PeopleSoft hits on integration, costs

FRAMINGHAM (09/19/2003) - Attendees at PeopleSoft Inc.'s customer conference this week heard progress reports on integrating products gained in the US$1.7 billion acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co., as well as expanded support policies and tools for making software easier to use.

For its newly acquired J.D. Edwards users, PeopleSoft debuted EnterpriseOne, an updated suite of J.D. Edwards applications with a PeopleSoft user interface. Aimed at midsize companies in manufacturing and distribution industries, the EnterpriseOne suite also features new supplier management, e-procurement and sourcing tools culled from PeopleSoft's core software arsenal.

For all its users, PeopleSoft delivered tools and services aimed at lowering lifelong software costs.

Four new products are designed to automate software installation, configuration, updates and performance tuning - the first results of PeopleSoft's "total ownership experience" initiative to lower application costs. PeopleSoft Setup Manager automates application configuration to reduce the number of steps required to get applications up and running. Diagnostic Framework identifies trouble spots; Change Assistant helps automate the process of selecting and installing software fixes; and Performance Monitor identifies bottlenecks and opportunities for improving application performance.

The company also unveiled six pre-configured integration templates to help customers who need to link PeopleSoft products with back-office software made by competitors Oracle Corp. and SAP AG.

On the support side, PeopleSoft is lengthening some conditions of its support offerings at no extra cost. With the new plan, customers who pay maintenance fees will have access to upgraded scripts to the most current release for five years, rather than four; access to updates covering tax and regulatory changes for six years; and technical support indefinitely.

Mike Rothgery, a senior manager of human resources applications for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young who attended the conference, says the announcement of the support changes is welcome news. "Whenever they extend the support for nothing, you've got to like that," Rothgery says.

Current Analysis Inc. analyst Kelly Spang Ferguson says the product support upgrades are PeopleSoft's attempt to reiterate its commitment to its customers - and thank those who have remained loyal to PeopleSoft during Oracle's ongoing $7.3 billion hostile-takeover bid.

PeopleSoft executives went out of their way to express their gratitude toward their customers that have stuck by the company," Ferguson says.

IDG News Service correspondent Stacy Cowley contributed to this story.

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