PeopleSoft pledges to keep World turning

Even though some analysts think it's simply not realistic to run three separate product lines, PeopleSoft is sticking to its plan to support iSeries shops by continuing to offer PeopleSoft World.

Despite some analysts' opinions that PeopleSoft should consider paring down its product lines, the company is committed to delivering ongoing support and enhancements to PeopleSoft World, an executive told SearchCRM.com.

PeopleSoft World is software designed to run on IBM's iSeries platform. The software was brought over as part of the J.D. Edwards & Co. acquisition. It is one of three product lines to emerge from the newly combined company and, because it serves a single platform, it might be seen as the most vulnerable.

John Schiff, PeopleSoft World's director of product strategy, said the Pleasanton, Calif.-based vendor will offer a PeopleSoft World upgrade early next year.

"We have no plans to stop it," Schiff said. "It's an ongoing enhancement policy that we have. That message has been ringing true. PeopleSoft World, as it's now called, is a pillar in the new PeopleSoft line."

However, a recent brief by Charles Homs, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, said PeopleSoft should consolidate the products and platforms it supports to save money.

Currently, PeopleSoft offers PeopleSoft Enterprise for large firms, PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne for the midmarket, and PeopleSoft World, which is geared toward small and midsized manufacturing firms running the iSeries.

Homs suggested that PeopleSoft drop support for the iSeries from the EnterpriseOne product. Homs said reducing iSeries support will save money and encourage customers to migrate to new platforms like Linux.

He also advocates building an open source stack to set PeopleSoft apart from competitors like SAP AG and Oracle Corp.

Finally, Homs proposes that PeopleSoft define a technical strategy to slash development and support costs. Supporting products on 18 different combinations of operating systems, application servers and databases is simply too expensive, Homs said in the report. Instead, PeopleSoft should focus on reducing deployment costs, he said.

"[PeopleSoft] hasn't really communicated their long-term technical strategy and the need to support three separate code bases for an indefinite period of time," said Paul Hamerman, who wrote the brief with Homs. "How do you rationalize and separate the architecture?"

Hamerman also urges caution on mixing modules from different product lines and disputes the notion that World's future is bright.

"[Customers] aren't going to see a lot done with World as far as enhancements [across product lines]," Hamerman said. "That's essentially in a maintenance mode."

World customers can count on support because they represent a profitable revenue stream for PeopleSoft, Hamerman said.

PeopleSoft's next step is to more definitively outline its long-term technical strategy. Given the work done completing the J.D. Edwards acquisition and fending off Oracle's ongoing takeover bid, Hamerman said, he isn't surprised that PeopleSoft hasn't more clearly outlined its plans.

However, according to PeopleSoft's Schiff, World customers will in fact see enhancements, including more module-to-module integration early in the second quarter of 2004, when PeopleSoft integrates its supplier relationship management product with EnterpriseOne and World. Additionally, Schiff said, PeopleSoft has no plans to combine World's code with that of the other products.

Schiff said J.D. Edwards customers can expect the same treatment as customers running software from Vantive Corp. PeopleSoft acquired Vantive several years ago and still supports its products.

That's the kind of message customers like CB Richard Ellis Inc., a property management company based in Newport Beach, Calif., want to hear. Officials with CB Richard Ellis met with PeopleSoft's chief technology officer several weeks ago to hear the company's plans for J.D. Edwards customers.

Victor Homan, director of development at CB Richard Ellis, said PeopleSoft promised support and some enhancements to PeopleSoft World, although it committed to no major changes or code development. That suits Homan just fine. CB Richard Ellis runs both World and PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne on the iSeries but ultimately plans to migrate all operations over to EnterpriseOne.

"They were very good from day one," said Louise Brandy, vice president and business systems manager for the company. "That's what's made us feel good about the merger. That's the PeopleSoft side of it. You can tell they want us to understand everything that's going on."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Article: PeopleSoft to incorporate JDE into CRM plans

Article: PeopleSoft completes J.D. Edwards acquisition

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