The PeopleSoft/Oracle situation was the subject on everyone’s mind at PeopleSoft’s recent Connect 2004 user conference in San Francisco; naturally, it was also the first issue that Craig Conway addressed in his keynote.
“Have you ever had a bad dream that just didn’t seem to end?” the PeopleSoft chief executive officer quipped, to the seeming appreciation of more than 15,000 customers and partners.
Little did he know his Oracle-dominated “bad dream” was about to come to an abrupt end. Ten days later the company’s board of directors fired him. On 1 October he was replaced by Dave Duffield, PeopleSoft’s founder and chairman.
Conway’s dismissal was due to a “loss of confidence” in the CEO’s ability to lead PeopleSoft, the company said in a statement.
At the time, in San Francisco, Conway’s “bad dream” was pointedly referring to the 15-month saga that is Oracle’s hostile takeover bid for the ERP supplier. The all-cash tender offer to PeopleSoft’s shareholders currently has an estimated value of $7.7bn (£4.2bn). A recent US court ruling dismissed the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) attempt to quash the transaction on antitrust grounds.
This does not mean that PeopleSoft will be acquired by Oracle, Conway said. Conway claimed PeopleSoft users are strongly against Oracle’s campaign and reeled off several points to calm fears. He noted that Oracle still needs to garner enough of PeopleSoft’s shareholders to eliminate its “poison-pill” and take over its board.
The DoJ can still file its own appeal and the European court has yet to make a ruling regarding the bid. Conway said that for legal reasons he could not comment, but said the salient points of the deal were public record.
Despite the Oracle cloud, PeopleSoft has made progress in the past year, Conway said, and pointed to the “successful” acquisition of former ERP rival JD Edwards and the enhancements made to the JDE World and EnterpriseOne software solutions.
Users at Connect didn’t seem concerned over the ongoing saga. Attendee Janice Paget, a Calgary-based director of controllership at WestJet, said the Oracle situation isn’t on the airline carrier's radar. The firm recently incorporated EnterpriseOne real-time financial reporting, commitment accounting, budget tracking and capital approvals technology.
As long as the technology is working and the support is there, it’s not really an issue, Paget said.
This sentiment was echoed by Don Beaton, director of financial information management systems for the Regional Municipality of Durham in Ontario.
The organisation is currently upgrading to PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management 8.8 from 7.5 and to Human Capital Management 8.8 and also has Oracle at the back end. The streamlined HR and payroll processing is saving the company about $5.5m, according to JoAnne Cermak, the organisation’s director of finance.
PeopleSoft has been good in keeping the organisation abreast of new happenings, Beaton said, adding he’s not overly concerned.
Gary Ouellette, a system administrator for London Hydro, noted that the Oracle state of affairs won’t be an issue as the energy provider completes a migration from World to EnterpriseOne. “This migration was apparently the first such migration in the world,” Ouellette said. “It was scary smooth.”
London Hydro is looking at getting into web-based processing so it brought him to Connect. The company’s IT environment consists of Unix/Oracle platform, which is why London Hydro wants to switch to EnterpriseOne from World running on AS/400, Ouellette said.
“We’re in a stable environment right now and really don’t have any fears. We don’t believe that any future activity with Oracle is going to impede what we’re doing right now,” Ouellette said.
Ryan Patrick writes for Computerworld