PeopleSoft Joins The Hunt For SMEs
On January 8, PeopleSoft Inc. (NASDAQ: PSFT), one of the
leading business applications providers, announced PeopleSoft 8
Accelerated Enterprise, one of the first turnkey solutions
that combines Internet-based applications, rapid implementation services,
training, and financing for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) ranging
from start-ups to companies with $500 million in revenue.
Enterprise should allow mid-size enterprises to rapidly implement and
manage PeopleSoft 8 eBusiness applications, including
Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM),
Human Resources Management System (HRMS), Financials, and Professional
Services Automation (PSA). The company claims its comprehensive PeopleSoft
8 Accelerated Enterprise solution can be implemented in eight to 12 weeks.
enterprises are being left behind in the race for eBusiness," said Jim
Hosner, vice president of PeopleSoft Mid-Market Solutions, the division
responsible for Accelerated Enterprise. "PeopleSoft Mid-Market Solutions
delivers the market's only cost effective, fully integrated, pure internet
eBusiness solution that can be rapidly deployed to customers as a turnkey
CRM, Supply Chain, and PSA solutions are scheduled for delivery in the
Accelerated Enterprise model in the first quarter of 2001. Industry solutions
will also be available in the first quarter.
on January 8, IBM and PeopleSoft announced a partnership to speed up the
delivery of business applications. PeopleSoft has selected IBM
Business Partners to offer mid-market customers a rapid
deployment program for PeopleSoft 8 applications. The companies announced
Architecture Jumpstart, an ISO 9000 certified, rapid eBusiness
deployment program designed for the fast implementation needs of mid-market
customers. The pre-packaged turnkey solution includes a workstation and
an NT application and database server, all pre-bundled and offered with
fixed pricing to deliver a completely installed and configured environment
which includes demo, testing, training and production databases.
the initial roll out, IBM, PeopleSoft's Architecture Jumpstart partner,
will combine its hardware platform, IBM eServer xSeries
(NT) with PeopleSoft eBusiness applications to deliver to customers
a completely installed and configured environment. Architecture Jumpstart
will also include the recently announced support of DB2 Universal
Database with PeopleSoft 8. Current plans call for further IBM
platforms such as IBM's eServer pSeries (AIX) to be added as the
Architecture Jumpstart program is expanded.
selected IBM Business Partners Innovative Information Solutions (Innovative)
within the United States and Compugen within Canada to sell Architecture
Jumpstart. PeopleSoft Consulting will be providing the implementation
services for PeopleSoft Architecture Jumpstart. PeopleSoft Consulting
pledges it will help customers adopt the technology quickly, easily and
with minimal disruption to daily business activities, with the potential
for higher value realization for customers. PeopleSoft Architecture Jumpstart
is now generally available. The program will be rolled out globally after
trials in the North America.
the mid-market open season started over two years ago, the last year saw
a growing awareness of the market segment as fertile ground, and PeopleSoft
is no exception. We believe 2001 will see culmination in this space, as
SMEs rush to adopt newly announced offerings tailored for them. Look also
for a continued evolution of these suite applications. Over the last three
years the market has seen a plethora of fixed-scope and fixed-price applications,
pre-packaged vertical solutions, attractive support programs and hosting
services with catchy names, all aimed at making it faster, simpler and
cheaper for enterprises under $500 million to use them. However, all of
these typically also involved some form of trade-off in the name of expediency.
The features traded might have been functionality, customizability, platform
options, solution scalability or extensibility. In that regard, it is
not very clear from PeopleSoft's typical PR announcement what the 'killer'
value proposition differentiator is.
particularly the Tier 1, still have their work cut out for them. Those
who can deliver solutions that satisfy the exacting, stringent requirements
of vertical markets are in the driver's seat to capture that market segment.
Meeting the mid-market's needs will also require ERP vendors to improve
ease of installation, ROI, interoperability, and service support networks.
Moreover, escalating competition in the market will definitely make price
a significant competitive factor. The key consideration for solutions
that serve this market will also be the level of integration throughout
the entire offering.
short implementation benchmarks will remain an important decision factor,
quick implementation will evolve into an order qualifier rather than an
order winner, as vendors have been converging in delivering more streamlined
methodologies to meet customers' business needs and tight budgets. Differentiation
will become a tight vertical focus, with solutions targeted down even
to the individual SIC code. This granularity of vertical focus has been
apparently adopted by SAP (for more information, see SAP
Claims Big Gains In The Low-End Battleground). It appears that PeopleSoft
will follow suit and one should look for its vertical solutions' general
availability announcements in the future.
a recap, the major factors of success in business applications for the
small and mid market segment are price, speed of implementation, vertical
focus, product suite integration, product scalability and scope expandability,
and a single point of contact. PeopleSoft seems to have tackled most of
them, partly owing to its pure Internet-based product architecture (which
provides for easier deployability and a more intuitive user interface).
one should not expect PeopleSoft's mid-market initiative to have a smooth
ride. Although less notoriously negatively publicized than SAP, PeopleSoft
remains a complex application, and the Internet architecture and new interface
can mitigate that only so much. This perception of complexity remains
as the ammunition that the smaller vendors will continue to exploit in
order to hinder their bigger brethren's attempt to penetrate their traditional
Interested customers in particular industries should certainly consider
PeopleSoft's mid-market offering and carefully determine their needs and
implementation time framework, bearing in mind problems typical with new
product releases. Organizations seeking a Web-based solution and out-of-box
functionality with little or no customization may benefit from evaluating
the ASP offering.
strongly recommend identifying your clear e-business strategy and conducting
thorough comparison-shopping, at least for the sake of information leverage.
Consider all options. Most importantly identify what needs are "must have"
requirements and a timeline for additional components. Once identified,
comparison-shop and use the related information to negotiate the best
price for the solution.
vendors offer their own version of SMB solutions with programs for rapid,
lower-cost implementations. While vendors' endeavors in that regard are
highly commendable, the "caveat emptor" approach is still
applicable. Although some smaller companies would be well off with scaled-down
versions of rapidly implemented, Tier 1 software applications, for many
companies this may not necessarily be the best solution. PeopleSoft remains
a complex application; therefore, make sure that you do not sacrifice
functionality and/or customizability for the sake of a quick implementation,
since that may cost you more in the long run.
mid-market companies today's dynamic business environment means the survival
of the most agile and flexible. When evaluating a software application,
companies often fall for a snazzy user interface or raw number-crunching
power. However, a flexible system should also offer features like tools
and templates, cross-reference checks, and many other parameterization
utilities that provide significant system changes without changing source
code. Make sure that what you select now will keep abreast of the technology
changes in the future. It may sometimes be more beneficial to implement
the right solution slowly than to rush the wrong one into place.
comprehensive and generic recommendations for both current and potential
PeopleSoft users can be found in PeopleSoft
8 Launched - Anything to Write Home About?