PeopleSoft: tough integration targets
Covering all the bases
PeopleSoft insists that it will continue to retain and support JD Edwards' product lines along with its own, although questions have been raised concerning the length of time that this will hold true. For now, at least, PeopleSoft has much to gain from maintaining the current portfolio.
PeopleSoft has set itself some very public and potentially tough deadlines to meet concerning the integration of JD Edwards, including Q4 for the first appearance of integration between the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications. As a result, there will be no let-up in the daily scrutiny it has undergone since June when it announced plans for a friendly takeover of JD Edwards.
One of the biggest areas of scrutiny concerns its plans for the three product lines that now comprise its portfolio: the PeopleSoft-based Enterprise line, JD Edwards-based Enterprise One line, and JD Edwards' iSeries-based World line. The company is adamant that it will retain all three lines, and has the resources to fully support and develop them.
Responding to comments about possible product consolidation, EVP for products and technology Ram Gupta pointed out that as an industry matures, the issue becomes one of portfolio management and integration rather than a single product focus, with customers requiring the variety that suits their needs but without crippling integration costs.
Despite fearsome denials, a nagging question remains about how long they will be retained as separate code bases given the ongoing costs of supporting three lines and plans for intellectual property exchange and common components across the lines. However, this is not a risk factor for the short or medium term as consolidation would totally undermine one of the key reasons for the acquisition from PeopleSoft's perspective, which was to gain a surer foot in the mid-market where its high-end enterprise applications have failed to secure a base, but which is the home ground of the JD Edwards products.
The mid-market has become increasingly important to enterprise business application providers because its untapped potential provides vendors with fresh sales opportunities, but it is doubly important for PeopleSoft because it represents a fresh way for it to tackle Europe, which has been slow to respond to PeopleSoft's charms.
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