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The Oracle-PeopleSoft Launch Webcast

By Mike TenEyckHEUG President, Texas Christian University

Last month, Misty Wells pondered what the  ramifications of the Oracle/PeopleSoft merger would be for UNT. It was noted that the combined Oracle/PeopleSoft company was launched Tuesday, January 18 via a Webcast, and that our representatives hope they will be able to get a feeling at the Higher Education User Group  (HEUG)  conference in March for Oracle's commitment to higher education. Below is the HEUG President's letter to members (UNT is a member organization)  in response to the Webcast, reprinted with permission.  -- Ed.

Dear HEUG Members,
A special webcast was delivered January 18th by Oracle management. The purpose of the meeting was to launch the “new combined company” of Oracle and PeopleSoft, and to lay out the corporate strategy for 2005 and beyond. Oracle indicated that 15,000 individuals had attended the webcast via the internet, and another 4,000 had dialed in to audio-only conference calls. We know many who were not able to connect. Therefore, we encourage everyone who can invest the time to view at least key portions of the recorded webcast  ( If you have ˝ hour, watch the first ten minutes of Larry Ellison’s presentation and all of John Wookey’s. Here is a brief summary of what we experienced:
Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder and chairman, was joined by his senior management team, including Safra Catz and Charles Phillips (co-presidents), John Wookey (senior vice president over applications development) and other senior executives, as well as several representatives from significant Oracle and PeopleSoft customers.
The major themes for this webcast were:
  • Continuity – customers should no t see any immediate changes in the products.
  • Consistency – of leadership in a single new organization.
  • Integration  -- Oracle will work toward improving integration and articulation among the product suites.
  • Improvement – current products will be improved; the new “combined product” offerings will have significant improvements over anything currently available.

The key points from the 2˝ -hour-long meeting were as follows:

  • Oracle will support current and future releases of the PeopleSoft software line thru 2013
  • There will be additional PeopleSoft product releases (more version 8.9s in 2005 and version 9.0 in 2006), as well as bug-fixes, maintenance paks, etc. Customers are not being asked to live with “frozen software” over the next nine years.
  • All PeopleSoft releases will be able to use the current array of platforms supported currently by PeopleSoft.
  • Current and new customers will be able to purchase Oracle, PeopleSoft and J.D.Edwards modules. New customers will be encouraged to buy the Oracle E-Business Suite products.
  • However, a new “combined Oracle-PeopleSoft product line” will evolve over the next few years in a major effort called “Project Fusion”. This will involve the development of a new Java-based product architecture, data hubs and transaction bases, individual “Fusion” applications (2007) and the “Fusion” suite (2008).
  • PeopleSoft customers who are current in their maintenance payments may choose to continue their use of their fully-supported current products through 2013, or to upgrade without additional licensing charges to the new “Fusion” products. (Oracle is essentially adopting the PeopleSoft maintenance cycle through version 9.) Oracle promises a “robust, configurable product with strong industry-specific functionality and superior usability, with seamless upgrades from existing Oracle, PeopleSoft and J.D.Edwards products.” Oracle emphasized that this will look like an “upgrade” not a “re-implementation.”
  • Oracle wants to inherit “all the good things” from the PeopleSoft/J.D.Edwards products and from the PeopleSoft staff. In selected areas, teams may remain segregated for the immediate future.  90% of the PeopleSoft development and support staff were retained.  [The Board has heard from separate unverified sources that from as few as 1,000 to as many as 3,000 of the 5,000 employee reduction in force came from Oracle employees.]
  • New leaders announced in the meeting included:

Joel Summers (Oracle) will oversee the continuity of the product lines and details of the new organization as it impacts PeopleSoft.

Jesper Andersen (PeopleSoft) is in charge of the “Applications Strategy Team”.

Cliff Godwin (Oracle) will lead the “Tools & Technology Team” which will build the architecture for the “Fusion” products.

  • Juergen Rottler (Oracle Support & On Demand [ASP]) explained why they believe the new company will be better than the separate companies: integration can now move forward rapidly; Oracle now offers the best customer support in the industry; Oracle will adopt PeopleSoft’s product retirement policies; customers can use the same phone numbers, websites and, for the most part, engineering support resources they are used to; the PeopleSoft support organizations which currently provide customer support in nine languages will now have customer support in 27 languages; the new company can adopt the best practices from both companies; the current investment in products and roadmaps will continue in for the near future; Oracle will rely on user groups and customers for directional input.
  • Mark Elliot of IBM announced that they will continue to be implementation partners for all of the lines. Oracle will try to expand the list of partners.
  • Charles Phillips announced that the new company is the leading provider of applications in North America; the largest supplier of HR and Supply Chain applications worldwide. He said that education for all products will continue, and that there are now twice as many support engineers than before. This merger gives Oracle the opportunity to lead out in establishing industry standards for application software.

The Board has learned that Oracle will move maintenance pricing to 22% of licensing costs for new sales and renewing contracts by policy.
PeopleSoft’s Higher Ed sales group will lead the new company’s team, under Jim McGlothlin. Most of this group has been retained. Also, the Campus Solutions strategy and product development teams will take the lead in this area in the new company and 100% of that team is still in place.

That’s about all for now folks!  At least our discussions are now open and sharable, and we will keep you as current as we reasonably can as more details are disclosed.

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