SAP tries to poach JDE users after takeover

SAP conference SAP to offer special terms to tempt PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users

SAP conference SAP to offer special terms to tempt PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users

SAP has invited key PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers to its Sapphire annual user conference in Orlando this week.

The move is part of a serious bid by the software giant to win new enterprise users from the Oracle, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards takeover battle.

The Sapphire move is buttressed by a global advertising campaign playing on the fears of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers. It asks, "Will your needs continue to be addressed? Or will you find your business playing second fiddle to the turmoil of mergers and acquisitions?"

SAP is also promising special financial terms for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers that want to migrate from their existing software to the mySAP enterprise resource planning package.

Despite the turmoil in the ERP market, the show will focus on new products and customers. Among the announcements to be unveiled is a partnership with online auction site eBay which will allow enterprises to auction excess inventory.

eBay uses SAP's humanresources and financial packages for its internal operations and the two companies have combined to allow users of SAP's supplier relationship management and e-business products to seamlessly link into eBay's auction systems.

With SAP claiming 19,600 global users, "this represents a huge business opportunity for both eBay and major corporations", said a SAP spokesman.

Hella, a global supplier of lighting to the auto industry, was set to announce significant savings through deploying SAP R/3 ERP systems on Fujitsu Siemens blade servers.

SAP is claiming its Netweaver architecture combines effectively with blade server architecture to allow users to manage varying workloads and can deliver a saving of up to 30% on hardware operations spending.

The company was set to announce a range of upgrades at Sapphire, including a new, full release of its customer relationship management solution, which will initially be offered with 12 industry-specific solutions. A SAP spokesman described it as "one of the most significant development projects ever".

The company was also set to launch an upgrade to its supply chain management software and claimed it was the world's number one supplier in the field, outstripping rivals i2 and Manugistics.

Like other software suppliers, SAP is focusing on small businesses. It was set to announce a range of "micro vertical" offerings, developed with partners such as IBM and BearingPoint.

Analysts' views

PeopleSoft chief executive officer Craig Conway has called Oracle's $5.1bn offer for his company "atrociously bad behaviour from a company with a history of atrociously bad behaviour".

Industry analysts, while using less dramatic language, are almost universally agreed that if the bid goes through, PeopleSoft users will be in for a rough transition.

A Gartner paper on the merger warned PeopleSoft users that had recently upgraded to version 8 that they "should reconsider as Oracle is likely to provide only minimal enhancements to version 8".

Analyst group Ovum was quick to warn PeopleSoft users that have not yet upgraded to version 8 to "do nothing until the dust settles".

"Oracle's offer to extend the maintenance period on PeopleSoft 7 beyond the year-end deadline offered by PeopleSoft itself gives them a welcome breathing space to examine their options," Ovum said.

"Obviously it would not make sense to upgrade to PeopleSoft 8 if the merger succeeds, but it would also not be obvious for PeopleSoft 8 users to migrate to Oracle eBusiness."

According to Forrester analyst Laurie Orlov, PeopleSoft customers would face a forced migration if the Oracle bid succeeds. "Larry Ellison was clear that the move was about acquiring a new customer base for Oracle's E-business Suite," she wrote.

But IDC analyst Albert Pang thought Oracle would be sensitive to the needs of PeopleSoft customers. "They are not going to abandon more than 4,000 of these blue-chip customers," he said.

What happened when

2 June:   PeopleSoft announces acquisition of JD Edwards in £1bn deal

3 June: Invensys completes £82m sale of ERP specialist Baan to two US-based equity groups - General Atlantic Partners and Cerberus Capital Management

6 June: Oracle announces hostile $5.1bn (£3bn) offer for PeopleSoft

11 June: PeopleSoft says it will seek a temporary restraining order against Oracle bid

12 June: PeopleSoft's board of directors votes unanimously to recommend shareholders reject Oracle's unsolicited $5.1bn takeover bid.

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