Users uncertain in wake of PeopleSoft, JDE merger

PeopleSoft's acquisition of JD Edwards has created a climate of uncertainty for Australian users who feel they have been left in the lurch with no product roadmap for the future of their IT investments.

In an exclusive Computerworld poll of 22 JD Edward users conducted last week, IT managers expressed scepticism about product support and felt they were 'in limbo' awaiting the outcome of their financial commitment to specific product suites.

A user of JD Edwards' ERP software OneWorld XE for the last four years, Melbourne-based Cabrini Health's network administrator Zolton Roka said although the deal has only just been finalised there has been no formal communication from either vendor in terms of whether they will change their products or the technology stack supporting their applications.

"The fact that they've been tight lipped and not said how the merger will really impact customers is still of relative concern," he said.

The one good point of the buyout, he said is that PeopleSoft has a "better reputation and brand name" than JDE.

Ultimately, Roka believes PeopleSoft's support business will benefit JDE customers because the vendor was more widely known for having global support centres.

In the past Roka has been unhappy with JDE's support model and was forced to log calls with a helpdesk in Singapore or the US experiencing two-day lags in response times.

Roka recommends companies avoid making long-term business software investments in the current climate of market consolidation.

"If you don't know what's going to happen to your [supplier] the worst thing to do is to commit to a contract with them," he said.

"It will take a long time before there is any clear direction from both companies," Caterpillar's IS manager David Clarke said.

Brightpoint Australia IT manager David Keevill said he doubted users would see benefits from the merger for years to come.

"JDE and PeopleSoft will have a difficult time supporting their existing and potential customers," he added.

A whopping 82 per cent of poll respondents said there was more uncertainty in the market surrounding the acquisition; however, IT managers said this would not cause them to consider alternative vendors such as SAP.

In a similarly high figure from respondents when asked if the potential acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle would be a positive change 75 per cent claimed they "strongly disagree".

IS consultant for independent consultancy Office Overload Solutions, Robert Kiss, said he was sceptical of rival software vendors manoeuvring for customers and would not be swayed to buy a competitors' products in an uncertain market.

"Customers and prospective customers can get themselves in risky scenarios with vendors like Intentia trying to introduce confusion into the marketplace through a big sales and marketing push. I think PeopleSoft and Oracle are also likely to push each other's customers towards their [respective] products.

"Companies should consider the PeopleSoft and JDE activity like any other business issue – research how any change in suppliers may affect you. Or you may also want to hold off any purchase for a while," Kiss said.

Nor was he likely to license PeopleSoft applications in the future even though the company had acquired new vertical technology sets from JD Edwards.

PeopleSoft closed its deal to acquire JD Edwards on August 18 with the total value of the deal $US1.8 billion.

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More about Brightpoint AustraliaBrightpoint AustraliaCaterpillar of AustraliaJD EdwardsLawson Software AustraliaOneWorldOraclePeopleSoftSAP Australia

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