PeopleSoft’s decision not to support JD Edwards user group Quest’s annual conferences is worrying some legacy JDE users and third-party software vendors.
Last month PeopleSoft said it would not take part in this year’s Quest conferences in the US and Australia and would focus instead on Connect, its own annual user conference.
John Davies, Quest Australasia treasurer and application team leader at the Natural Gas Corporation, says he is disappointed PeopleSoft has “pulled all support for Quest so quickly — it leaves a bit of a gap.”
Natural Gas Corp is due this week to begin replacing JDE OneWorld with PeopleSoft Enterprise One.
“My personal feeling is that the Quest organisation is at an end — PeopleSoft has made it clear what model it wants,” says Davies.
“The big loss is that there may be nothing at a regional level. It’s okay having small user groups but I like the idea of a regional get-together in Australia and New Zealand.”
In the past JDE has sponsored the conference and brought in guest speakers. Quest Australia-New Zealand chairman Charles Birchall says PeopleSoft has “walked away” from the Australasian conference and announced no replacement.
However, this year’s Quest conference will go ahead as planned in Melbourne from February 18 to 20, funded by “delegates’ fees and third-party vendors”.
Over the years Quest was held in Australia, JDE had input but didn’t exert total control.
“It provided some technical people, plenary sessions and expertise around the marketing, but the content was user-driven,” Birchall says.
Herbert Schoenek, chief executive of Auckland-based PST Software, travelled to last year’s US Quest conference in Denver to sell the company’s Q4bis business intelligence product to JDE users.
The company is concerned about whether Quest will be able to continue in its existing form. If Quest were to disappear, “we’d have to re-evaluate and say ‘are we willing to exhibit at the PeopleSoft conference?”, he says.
Birchall says the conference included user sessions without JDE representatives present, the results of which were then taken to JDE as a separate exercise.
The controversy began in the US when Quest published a list of conditions it alleged PeopleSoft had tried to impose as a condition of supporting future Quest conferences.
Among them were that PeopleSoft view messages to Quest members before they were sent. PeopleSoft alleged that Quest had falsely claimed PeopleSoft would support the conference until 2006 and that Quest didn’t return certain customer data within the timeframe requested.
Quest members have largely rallied around the user group, but one Quest board member resigned over the rift, claiming Quest’s directors were more interested in preserving their positions than working with PeopleSoft.
Steve Comes, PeopleSoft’s global director of marketing and communications, who is in charge of the company’s user group policy, told Computerworld Australia that the Quest business model is “just fundamentally different” from the way PeopleSoft operates.
“Quest is a business that charges a fee to get the services it provides, and we believe that since you’re a PeopleSoft customer you get those services from PeopleSoft and you don’t pay an additional fee for that.”