Page II: In this issue of Industry Insider, ZDNet's Dan Farber says the war of words between SAP and PeopleSoft may make interesting read but the real issue for enterprises is which vendor can provide the most reliable, cost-effective solutions.
SAP, Oracle, Siebel, Microsoft, IBM and others could come up with counter-claims, positive comments about themselves and disparaging remarks about PeopleSoft and each other. It's part of the smackdown American business culture. However, the bombast tends to make vendors' claims even more suspect than those made during civil discourse.
PeopleSoft crowed that it has reduced the number of steps to deploy application updates by 80 percent and disparaged SAP's track record in that area. SAP did recently introduce a change management toolset to reduce the complexity and employee hours required for new product installations and patching. It sounds like good competition yielding better products and services, as well as some mud slinging.
The rhetoric and mud slinging are a side show, however. The issue for enterprises is which vendors can provide the most reliable, cost-effective solutions that can scale with organisational growth. The proof is in the reference accounts and Peer Company reviews.
Post-bubble customers are not willing to spend without a high degree of certainty that a pre-defined ROI can be achieved in months and not decades. And, existing customers of PeopleSoft and others are demanding more accountability from the vendors in order to stay within the fold.
The big three enterprise business applications vendors-SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle-are all "relatively" safe bets. They have track records, reference accounts, support infrastructures, billions in revenue and R&D and the motivation to invest in product development. They have some happy customers and some who are not pleased with what they bought.
They are account controllers, with the potential to lock-in customers, buttressed by the high cost of switching and high-touch handling when they are in a customer acquisition mode. They are consolidators, scooping up smaller companies to fill out their portfolios or for defensive purposes, and in some cases swallowing the big fish, as PeopleSoft did with J.D. Edwards and as Oracle wants to do with PeopleSoft.
They are leaders in their own ways, and come at the varied markets segments and industries with different strengths and weaknesses. They all are heading in the same direction, with comprehensive, highly integrated enterprise application platforms that include a suite of business applications, portals, application servers, integration middleware and master data management. Open standards, business process management, on-demand, and Web services and services-oriented architecture (SOA) are their common buzz words.