Alternative offering

Craig Conway, PeopleSoft’s president & CEO, tells Arabian Computer News how the company is positioning itself after its merger with JD Edwards.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 4, 2004

|~|conway_M.jpg|~|Conway: "This is the first time there has been a credible company that can provide a compelling, stable, global alternative to SAP."|~|ACN: How is the integration between PeopleSoft and JD Edwards shaping up and how far are you from where you expected to be by now? CraiG Conway: The new PeopleSoft has 21,000 customers. Each and every one of them, in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, is going to benefit from stronger products and services. We are currently in a fantastic position to build on the respective strengths of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards and provide our customers with even better products and services. By integrating our organisations, we can capitalise on the enormous opportunities that exist to broaden the scope of each product range. By transferring intellectual property, we will also be able to build new products that are dramatically superior. ACN: When are end user organisations going to see the real benefits of your acquisition of JD Edwards in the global marketplace? Conway: Customers [have already seen] many of the benefits. For example, PeopleSoft Enterprise customers now have access to real estate management and asset management functionality brought in from JD Edwards [products]. Conversely, PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne, previously JD Edwards [One World] will be strengthened using human capital management (HCM) and other functionality from PeopleSoft Enterprise. In addition, the benefits of the merger are being reinforced by PeopleSoft’s total ownership experience initiative, which was launched in May 2003 and aims to improve the enterprise software experience for customers. ACN: Is PeopleSoft looking at any other acquisitions to build its success story yet further? Conway: We have a very positive expansion strategy, which includes quickly and skilfully integrating JD Edwards products and delivering on the promise of our total ownership experience initiative. That’s our focus at the moment. ACN: Now you are the second largest ERP player behind SAP, how are you going to take them on? They have a stable environment and a decent lead. Is it going to be hard to catch them? Conway: One of the reasons so many people are enthusiastic about our acquisition of JD Edwards is that this is the first time there has been a credible company that can provide a compelling, stable, global alternative to SAP. The new PeopleSoft is going to out-compete SAP through customer-focused initiatives like the total ownership experience, through more and stronger products with better integration and by providing better support to our customers. PeopleSoft’s focus on the ownership experience is already widely acknowledged. Two major analyst firms, Forrester Research and Meta Group, recently accorded PeopleSoft the number one position for application ownership, satisfaction and usability, respectively. In the user surveys carried out as part of their research, PeopleSoft achieved substantially better scores than SAP, Oracle and other enterprise software companies. Over the coming year, PeopleSoft will continue to apply the total ownership experience concept in order to reinforce and extend this lead. ACN: When will we see something new from PeopleSoft, bearing in mind that the recently released Workforce Performance Solutions suite is made up of existing components? Conway: We have a very strong portfolio of new and enhanced applications in the roadmap for the months ahead, including significant innovations for each of our product families. More than 3000 developers are now working on the products. All product lines will continue to be enhanced through 2004, with new solutions added and platforms supported. With recent announcements about new Enterprise Performance Management solutions for PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne and PeopleSoft World customers, and pre-integrations to enable PeopleSoft Enterprise customers to leverage industry-leading solutions from EnterpriseOne, PeopleSoft has exceeded its original product roadmap goals announced on September 4 2003. ||**|||~|conway2_M.jpg|~|Conway believes enterprise software must be more user friendly.|~|ACN: As the bulk of large enterprises that are going to purchase a core ERP application have already done so, how important is extended ERP to PeopleSoft’s future success? What is the real focus for the company in this domain — customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI), supply chain management (SCM) or something different? Conway: Implementation, usability and maintenance are critical areas companies are interested in for enterprise software, and there is still a lot of scope for improvement in users’ experience of navigating enterprise software generally. However, significant progress has been made and PeopleSoft is now moving on to the next level with its task-based approach. To accelerate and simplify the experience of implementing PeopleSoft software, installation wizards will be added, documentation streamlined and dependence on third-party services reduced. This will reduce installation times to days rather than weeks. Having led the field as the first enterprise software company to introduce a pure internet architecture, PeopleSoft is now pioneering intuitive, task-based navigation. We also continue to re-engineer our applications in order to reduce the number of steps needed to execute common tasks. This is the case with financial management, for example, where the introduction of PeopleSoft Enterprise Expense Management 8.8 halves the number of mouse-clicks needed to submit an expense report. Management also provides a better-organised user interface and is designed to bring more pertinent information to the user in realtime. Similar developments have occurred in other areas such as CRM and SCM. ACN: One reason for buying JD Edwards was that it has a heavy focus on the midmarket. How is PeopleSoft going to expand its role in the small-to-medium sized business (SMB) space as it looks to grow both its business and revenue? Conway: Market expansion rather than consolidation was the aim of the merger between PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. PeopleSoft has always been determined to establish a presence in JD Edwards’ main target markets, if not by acquisition then through inhouse development. We’re expanding our presence by offering a broader, stronger base of products to a market that has a greater appreciation for a single company called PeopleSoft. We can accelerate our success in asset-intensive industries like construction, like life sciences, and like service industries, building our presence in the SMB space in each of those areas. ACN: Many of your ERP rivals are talking up their ability to run in the Linux space. PeopleSoft has been shy in claiming this and quiet when it comes to the open source community as a whole. Where does PeopleSoft stand on this topic and how will this viewpoint develop in future? Conway: Actually, PeopleSoft was the first major enterprise software company to support Linux, and is dedicated to providing full hardware vendor independence for our customers. We port applications to Linux, so I’m surprised you feel we’ve been “shy” about open source. ACN: Within the analyst community, there appears to be a kick back against ERP apps. They are saying that it takes too long to deploy them, that they can be unwieldy and take a long time to deliver a substantial ROI. What are your thoughts on this? Conway: Examining the enterprise application market, installation and maintenance does take too much time and needs too many people. This is why PeopleSoft has charged a team of 500 developers with delivering technology that will change this situation dramatically. PeopleSoft’s total ownership experience initiative is a direct response to this concern, and the feedback from our customers is already very strong. Looking at the analyst community, the majority agree that PeopleSoft’s strategy will be beneficial to customers. Meta Group’s Barry Wilderman recently expressed the view that PeopleSoft’s product roadmap and its commitment to R&D would prove very comforting to both customer bases. Judging by customer reaction to date, this would certainly seem to be the case. ACN: Within the industry, what is the next big thing in terms of technology developments? Conway: Improving the ownership experience will be the next major advance in enterprise software. Life for the home PC user is very straightforward these days. New applications are installed within minutes with minimal intervention. Some are so intuitive that user manuals are redundant and online help barely necessary, and with automated features such as Windows Update, system maintenance is easier than it has ever been. The aim of our total user experience is bring the enterprise software experience closer to the typical PC scenario. ACN: How does PeopleSoft view emerging markets, such as the Middle East, and how important are they to the company’s growth? Conway: International growth, with a focus on emerging markets, represents the highest geographic upside for PeopleSoft. 40% of PeopleSoft’s revenue came from outside the US in 2002, and we’re looking to increase that significantly over the next two years. The Middle East is important to PeopleSoft, and we’re investing to get a better return on our presence here. Along with Eastern Europe, this region is the main target area of our emerging countries strategy. ||**||

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