Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft is not the dawn of a scary new era for CIOs; it's the twilight of the old ERP age. It may also be an opportunity to create an ERP future that adds value, not cost, to your business
- How the relative stability of your current ERP platform determines your next steps
- How to choose between the status quo, third-party support and system upgrades
- What role service-oriented architecture plays in the ERP future
Last February, Rick Beers, Corning's director of business process architecture, brought together CIOs from Bausch and Lomb, Harris Corporation, Leggett and Platt, and five other Fortune 500 companies for an extraordinary summit in Atlanta. All shared the distinction of being among the world's largest users of PeopleSoft enterprise software. Beers called the meeting because he wanted to discuss the single most pressing issue facing them: Creating business value from enterprise applications.
In other words, after a year and a half of histrionics and angst, after Oracle paid $US10.3 billion to adopt 13,000 PeopleSoft customers (many of which had chosen PeopleSoft precisely because it was not Oracle), the single most pressing issue these giant companies were facing was not the hostile takeover.
Or maybe not.
Beers' summit was planned months before the acquisition went through and, he says, it would have happened even if the merger hadn't, and with roughly the same agenda. The Atlanta Eight had already figured out that despite all the speculation in the media and among CIOs themselves, the Oracle-PeopleSoft deal, as Beers says, "hasn't changed much".
What Beers and the CIOs meeting in Atlanta understood was that the current model for enterprise applications - the way they're built, the way they're paid for, the value they create - is breaking down and had been long before Oracle dug deep to buy its competitor.
"What I'm trying to accomplish here," says Beers, "is to get others to pay attention to what's going on. If we can't architect ERP around our business model, we end up with a bunch of systems that don't interoperate. Value has to come from [integration], not from new point features. Otherwise, we can't achieve the value we expect from ERP."
That, not who won or lost in which boardroom, is what's important. In this article, we will present a plan for CIOs who use PeopleSoft (and JD Edwards). The plan will address tactical steps for the near-term, and also strategic plans for the profound, long-term change that Beers and many others are convinced is coming.
But first, let's reflect on why this is such an excellent time to be a PeopleSoft user.
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