PeopleSoft’s ASP Play

  • Written By: A. Turner
  • Published: March 31 2000


Event Summary

On March 7th, PeopleSoft announced PeopleSoft eCenter, a next-generation ASP providing integrated eBusiness applications. PeopleSoft eCenter is designed to offer rapid deployment and proactive services for PeopleSoft eBusiness applications, with single-vendor accountability and an enhanced customer experience.

ECenter offers access to PeopleSoft front- and back-office applications, as well as both buy-side and sell-side e-commerce solutions. Using an Internet portal customized to specific business environments and users, the application incorporates a scalable, thin client based on the PeopleSoft 8 Internet Architecture.

It is available in North America and will be rolled out globally over the next year. PeopleSoft's partnerships with certified outsourcing providers allow customers to choose a hosting service that best meets their needs.

PeopleSoft eCenter delivers integrated core back-office solutions such as the PeopleSoft Human Resource Management System and PeopleSoft Financial Management. The eCenter also hosts PeopleSoft eProcurement for sell-side e-commerce.

In the second half of 2000, PeopleSoft expects to start hosting their eStore, Customer Relationship Management suite, Supply Chain Management, solutions for Government and Higher Education, and business intelligence solutions, as well as non-PeopleSoft applications through eCenter. They also plan to host trading exchanges for business-to-business buying and selling over the Web.

They have designed eCenter to deliver an enhanced user experience through each phase of a customer's application hosting experience. The PeopleSoft eCenter self-service portal can be customized for companies and individual users. It offers Vantive's eHelpDesk to enable customers to review problem status and asset information, search for product information, and query existing resolutions for known problems. PeopleSoft eCenter will also provide Web chat, allowing customers to exchange information with each other.

The company is also offering customer relationship managers as a single point of contact for customers. These managers are dedicated to PeopleSoft eCenter customers to escalate and expedite their service issues. The eCenter provides dedicated 24x7 customer support. In addition, eCenter customers will have access to PeopleSoft implementation project managers throughout the implementation phase.

PeopleSoft eCenter offers the reliability, scalability, and security of leading, global e-business infrastructure providers, including Exodus Communications, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems Inc., MCI WorldCom, and Pilot Network Services.

Market Impact

Depending on who you listen to, PeopleSoft is either behind, or on track with their competitors. SAP, JD Edwards, and Oracle have all made ASP related announcements within the last year. We are also seeing mid-market ERP vendors such as Great Plains joining the movement. Ahead or behind may be a function of ambitious marketing departments. The true measure is application availability, the number of customers using the solution, and how the e-business suites are adapted to perform over the Internet.

To that end, PeopleSoft may be late in relation to or JD Edwards. While PeopleSoft's eBusiness is designed for organizations of all sizes, they are focusing on rapidly growing businesses, such as start-ups and "dot coms." The service is designed so companies can take advantage of PeopleSoft's solutions and expertise without incurring many of the up-front costs of a large-scale system purchase or having to manage relationships with multiple vendors.

With ASP market estimates ranging from $8 billion to $22 billion by 2003, these companies are pushing pre-sales to lock customers into their solutions. It's too soon to tell the ultimate "winners", but innovation, strategic partnerships, and open connectivity will continue to dominate their offerings.

User Recommendations

Start-ups and fast growing companies have a plethora of choices. We suggest identifying the needs of your organization in relation to resources and future growth. Some of the immediate benefits of the application service provider model are access to robust solutions with limited investment (comparatively speaking), reduced hardware costs, and limited IT resource costs. However, additional issues such as support, scalability, and response time need to be considered.

While not mentioned in PeopleSoft's eCenter announcements, we believe that PeopleSoft intends to maintain a License Based fee structure. Most ASP models rely on a "pay as you go" model. If you are considering PeopleSoft's solution, identify the fee architecture and compare it to other offerings before signing an agreement that might lock you into a 3-5 year contract.


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