PeopleSoft co-founder’s new hosted ERP venture

Oracle's takeover of PeopleSoft has propelled Dave Duffield into the on-demand applications world

Dave Duffield has returned to the ERP fold after keeping a low profile following Oracle’s 18-month hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft, which ended in December 2004 with Oracle successfully buying PeopleSoft.

Duffield is hoping he can duplicate the success of PeopleSoft, this time with hosted software.

Duffield and some of his former PeopleSoft colleagues recently announced the general availability of the first of four planned suites from their new on-demand ERP software company Workday.

The first suite, Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), is already deployed at two companies — customer service firm Kana Software, which employs 150 staff, and biotechnology player Biosite, which has a headcount of 1,100. Workday has three other customers close to going live with its HCM suite, according to Duffield, who is Workday’s co-founder and chief executive.

Looking ahead, Workday plans three other suites in the areas of financial, resource and revenue management that should be released next year. At the same time, the company will “deepen and broaden” its HCM offering, Duffield says.

Workday has also announced four key partnerships. The most significant is with Microsoft, which has a limited presence in the on-demand applications market, restricted to hosted CRM software, not ERP. Workday and Microsoft are hoping to provide integration between Workday software and Microsoft’s Outlook, SharePoint Server and Exchange Server products some time next year.

Another partner is Accenture, which is building a practice around Workday technology. Payroll specialist Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is integrating its PayForce product with Workday’s offerings and Workday has embedded Cape Clear Software’s ESB (enterprise service bus) as part of its core infrastructure.

Duffield blames Oracle for his re-entry into the software world.

Towards the end of Oracle’s takeover bid, Duffield came out of retirement to rejoin PeopleSoft. “We worked like crazy for several months to keep PeopleSoft from the clutches of Oracle,” he says. However, “When Oracle prevailed, it inadvertently opened a door for us.” Duffield and former PeopleSoft colleague Aneel Bhusri founded Workday in March 2005 and the company now employs 65 people.

Duffield believes the world needs another ERP player to make it easier for customers to change, use and integrate back-end applications.

Workday has architected its software with Web 2.0 in mind, Bhusri says, with the applications including XML and AJAX along with built-in analytics and reporting.

Workday is initially focusing its hosted software on North American upper mid-market companies and hopes to begin introducing global functionality in the second half of 2007 to cover countries like Australia and the UK, as well as going after business in Asia-Pacific, Bhusri says.

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Tags ERPworkdaypeoplesoftOracle

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