While Oracle is refusing to let its bid for PeopleSoft be written off, the latter is doing its best to ignore the database giant and focus attention on its strategy for incorporating its own recent acquisition, JD Edwards.
In his keynote speech at the annual European PeopleSoft Connect conference in Barcelona last week, Craig Conway, PeopleSoft's president and chief executive, repeatedly called the Oracle bid a "dead" subject that is rapidly becoming a "saga".
Conway dismissed Oracle's takeover attempt as a tactic to discredit his company because it is now seen as a threat.
"The greatest danger to PeopleSoft was that customers would freeze planned purchases," said Conway. "But they refused to let that happen."
Growth indicators from third-quarter financial results (which were released the day after the conference ended) broadly support this assertion.
Total revenue increased by approximately 30 per cent from 2002 figures, to $624m, which made for a "very strong" report on the state of the company, according to Andrew Ball, Frost & Sullivan industry analyst.
"The pressure has been on PeopleSoft to perform on its promise of executing integration with JD Edwards ever since Oracle announced its bid. It has managed expectations very cleverly," said Ball.
But PeopleSoft still needs to transform itself into tough competition for the likes of Oracle, SAP or Siebel that can cause them the headaches Conway has claimed.
"Our product road map is about expansion, not consolidation," he told delegates. "We want to create three compelling products lines rather than support two separate ones."
Conway revealed at the event that PeopleSoft would upgrade script support from four years to five and tax update support to six years for all customers.
Heather Davies, PeopleSoft project manager for Oxfam, commented: "We are particularly encouraged by the benefits of the four-year support policy extensions.
"I would be very interested in new PeopleSoft Tools functionality and shall watch for what development is going on."
Ram Gupta, PeopleSoft products and technology executive vice president, told delegates that it would "be hard to tell the difference between a JD Edwards and a PeopleSoft product".
By amalgamating JD Edwards' functionality with that of its own products, PeopleSoft hopes to appeal to both service- and asset-intensive vertical industries at enterprise and mid-market levels.
For example, JD Edwards' real estate management application will be available for integration with PeopleSoft's portfolio by December, and vice versa for PeopleSoft's supplier relationship management (SRM) with that of JD Edwards.
Similarly, a JD Edwards' asset management release integrating PeopleSoft call centre software will follow in the first quarter of 2004, linking to PeopleSoft customer relationship management later in the year.
Imbedded analytics will also appear alongside PeopleSoft's existing web-enabled and Linux-supported capabilities.
Rick Bergquist, PeopleSoft chief technology officer, previewed a business process mapping tool for Enterprise and Enterprise One product families that will become available in 2004.
He also outlined an installation wizard, a set-up management tool, a task-based navigation model, and instant messenger functionality for call centre products.
Bergquist also introduced 'Project Beethoven', a diagnostic dashboard-like tool currently in development, with a prototype due in the first half of next year.
This was also backed by the release at the conference of PeopleSoft SRM version 8.8 and two new releases in conjunction with IBM targeting Basel II compliance, and an expansion of its telecoms customer loyalty solution.
But there was a distinct lack of confidence surrounding the IBM AS/600 platform-based PeopleSoft World. The company said it was committed to supporting this product line but admitted there would be no further new releases.
PeopleSoft has provided significant details for its post-JD Edwards takeover road map. It will need to execute its strategy with some aplomb if it is to finally make Larry Ellison go away without the help of anti-competition regulators.
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