopleSofts partners to focus on back-end integration work, rather than troubleshooting thousands of distributed desktops. "We had 420 projects last year," says Fulcher. "Well over 200 of them were completed in 16 weeks or less."

When Fulcher isnt busy lining up allies, hes combing the market for possible acquisitions. "Were in listen mode," says Fulcher. "Wed certainly consider [acquisition] opportunities that broaden our Web skills."