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Quest users fear PeopleSoft will crush them

Two groups are leaving Quest for a rival company-backed organization

By Marc L. Songini
April 8, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Quest, the PeopleSoft Inc. user group that has been at odds with the software vendor in recent months, is losing some of its members to a rival PeopleSoft-backed customer support operation, raising new questions about Quest's ability to survive.
PeopleSoft this year severed its relationship with Quest, the independent user body it inherited when it acquired rival J.D. Edwards & Co. last summer (see story). After talks between the two broke down, PeopleSoft withdrew support for the group's regional events and opted out of Quest's centerpiece event, the Quest Global Conference. That conference, which this year will be held in Denver in June, is something J.D. Edwards had strongly supported for years.
The decisions by two Quest special interest groups, the World Advisory Council and the Real Estate Group, to align with PeopleSoft renews doubts about whether Quest can survive without any backing from PeopleSoft.
"The unalterable fact is that a software conference without the software vendor present is a social event pretending to be a substantive conference," said Dave Hyzy, director of IT at Benderson Development Co., a Buffalo, N.Y.-based real estate developer that uses World ERP software. Hyzy, a member of the World Advisory Council and the Real Estate Group, said the two groups voted to get under PeopleSoft's umbrella, and the vendor has already "made solid initial steps" to get that process under way.
John Matelski, president of Quest's special interest groups and a Quest board member, confirmed the two groups' decisions. But Matelski, who is also deputy CIO for the city of Orlando, said Quest encourages its members to engage in an "integrated" model that includes working with PeopleSoft. "It does not need to be an all-or-nothing proposition," he said.
"From the Quest side, it's disappointing and baffling why they didn't include Quest in the whole [customer support] transition more," said Dave Richards, who chairs the customer committee planning the Quest Global Conference. "In the past, we had a strong relationship with J.D. Edwards and worked together to find solutions to problems, and I think that link is missing. I'm concerned that now we're with a much larger company, and our company is on the smaller side, we may have lost the voice we had."
The lack of PeopleSoft support at the June conference means that companies wondering if and when they should upgrade from World to Enterprise or EntepriseOne products will be unable to put questions directly to the vendor's technical representatives. In addition, EnterpriseOne users facing potential maintenance fee increases will be unable to address those issues with the company,



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