Oracle users see benefits in PeopleSoft move

While PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards & Co. users seem to be widely opposed to Oracle's proposed buyout bid, the unsolicited offer is getting a better reception from IT managers who use Oracle's applications.

Several users this week said they see potential benefits from having some of PeopleSoft's technology embedded in Oracle's E-Business Suite 11i applications. For example, Oracle could gain useful functionality from PeopleSoft's human resource and payroll software, said Arthur Hunt, president of the independent Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) in Atlanta.

"I'm personally very upbeat about it," said Hunt, who is operations manager at Yale University.

Melanie Bock, a San Francisco-based Oracle consultant and a past OAUG president, said she also thinks an acquisition of PeopleSoft would be good for Oracle users in the long run. A combination of the two companies would mean a broader base of customers, which would widen user networking opportunities and potentially attract a larger number of skilled consultants and contractors, Bock said.

However, she added that Oracle initially would likely have to purge and merge operations, which could mean a loss of resources for its support and development teams.

"Short term, I would see a negative impact for everyone," Bock said.

"Oracle's software will ultimately be improved by the merger," said Kyle Lambert, vice president of information systems at John I. Haas, a Washington-based maker of hops for use in the brewing process. On the other hand, he said, PeopleSoft's plans to buy J.D. Edwards makes no sense to him, as it appears to simply be a way to cut overhead through consolidation.

One Oracle user who doesn't like the proposed takeover is Frank Milano, CIO at Terracon, an engineering consulting firm in Kansas. Milano said that there's no synergy between PeopleSoft and Oracle and that he sees the buyout offer as an attempt by Oracle to defend itself against PeopleSoft, which would become the second-largest business applications vendor if it is successful in its plans to buy J.D. Edwards.

"Five billion dollars is a lot of money to eliminate a competitor," Milano said. He added that a takeover could also drain Oracle's software engineering resources, since it would have to invest in development of two separate product lines.

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