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SearchDatabase.com members speak out about the Oracle/PeopleSoft saga

SearchDatabase.com members sound off about Oracle's takeover bid of PeopleSoft.

The Oracle/PeopleSoft saga continues to confound, annoy, and excite the industry, depending on who you talk to. Here is a selection of comments from SearchDatabase.com members about the takeover bid.

Joseph W. writes: "We would have a hard time supporting an Oracle DBMS platform both in terms of costs and of staffing. Most of the early articles I've seen about the buyout have down-played the Oracle DB side as though all PeopleSoft customers are already using Oracle...For those of us that are not Oracle users, this could be a major blow.

"We've just spent a small fortune and a few years implementing this software. With a merger like this one, it could result in some of us dropping out of the ERP market altogether and going back to in-house development where we have at least some control over when and if we want to move to another vendor. Nothing I've read so far gives a comfortable feeling that Ellison has anyone but Oracle (and maybe not even them) in mind for benefits from this buyout."

That's a common sentiment among our members, but many also would beg to differ. A SearchDatabase.com poll asking "If Oracle acquires PeopleSoft, will PeopleSoft's customers benefit?" was almost evenly split: 40% said yes, 48% said no. After posting this result, many members fired up their email clients and gave us their two cents. Here is a sampling:

Frank M. said simply: "Without question, PeopleSoft customers would suffer."

Jim W. agrees with Joseph W. with regard to the cost to PeopleSoft customers should the merger succeed. "I'm hoping that it does NOT happen. We already have too much unemployment in the S.F. Bay Area and Larry Ellison stated outright he would jettison PeopleSoft employees if his bid for the company succeeds. I have no doubt he will, given how Oracle employees periodically are "shown the door."

Dennis F. writes: "I would suspect that SQL Server users would still be supported. They represent an incremental revenue stream to the owners of PeopleSoft. It escapes me, however, why anyone would build their future on NT and any RDBMS. There is just too much instability in this marketplace. Unix class servers are better at supporting the DBMS, just as cheap, and there is a multiplicity of UNIX-based RDBMS systems that work."

David C. begins his comments with the downside to the deal:

  • With less competition in the RDBMS and ERP market, customers can expect to see less flexibility in licensing and maintenance costs.
  • PeopleSoft has seemed to be more successful in the area of ERP applications, such as financials, HR, etc. There is concern that Oracle will kill off the PeopleSoft apps and force customers to use the Oracle apps.
On the other hand, he writes, there are potential advantages:
  • Most PeopleSoft users are already using Oracle RDBMS. Now they can deal with a single account rep and support team (less vendor relationships to manage).
  • Oracle will gain some competitive edge on IBM, who is trying to get PeopleSoft users to move from Oracle RDBMS to DB2 RDBMS.

Marty M. also has a pro-Oracle message: "For the person talking about Oracle being expensive to implement, he may want to reconsider. First, Oracle's costs are coming down to be competitive to SQL Server. Early editions of SQL Server were the old 'lost leader' tactic of marketing. Once they 'hook' you the cost of it will go up substantially. Oracle is wanting to increase market share and has been offering some 'bargains' themselves, so the cost of software can become moot, especially with good negotiation.

As to the overhead of managing Oracle, initial installation is more labor-intensive, but subsequent maintenance is less burdensome. The cost of manpower is decreasing as most Oracle DBAs work at large firms and many are looking for jobs due to the events at Enron, Dynegy, Williams, Reliant, and El Paso, which creates a large pool of DBAs. Many of these DBAs also are versant with SQL Server (or its distant cousin Sybase) and would be able to support multi-platform. Many in the industry want a stable work environment, which education, despite low pay, does offer. So, I would encourage them to 'think again'.

I would also offer that while Oracle would want you to go with their database (and offer incentives to implement Peoplesoft that way), they also are business-savvy enough to know that they must support 'old platforms' (ie., SQL Server), to continue marketing a viable product (ie., Peoplesoft).

Michael S. is incensed: "I can't believe that any of the 40% who responded that PeopleSoft customers would benefit if Oracle acquires PeopleSoft are PeopleSoft customers themselves. Implementing ERP software is a daunting task and once completed, the last thing in the world you want to do is switch platforms. Even with Oracle promising to give us their software for free, the costs of conversion and retraining would be huge, and we would have to pay this for the privilege of running a software package that most of us rejected in favor of PeopleSoft in the first place. If the arrogant Mr. Ellison wants to find out how popular this option would be among PeopleSoft customers, he could offer to convert them for free now.

Dick G. writes: "From the database side, having Oracle acquire PeopleSoft would be a good thing. PeopleSoft, by their own admission, has 80%of their installed licenses running with Oracle as the backend. Yet they develop on SQL Server and code to that beast. The end result is an application that makes use of the database just as if it was a file system. And try to get them to fix port specific problems.. It's a nightmare. One ends up figuring it out for yourself and then having to "customize" to make the panel behave. Oh, and don't forget, any customization needs to be reapplied when you upgrade. Damn messy."

Wayne F. admonishes us not to forget about "that other database. We are in a similar boat to you but ours is called the great ship DB2 and I can see it going the way of the Titanic if this merger goes through."

C.M. writes: I'd love to see Oracle acquire Peoplesoft, the product might finally work.

Carol C. writes: As a reluctant IT member who had Oracle force-fed several years ago, I can appreciate the negative comments. However, we all know that technology is only good for today and that tomorrow it may be obsolete. Unless we can adapt to new technologies quickly and without squirming too much, we won't be through complaining before the next-great comes along. So get ready boys and girls, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

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