Users seek reassurance as PeopleSoft plan unveiled

Oracle chief Larry Ellison will today formally launch the combined operations of Oracle and PeopleSoft. The announcement will...

Oracle chief Larry Ellison will today formally launch the combined operations of Oracle and PeopleSoft. The announcement will mark the closure of one of the most prolonged takeover bids in the history of IT.

Oracle executives will lay out their company's corporate strategy, commitments to PeopleSoft users and a product and support roadmap. The company has already said it will maintain and develop PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications, which PeopleSoft acquired before the Oracle takeover.

However, some users of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards software will need considerable reassurance.

Mike Lowe, IT director at Calor Gas, said there was a lack of communication from Oracle and doubt over the future.

Calor Gas was a JD Edwards user and suffered from increased support costs and uncertainty after the PeopleSoft takeover. "We put development on hold for 12 months while PeopleSoft decided what it was going to do [with JD Edwards products]," said Lowe.

The development freeze harmed business performance because Calor Gas could not get access to new features and bug fixes for the applications, Lowe said.

Now Calor Gas could be faced with the same problem after Oracle's takeover of PeopleSoft, Lowe said. "There is going to be product rationalisation somewhere, but where is the product going? How long before we are forced to migrate and what will the cost be?"

Calor Gas is nearing completion of an upgrade to PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne. Now Lowe fears he could be forced into a new migration cycle. "We could be investing millions in migration with no business value," he said. "Many large businesses using PeopleSoft could be in a similar position."

The impact of Oracle's take-over of PeopleSoft goes beyond application strategy. Calor Gas has been running JD Edwards/ PeopleSoft applications mainly on IBM iSeries hardware and operating system. Oracle is likely to rationalise these technologies within its own product set, which largely runs on a Unix platform.

"Oracle is Unix-based and we do not have the skills to support it in house," Lowe said. "We would look at whatever else is out there: SAP or Microsoft."

The IT director of a major retailer that recently migrated away from PeopleSoft said, "If I were still a PeopleSoft customer I would be concerned about the need to migrate, the disruption that would cause and the training. But I would want to make the move as fast as I could. If you want access to the new capabilities they are going to be in the Oracle environment."

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