SAP brings PeopleSoft services arm to Asia-Pacific

update TomorrowNow aims to woo PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers with a half-price offer.

update SINGAPORE—TomorrowNow, an SAP subsidiary specializing in PeopleSoft support services, has set up shop here. The company plans to add more head count to sniff out business deals in the region, said CEO Andrew Nelson on Thursday.

Nelson, who was in Singapore for the office opening, said Singapore will serve as the company's Asia-Pacific base. He also plans to hire up to 45 staff in the next 18 months. "We're looking to sign agreements with people primarily headquartered here," he said, of the company's business prospects in the region.

SAP in January acquired TomorrowNow as part of its ongoing strategy to compete with Oracle in the enterprise applications software market. TomorrowNow's services are an integral part of SAP's safe-passage initiative, said Colin Sampson, senior vice president and chief operating officer, SAP Asia Pacific.

The safe-passage program is aimed at siphoning off lucrative software maintenance deals from Oracle by luring PeopleSoft customers who are uncertain about Oracle's takeover.

TomorrowNow will support all versions of software that come under the umbrella of PeopleSoft Enterprise, J.D. Edwards World, and J.D. Edwards OneWorld, said Nelson.

Besides Singapore, TomorrowNow has sales and support offices in the U.K., the Netherlands, and the U.S.

The company is hoping to woo PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers with attractive propositions. It will support any current implementation for up to 50 percent of the price that they are paying, with a round-the-clock guaranteed 30-minute response time. TomorrowNow also promises to support any customers' products for up to 10 years beyond the products' general availability date.

This guarantee is part of SAP's plan to upstage Oracle's Project Fusion effort, in which the latter pledged to support PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards products for at least eight years until 2013.

Meanwhile, the two-way punch up shows no sign of abating.

When asked to comment on SAP's latest move, Stanley Chew, managing director, Oracle Singapore, said: "This is nothing new to us." He went on to describe SAP's latest sales tactic as "a massive undertaking" for the German software company, and added that its rival had its own customer issues to deal with, too.

"We know that SAP R/3 customers are faced with increasing pressure to re-license and re-implement their applications in order to upgrade to mySAP ERP or mySAP Business Suite," he noted. "In June, we rolled out our deal for SAP R/3 customers, the Oracle Fusion for SAP, or 'OFF SAP' Program. They now have an alternative to move to Oracle E-Business Suite."

At least one analyst thinks that SAP may have more persuading to do to get PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers in Asia-Pacific to switch camp. Bob Hayward, senior vice-president and chief research officer at Gartner Research, Asia Pacific and Japan, said: "I don’t think [customers] will switch. I'm not sure if [SAP's purchase of TomorrowNow] is going to be a big thing. Oracle's done a pretty good job, and I'm not picking up from Gartner customers that there will be a major defection."