PeopleSoft Canada builds up channel post-JDE merger

PeopleSoft Canada has spent the past 12 hectic months that saw its parent company merge J.D. Edwards and keep Oracle Corp. at bay by carving out a channel program and evolving its services division.

The Canadian channel has

acquired four partners, including two in Quebec and one each in Ontario and Western Canada, said Andrew Aicklen, vice-president and managing director, PeopleSoft Canada Co., Toronto.

Aicklen, who attended the company’s Leadership Summit this week in Las Vegas, said PeopleSoft Canada is recruiting a total of two more in Ontario and Western Canada over the next two months.

This wasn’t always the case. When Aicklen arrived at the software firm four years ago, he found no channel but an alliance program of five or six partners to install systems and only a direct sales team to sell software products.

“”When we acquired J.D. Edwards, they had their own channel, albeit a little bit smaller than I would have expected,”” he said. “”The first thing I did is we made sure we had dedicated resources to work with the channel.

“”I got to understand exactly how it was working . . . (and) where you make money. You make a little bit off the software, and you you really make most of it off your implementation services or selling hardware.””

Although the U.S. head office was “”much more aggressive”” about building a big channel, Aicklen said he believed one must support the existing team and expand only if it cannot fully serve the industries and regions it’s aligned with.

PeopleSoft Canada, which is pursuing an “”untapped market”” in the enterprise application software space selling to companies valued at $150 million and below, is betting on 25 per cent growth over last year in software licensing revenues and 15 per cent in services.

Although the banks have levelled off spending on technology in the last few years, PeopleSoft Canada has begun to see growing interest from the Quebec market. Although subsidiaries cannot divulge financials, the region of Eastern Canada, or Quebec East, in the first quarter of 2004 delivered the most revenue for the Canadian division, he said.

“”The tradition has always been (a strong) Ontario. (But) when I first got here, a couple of years ago, Western Canada was the dominant player.””

Aicklen attributed much of Quebec East’s success to a new director in Quebec, Michel Gill, who has established a solid team and worked in the past with IBM and HP, gaining “”relationship-selling”” experience that in turn has helped his staff sell product to other companies.

In Western Canada, Aicklen said, PeopleSoft Canada will have a fantastic year, particularly in the industries of health care and higher education. He said the market can expect announcements related to higher education in the next 90 days.

Noting the way the landscape of enterprise resource planning has changed, Stephan Scholl, regional VP, PeopleSoft Global Services, Toronto, said Canadian customers have adopted a “”once bitten, twice shy”” mentality because of problems stemming from cutting corners during Y2K implementations.

More often than not, Scholl said, customers want companies like PeopleSoft Canada to sell them more than just the software they preferred in 1999. He said they want an implementation plan, a quote on costs associated with hardware, support and maintenance, as well as an outline of the business case to buy the technology.

This is why Scholl said PeopleSoft Canada runs itself like a consultancy —— talking to clients about not only the products it can sell to them, but their businesses in general.

Looking ahead, Scholl sees promise in certain lines of its service business. “”For the first time in 2004, hosting is ready for prime time,”” he said, adding that this division saw a boost only at the end of last year. “”It’s the most exciting proposition because it’s a natural evolution for us. We have 90 hosting customers around the world.””

He said 70 per cent of the time his division must replicate customers’ problems to solve them when it would waste less time to host their application instead.

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