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JD Edwards users not sold on PeopleSoft's takeover

Twelve months after it paid $1.8bn (£1bn) to buy business applications rival JD Edwards, PeopleSoft has yet to get a big sales boost from the deal.

Based on interviews with 15 JD Edwards users and an informal poll of 48 IT managers conducted this week, PeopleSoft is far from winning over its new customer base. 

Five of the users who were interviewed said unequivocally that life with PeopleSoft is better than it was under JD Edwards. But several said it was worse in at least some aspects, and the others indicated that they are still on the fence about the acquisition. 

The poll reflected even sharper attitudes toward the buy-out, which PeopleSoft completed last August. Twenty-one of the JD Edwards users who responded said PeopleSoft's takeover has had a negative effect on them, while six said the deal has been positive. 

In addition, 29 of the respondents said they would have preferred that JD Edwards remained independent. Ten voiced support for the company's acquisition. 

Fredrick Pond, director of information services at JD Edwards user Schnitzer Steel Industries and president of independent user group Quest International, said the customer support and software development operations for the applications he uses are running at about the same levels as they did under JD Edwards. 

However, like some other users, Pond has had to change sales representatives and has raised concerns about PeopleSoft's software licensing policies. 

Differences in corporate culture have also affected user perceptions about PeopleSoft. "JD Edwards was very relationship-oriented," Pond said, adding that he thinks PeopleSoft is more sales-oriented. 

"We used to have a close connection with JD Edwards, but now we're no longer the big fish in the pond," said Mari Jo Moody, manager of customer support at Batesville Casket. 

Despite such comments, PeopleSoft sees the acquisition as a big success, said Ram Gupta, PeopleSoft's vice-president of products and technology. "We have added more products, increased the research and development, and are getting cultural benefits from the companies' similarity, and we are adding better support." 

Users said that one plus is that PeopleSoft has upheld its commitment to enhance the product lines developed by JD Edwards, including its World green-screen applications. PeopleSoft has released new versions of both the World software and the more modern JD Edwards 5 applications, which are now called EnterpriseOne. 

Marc L. Songini writes for Computerworld


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