PeopleSoft releases EnterpriseOne suite

PeopleSoft released this week its first updated, rebranded set of the applications it acquired through its August purchase of J.D. Edwards & Co.

The release, which includes around 400 changes across 30 software modules, fulfills J.D. Edwards' pre-acquisition plans to deliver this month updates throughout its J.D. Edwards 5 product line. The line is now branded EnterpriseOne, and has been revamped with a PeopleSoft look-and-feel.

PeopleSoft's own applications are now part of the company's Enterprise portfolio. Enterprise and EnterpriseOne will be sold and developed as separate product lines, with Enterprise targeted at global organizations and services-focused midmarket customers, and EnterpriseOne tailored to companies in asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing and distribution.

While Enterprise and EnterpriseOne will retain separate code bases, PeopleSoft plans to work over the next year on cross-pollinating technology from the two software sets. Enterprise will gain from J.D. Edwards' applications new asset and real estate management modules, as EnterpriseOne picks up supplier management, e-procurement and sourcing features from PeopleSoft's software.

"These are things J.D. Edwards had been looking at either building or acquiring," said Les Wyatt, formerly J.D. Edwards' chief marketing officer and now PeopleSoft's general manager of EnterpriseOne. "Now, we can take advantage of the intellectual property available in both companies to more rapidly deliver integrated components into each of the product lines."

In discussing PeopleSoft's product roadmap, Chief Executive Officer Craig Conway has repeatedly emphasized that the goal of the J.D. Edwards acquisition was market expansion, not consolidation. In his opening keynote at this week's PeopleSoft Connect show, Conway likened the deal to Ford Motor Co,'s 1990 takeover of Jaguar.

"Ford successfully entered the high-end luxury automobile market by expanding on an already-successful product -- by improving it, not replacing it. That's what PeopleSoft's strategy is," he said.

Over the next few years, as PeopleSoft shuffles technology between its Enterprise and EnterpriseOne lines, the two portfolios could eventually dovetail into one software set, Wyatt acknowledged. But such a merger isn't in PeopleSoft's plans, he said.

"Long-term, I don't think it's appropriate to even comment on what could happen," he said. "As at any software company, we'll always be looking for how to get more shared content so we can leverage our investment, but we'll have a strong investment in both Enterprise and EnterpriseOne one for the foreseeable future."

One J.D. Edwards customer attending Connect, Consolidated Container Co. Vice President of IT Andrew Ziegele, said he plans to upgrade his company to EnterpriseOne within the next few months.

When Ziegele first learned of PeopleSoft's plans to buy J.D. Edwards, his initial reaction was nervousness: "The fear, uncertainty and doubt kicked in, and I signed up for this show," he said. But conversations since then with PeopleSoft have assuaged his doubts, and he said he's looking forward to taking advantage of some of the intellectual-property transfers PeopleSoft's executives have promised, such as reverse-auction software for sourcing supplies.

Now that his company has a relationship with PeopleSoft, he's also interested in exploring some of PeopleSoft's flagship human resources applications. Consolidated Container currently outsources its payroll operations, and while J.D. Edwards offered some HR software, it wasn't robust enough for Consolidated Container's needs. PeopleSoft's applications, however, might be, Ziegele said.

"HR and payroll is one of the big things that we need, and I've been putting that off," he said. "Now, I look like a genius for waiting."

Being acquired by PeopleSoft saved J.D. Edwards from its struggles to win business against larger competitors, but the market EnterpriseOne now faces is becoming intensely competitive, according to a recent research report from Forrester Research Inc. SAP AG and Oracle Corp. are better tailoring their software for midmarket customers, Microsoft Corp.'s Business Solutions unit is beginning to win upper-midmarket business, and Baan's recent change in ownership could allow it to reemerge as a top ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor for industrial customers, Forrester said.

Forrester recommends EnterpriseOne be considered by businesses with annual revenue of less than US$1.5 billion in manufacturing and other asset-intensive industries, and by midsize businesses in other industries seeking strong operations and financials applications. Larger companies should primarily consider SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft's Enterprise software, the firm said in its report.

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