Former colleagues quiet on top job

The local spokespeople of JD Edwards and PeopleSoft, John Speed and Stewart Gibbs, were being predictably reticent about their likely fates on the eve of the merger of the two companies.

Local spokespeople of JD Edwards and PeopleSoft, John Speed and Stewart Gibbs, were being predictably reticent about their likely fates on the eve of the merger of the two companies.

The $US1.8 billion deal was expected to be concluded by the weekend. The pair are former JDE colleagues; Gibbs became customer services manager at PeopleSoft New Zealand in May 2000.

Both profess to be happy at the prospect of working together again, but which of them would be boss is an intriguing question. The two companies’ respective sizes in New Zealand are the reverse of the overall picture: JDE is said by analyst IDC to be the bigger of the two here. IDC estimates JDE's annual sales at $17 million; but the Companies Office puts PeopleSoft's 2001 revenue at about $23 million. JDE’s headcount, at 55, is thought higher than PeopleSoft’s. And JDE claims about 80 customers to PeopleSoft’s 40 or so.

Worldwide, PeopleSoft dominates. It has annual sales of $US1.92 billion and 8200 employees, as against JDE’s $US886 million and 5000. Combined, they’ll trail SAP in the enterprise software market, with revenue less than half that of the German company.

Oracle, which is persisting with its hostile bid to buy PeopleSoft, will rank third.

For JDE customer Mid Central Health, the issue of who leads an enlarged PeopleSoft is less important than what the merged company does.

“I just want to protect my investment,” says IT manager Chris Dever. Having implemented JDE’s ERP software in 1999, he’d like to see out the decade with it.

“In the ERP world, moving from one product to another is an expensive business.”

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