Services company puts its money where its mouth is

A Canadian PeopleSoft partner is test-driving its Enterprise Services Automation solution internally while trying to interest its customers in the concept.

PeopleSoft started touting the merits of enterprise service automation

last year as a way for organizations to better manage the money they spend on services. These are companies where different departments hire contractors from different sources to do the same kind of work, pay them different rates and aren’t aware of the costs for each project. Halifax-based Xwave, which provides IT services to Canadian public and private sector organizations, is starting to sell the idea and the product, but not before it realized it could benefit from an ESA implementation itself.

“”Xwave grew through a combination of several companies which led to a lot of business process engineering with a half-dozen disparate systems that tracked down orders or expenses,”” says Graham Mowbray, business development manager with xwave’s PeopleSoft practice. “”We needed to get standards.””

Xwave has already cut its IT service spending by 30 per cent. At the same time, it is deploying the PeopleSoft tools to customers like Aliant, Mowbray says, allowing the telecom company to keep track of time for various trades and workers who are creating subdivisions and building physical plants. “”Those are things that telcos have traditionally not done,”” he says. “”Therefore they don’t have the processes in place to keep track of and bill for the time that they spend.””

“”It was one of those ones we didn’t market initially as a company; we just started going out and selling it,”” says PeopleSoft Canada vice-president sales John Bodolai. “”Things like e-procurement are good for controlling the hard goods, but a large part of their costs are on the services side, and they want better control of that.””

In some respects, Mowbray says that ESA is a repackaging of existing solutions. “”It doesn’t have to be a PeopleSoft ESA solution. I like to think of it as another level of integration in an enterprise. More than just sharing data, we’re starting to share better insight or analysis between suites,”” he says.

Bodolai says ESA candidates include companies that either don’t have visibility into their projects or a lot of disparate systems running multiple projects. That sounds like a large market, and Gartner has pegged it as a US$1.5 billion opportunity by 2005, but Mowbray admits it will take time to grow.

“”Almost everything in the IT industry these days is a hard sell,”” he said. “”Where we stand at the moment is our own internal organization and Aliant. There are probably two or three other clients that we’re talking to at the moment, and that’s probably the extent of the ESA opportunity that we see. PeopleSoft, they’re pursuing a number of these, and we’re pursuing some of them with them, but it’s very much an emerging market.””

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