PeopleSoft chief woos SAP faithful

PeopleSoft president and chief executive officer Graig Conway has claimed his company is giving rival SAP a run for its money.

PeopleSoft president and chief executive officer Graig Conway has claimed his company is giving rival SAP a run for its money.

"I'm glad to be here, deep within the enemy territory of SAP," Conway said in his keynote speech at the annual Strategic IT Management Conference in Germany earlier this week. He went on to say how his company is challenging its German rival with innovation, lower cost of ownership  and less costly maintenance.

Looking back, Conway said enterprise applications have come a long way - from helping enterprises initially crunch numbers in their financial, personnel and manufacturing departments to connecting these applications via the internet to be accessed anywhere in the world from any web device.

The next wave of technology, he said, is the fully internet-based user portal offering real-time information, embedded analytic functions and relevant roles-based content, which, allows users to see only the data they are supposed to see.

These new enterprise applications, he added, have gone from initially offering "transactional efficiency" to IT departments to providing a wealth of web services to all users across the enterprise as well as their external suppliers.

Addressing a sensitive issue with German IT executives hard hit by the economic downturn, Conway said enterprise applications have, traditionally, been expensive.

"Enterprise applications require a lot of people to handle installation, configuration, implementation, updates, integration and more," he said. "Now it's time to have technology do more of what people have to do today."

To that end, around half of PeopleSoft's software programmers are working on making applications easier for customers, Conway said. Goals include one-day installations, updates without bringing the production system down and embedded performance monitors for users to check how the system is performing.

In addition to its lower licence costs, PeopleSoft is winning customers over with its flexibility in coping with changing business processes and system components, Conway claimed.

"We are widely known as being more flexible than SAP," he said, adding that numerous German companies have become PeopleSoft customers for this very reason. Big names include BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa.

John Blau writes for IDG News Service

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