Customers label upgrade advice 'oldest trick in the book'

Forrester Research is advising PeopleSoft customers to undertake at least one upgrade before the 2008 release of Oracle's Fusion roadmap in a bid to protect their current technology investments.

However, some IT managers have labelled such advice "the oldest trick in the book", claiming they will not commit to, or make any upgrade decisions until Oracle sheds more light on its nascent plans to converge five business application suites to create Fusion.

In its research note, Forrester said companies need to stay current on maintenance and upgrades although Oracle is committed to maintaining its three existing product lines through to 2013.

"Customers do have to adhere to PeopleSoft's support schedules which begin to eliminate support four years after a product is released, meaning most companies must plan for at least one upgrade in the interim," Forrester said.

"Oracle will honour existing maintenance agreements, and recognizes the sensitivity of PeopleSoft customers hit with escalating support costs since 2000.

"However, we predict that Oracle will move to standardize on its own support pricing model of 22 percent of net licence fees - a 2 percent increase for PeopleSoft customers - as contracts are renewed on new licences."

Powerlink Queensland business applications manager, Walter Campbell, said customers should view Forrester's advice carefully.

"Being told to upgrade for our own protection, that's the oldest game in the book," he said, adding that his organization is a SAP shop but does use an Oracle database.

Hickson Lawyers IT manager Shane Den Broek is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"The fact that a roadmap hasn't been announced is a worry, although I wouldn't look at switching vendors; I'd give them a 12-month period to see what they will do before considering other offerings," he said.

Rival SAP has been active in its bid to lure PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers away from Oracle.

SAP promised to credit PeopleSoft customers up to 75 percent of their original purchase price toward the SAP equivalent.

However, Oracle's Asia Pacific VP for mergers and acquisitions, Brian Mitchell, said he was unaware of any customers taking up the SAP offer.

"Organizations don't tend to move platforms very often; it is usually driven by an external event," he said.

"There are several thousand customers out there and I'm not aware of anybody making the move; a compelling deal on its own isn't enough to make customers move."

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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