PeopleSoft releases EnterpriseOne suite

The updated apps came from the J.D. Edwards & Co. purchase

PeopleSoft Inc. has released its first set of updated and rebranded applications acquired through its purchase of J.D. Edwards & Co.

The release, which includes around 400 changes across 30 software modules, fulfills J.D. Edwards' preacquisition plans to deliver updates throughout its J.D. Edwards 5 product line this month. The line is now branded EnterpriseOne and has been revamped with a PeopleSoft look and feel.

PeopleSoft's own applications are now part of the company's Enterprise portfolio. Enterprise and EnterpriseOne will be sold and developed as separate product lines, with Enterprise targeted at global organizations and services-focused midmarket customers, and EnterpriseOne tailored to companies in asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing and distribution.

Although Enterprise and EnterpriseOne will retain separate code bases, PeopleSoft plans to work over the next year on cross-pollinating technology from the two software sets. Enterprise will gain from J.D. Edwards' applications asset and real estate management modules, and EnterpriseOne will pick up supplier management, e-procurement and sourcing features from PeopleSoft's software.

"These are things J.D. Edwards had been looking at either building or acquiring," said Les Wyatt, formerly J.D. Edwards' chief marketing officer and now PeopleSoft's general manager of EnterpriseOne. "Now we can take advantage of the intellectual property available in both companies to more rapidly deliver integrated components into each of the product lines."

In discussing PeopleSoft's product road map, CEO Craig Conway has repeatedly emphasized that the goal of the J.D. Edwards acquisition was market expansion, not consolidation. In his opening keynote speech at this week's PeopleSoft Connect show, Conway likened the deal to Ford Motor Co.'s 1990 takeover of Jaguar Cars Ltd.

"Ford successfully entered the high-end luxury automobile market by expanding on an already-successful product -- by improving it, not replacing it. That's what PeopleSoft's strategy is," he said.

Over the next few years, as PeopleSoft shuffles technology between its Enterprise and EnterpriseOne lines, the two portfolios could eventually dovetail into one software set, Wyatt said. But such a merger isn't in PeopleSoft's plans.

"Long term, I don't think it's appropriate to even comment on what could happen," he said. "As at any software company, we'll always be looking for how to get more shared content so we can leverage our investment, but we'll have a strong investment in both Enterprise and EnterpriseOne for the foreseeable future."

One J.D. Edwards customer attending Connect, Consolidated Container Co. Vice President of IT Andrew Ziegele, said he plans to upgrade his company to EnterpriseOne within the next few months.

When Ziegele first learned of PeopleSoft's plans to buy J.D. Edwards, his reaction was nervousness: "The fear, uncertainty and doubt kicked in, and I signed up for this show," he said. But conversations since then with PeopleSoft have assuaged his doubts, and Ziegele said he's looking forward to taking advantage of some of the intellectual-property transfers PeopleSoft's executives have promised, such as reverse-auction software for sourcing supplies.

Now that Consolidated Container has a relationship with PeopleSoft, he's also interested in exploring some of PeopleSoft's flagship human resources applications. The Atlanta-based company currently outsources its payroll operations, and while J.D. Edwards offered some human resources software, it wasn't robust enough for Consolidated Container's needs. PeopleSoft's applications, however, might be, Ziegele said.

"HR and payroll is one of the big things that we need, and I've been putting that off," he said. "Now, I look like a genius for waiting."

Being acquired by PeopleSoft saved J.D. Edwards from its struggles to win business against larger competitors, but the market EnterpriseOne now faces is becoming intensely competitive, according to a recent research report from Forrester Research Inc. SAP AG and Oracle Corp. are better tailoring their software for midmarket customers, Microsoft Corp.'s Business Solutions unit is beginning to win upper-midmarket business, and Baan Co.'s recent change in ownership could allow it to re-emerge as a top ERP vendor for industrial customers, Forrester said.

Forrester recommends that EnterpriseOne be considered by businesses with annual revenue of less than $1.5 billion in manufacturing and other asset-intensive industries and by midsize businesses in other industries seeking strong operations and financial applications. Larger companies should primarily consider SAP, Oracle or PeopleSoft's Enterprise software, the firm said in its report.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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