PeopleSoft migration will be 'difficult'

commentary Oracle has severely understated the complexity of a migration--it will be comparable to a new install.

commentary On June 6, Oracle made an offer intended to be formalized on June 9 to acquire PeopleSoft, with Oracle stating that after the acquisition it will discontinue selling PeopleSoft products to new prospects.

However, Oracle claims it will continue to support all PeopleSoft products and begin incorporating PeopleSoft features into future versions of Oracle E-Business Suite. At issue is the fate of the numerous organizations that currently employ PeopleSoft products.

Migrating to Oracle will be like new install
From Oracle's perspective, customers could migrate (or would be migrated by Oracle) from PeopleSoft 7.x or 8.x to its E-Business Suite. Yet we believe Oracle has severely understated the complexity of such a migration (we believe it will be comparable to a new install), including moving non-Oracle database users to the Oracle database and addressing custom code, different infrastructures, etc. Oracle gets to preserve its own architecture (e.g., Oracle tools, PL/SQL, forms) and also claims it will add both horizontal components (PeopleSoft EPM and SRM would be good candidates, for instance) and vertical components from PeopleSoft.

From our perspective, PeopleSoft will undoubtedly despise this takeover bid and accuse Oracle of disrupting the marketplace/ruining the JD Edwards deal (which may be abandoned if Oracle succeeds; Oracle did not require the JD Edwards acquisition to happen as a condition of the PeopleSoft acquisition).

We believe PeopleSoft, through the JD Edwards acquisition, would slowly drift toward IBM infrastructure (i.e., WebSphere). The only real issue is whether PeopleSoft can stop the acquisition (which also may depend on the ultimate price of the offer, which quickly became too low after it was made). Ultimately, the key ERP players would become SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, with IBM likely to lose some infrastructure and services traction. We believe a world that includes SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Microsoft provides better choices for our clients.

Take a pause
Although Oracle might be able to succeed with this acquisition, migration for PeopleSoft customers would be extremely difficult. Firms that have migrated or are in the process of migrating to PeopleSoft 8 should continue; PeopleSoft and JD Edwards prospects or organizations without firm upgrade plans should pause until a clear direction between Oracle and PeopleSoft exists.

Barry Wilderman is senior vice president & director, Enterprise Applications and John Van Decker is senior program director, Enterprise Applications with The Meta Group.

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