PeopleSoft encourages customers to keep on complaining

Enterprise applications vendor PeopleSoft has kicked off its Australian customer conference with an unprecednted undertaking to support recently merged JD Edwards (JDE) customers to the hilt, a bag of new products - and request to its user community to keep on complaining.

According to general manager and group vice president for PeopleSoft’s iSeries-centric World software division, and 12-year JDE veteran, Dave Siebert, the newlywed entity is adapting well to listening to customers.

Siebert said despite some conspicuous criticism from the JDE user community over the last six months, PeopleSoft’s door was open for customers to voice their concerns, adding the vendor actively encouraged suggestions on how to improve its products and services.

However, Siebert reaffirmed PeopleSoft’s intention to bypass independent JD Edwards user group Quest, claiming the group’s profit-driven business model was largely the cause of the recent war of words over independence. Siebert said PeopleSoft was not compelled to support or subsidize a commercial entity deriving revenues from the vendor’s users over other workable user group models which functioned equally as well.

“The clash we had was that we had an independent user group that was a revenue-focused commercial entity. Delegates paid to go to [the] PeopleSoft Connect [user group conference] and [also paid to be part of JDE user group] Quest. At the end of the day if [the new user group] model is not working, we will say it is not working,” Siebert said.

On the thorny topic of independence of user groups, Siebert said autonomy had now been built into the PeopleSoft philosophy, borne out by the fact that while the vendor will provide technical and [people] support, it did not seek to subsidize or profit from user groups – nor exert influence.

Siebert admitted a further user community issue for the vendor was that as it expanded its customer base through to mid-market and medium-size business tiers, revenue per customer would ultimately decline, thus making user any group subsidies a cost centre rather than a value-add.

Just how much PeopleSoft’s customer base had changed during the post-merger year was dramatically illustrated by the composition of PeopleSoft’s Australia and New Zealand customer figures - with former JDE users now accounting for 60 percent of its user base.

“The worst customer is the one that doesn’t tell you what their problems are,” Siebert reckons.

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