Analysts take stock of ceasefire, annexation

Never short of a comment on vendor consolidation, the IT analyst community was quick to opine on what news of Oracle's PeopleSoft acquisition will mean to users.

Gartner analyst Kristian Steenstrup warned there are currently many unanswered questions regarding Oracle's purchase of PeopleSoft, noting potential problems may emerge for customers of both vendors.

Steenstrup said that if you are currently considering or in fact using PeopleSoft then you should get everything in writing as opposed to a handshake.

"Peoplesoft's customers going through an implementation should monitor the situation [and] account management and project management staff carefully to ensure that any product or support commitments are provided in writing," Streenstrup said.

Steenstrup said that there has been announcements or reports of one further release of Enterprise and Enterprise One. However, there has been no date given as yet.

"Oracle has had the intention of releasing a product combining the functionality of multiple systems and that is the future path of all customers in the Oracle family. In regards to support, Oracle will try to put the resources in place to offer a high level support for what they have required as an exodus of customers suits no advantage to them," he said.

Streenstrup noted that Oracle had been unable to conduct a detailed analysis of the PeopleSoft portfolio as it would have liked to.

Steenstrup warned PeopleSoft customers should confirm support and development commitments with Oracle as soon as the merger is complete, despite Oracle having stated it will continue support and development of products.

Frost & Sullivan Senior Analyst Foad Fadaghi said the merger announcement would see many projects hamstrung over the last 18 months go ahead.

"The delay in purchase has given customers a lot of time to think about their own use of PeopleSoft or Oracle systems. As a result there has been lot of pent up activity - you will start to see decisions previously held off now made. That is a good thing for the industry as a whole," Fadaghi said.

Fadaghi added that any combined CRM package from Oracle was still "a while off" but bought Oracle access to an applications market it had yet to penetrate successfully.

"The challenge for Oracle has been a reducing market share. But it is a cash-rich business so for it to grow at a rate that also satisfies shareholders means it will need to grow by acquisition."

Fadaghi added Oracle could again be on the acquisitions trail in the New Year.

According to the Gartner Dataquest 2004 report, PeopleSoft (including JDE) had an 11 percent share of ERP systems in Australia in 2003, a 7 percent increase from 2002, earning an estimated $53.8 million in software licence revenues in 2003.

Oracle had an 8 percent share of the market, a growth of 2.7 percent from 2002, with software licence revenue for 2003 at $38.7million.

In the SCM market, PeopleSoft held an 8.4 percent share in 2004, a decline of 5.8 percent since 2002. Oracle had a 5.5 percent share in 2004, down 3.9 percent.

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