The long-running Oracle-PeopleSoft saga is drawing to an end with the integration of PeopleSoft into the Oracle organisation. With this, Oracle has achieved its ambition of becoming the number one enterprise applications vendor in the US at least and it now boasts that it has 23,000 applications customers worldwide.
When this acquisition was first announced some 18 months ago many commentators doubted the motives of Oracle's front man, Larry Ellison, envisaging that his intention was merely to kill of a competitor.
But Ellison has confounded all sceptics and has not only promised to support all PeopleSoft and JDEdwards product lines until at least 2013, but has even announced plans to continue developments of new versions of the products for release to existing customers. To do this, he is even keeping on 90 per cent of PeopleSoft's developers and support staff.
At the same time, Oracle is to begin development of a suite of applications that incorporate the best technology from among all of the product lines that it now owns, which Ellision states will form a superset of all the product suites.
With this new product line, Oracle is promising to concentrate development on information-oriented applications, as opposed to process automation applications. What this promises is that, instead of merely automating existing processes to gain productivity and cost improvements in corporate operations, the new applications will allow customers to perform better analyses of the way that their businesses are performing, such as the ability to see which suppliers are the best for a firm in terms of total cost to the business instead, for example, which suppliers offer the lowest list prices.
All this appears to bode well for customers of all the former vendors – Oracle, PeopleSoft and JDEdwards. But where is the sting in the tail? Will Oracle salespeople really respond to requests to purchase PeopleSoft and JDEdwards product lines? Or is this really an effort to stop PeopleSoft customers from defecting to rivals such as SAP or Microsoft?
Many people at the Oracle Analyst Day in New York on Wednesday (25 Jan) have listened to Ellison bashing former rival PeopleSoft over the years. It comes as a surprise that he has changed his tune to such an extent and has promised to heed the wishes of the new customers that Oracle has acquired. But it took a member of the audience to draw Ellison on Oracle's strategy for new sales – when pushed, Ellison admitted that the Oracle salesforce has been instructed to work very hard to persuade new customers to purchase the Oracle e-Business Suite, rather than product lines from PeopleSoft or JDEdwards.
If you are an existing customer, it seems that you do not need to be worried about what this acquisition means for you, for the moment at least, but if you haven't yet made an intended purchase of PeopleSoft or JDEdwards but still intend to do so, you may well have a fight on your hands.