PeopleSoft leapfrogged Oracle in the corporate applications market last year to take second place behind SAP for the first time.
Although SAP remains dominant in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) sector, which includes financial, human resources and manufacturing applications, PeopleSoft saw a 76.2% growth in 1997, according to figures from research firm IDC.
IDC analyst Clare Gillan attributed PeopleSoft's success to a new push into non-US markets and to the addition of a manufacturing application, which has allowed it to compete with Oracle and SAP.
However, the effects of these new directions were only starting to be felt towards the end of the year, she said, and most of the growth came from better sales of its core financial and HR products. Gillan claimed the redesign of these applications around a three-tier architecture last year was important because it allows companies more flexibility in how they mix and match different modules.
PeopleSoft's growth rate dwarfed Oracle's 42.4% increase in its ERP applications business, although the difference in revenues was far less marked: PeopleSoft's $705 million (#432 million) is on a par with Oracle's $699 million (#429 million).
Both were overshadowed by SAP, whose sales of $2.25 billion (#1.38 billion) gave it a 15.6% share, compared to Peoplesoft's 4.9% and Oracle on 4.8%.
The rest of the total sector of $14.4 billion (#8.8 billion) is taken up by players with 3% or less in market share and the highest growth in the market is among the top three players, suggesting further consolidation to come. The three main players all outperformed the sector's overall revenue growth of 20.2%: for example, SAP was up by 32.2%.
IDC did point out that it uses a narrower definition of ERP than some other surveys. It includes applications that automate and integrate corporate functions such as HR, payroll, materials management, manufacturing and accounting. Had it included other applications that Oracle offers, such as sales force automation, the company would have held on to its second place, IDC said. But Gillan said that despite those factors, PeopleSoft had a successful year while Oracle "has some work to do".
The rest of the ERP Top 10 according to IDC were Computer Associates, Baan, JD Edwards, SSA, Geac, IBM and JBA Holdings in that order, with revenues ranging from $435 million (#267 million) to $248 million (#152 million) and market shares between 3% and 1.7%. The Top 10 as a whole saw sales growth of 32.9% last year.
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