The fate of J.D. Edwards

DENVER – Hundreds of J.D. Edwards customers roamed around the trade show floor at the company’s annual user group conference here this week picking up brochures, pens, key chains and gossip.

Almost everyone wanted to know or has an opinion about the fate of JDE and whether it’s a bridesmaid

on the verge of getting hitched to PeopleSoft Inc. or about to be left at the alter thanks to the machinations of Oracle Corp.

“”It’s certainly the talk of the conference,”” said Ken McCarthy, vice-president of RMB Canada Inc., a maintenance consulting and software integration company based in Vineland, Ont., as he looked over the crowd.

Resellers and partners here are scanning newspapers and TV business shows every morning looking for the latest tidbit in hopes of figuring out how the financial dealing will help or hurt them.

Most are cheering for PeopleSoft to complete its acquisition of JDE, seeing sales opportunities from a merged company that would jump to number two in the enterprise resource planning software market.

Few have kind words for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, because if his bid to buy PeopleSoft is successful, he’ll stop selling its products to new customers, end its product development and leave JDE stranded.

Until Oracle’s offer is finally dealt with by the PeopleSoft board of directors, the situation has put it and JDE into a sort of limbo. Customers are likely to think carefully before committing to upgrades or new purchases for the next few weeks, potentially damaging both companies’ bottom lines and their share values. That could trigger cancellation clauses in the PeopleSoft-JDE deal, which, skeptics say could be Oracle’s goal.

Still, some VARs here see opportunity in the uncertainty. For example, Scott Lawrence, director of analytic applications marketing for Ottawa-based Cognos Inc., reminds people coming by his booth that the company’s business intelligence software runs on top of JDE, PeopleSoft and Oracle, so no matter what happens they’ll be protected.

Several people have told him they are considering JDE’s business intelligence module but are now looking for an open solution, he said.

Michael Saucier, vice-president of OSIsoft, a San Leandro, Calif., software company whose product manages the performance of network nodes, says the wheeling and dealing won’t affect his firm because it interfaces with over 300 applications.

But others, like Bob Kearney, vice-president of marketing at Image Integration Systems of Williamsville, N.Y., prefer the PeopleSoft-JDE deal to go through.

The document management company is certified on JDE and SAP, the number four and number one in enterprise software. A bigger PeopleSoft would mean they’d be certified on the top two in the market, he explained.

“It’s going to cause some customers to stop and think twice” about buying, worried Michael Guerin, director of business development at TeamCain, a Peterborough, Ont. consulting and software distribution firm.

Meanwhile, JDE Canada is keeping quiet on how the proposed PeopleSoft deal will affect its four resellers in this country, who can hunt for customers with annual sales of under $150 million.

“”It’s business as usual”” is all Catherine Perry-Robertson, national channel sales manager, would say at the conference. “”We’re not freezing anything”” under the deal is approved.

Jean-Marc Leboeuf, president of The Createch Group of Montreal, a JDE consulting company that has just become one of JDE’s newest resellers, isn’t concerned about the uncertainty.

“I’d probably be more worried if PeopleSoft had a reseller channel,” he said in a pre-conference interview.

As for an Oracle conquest of PeopleSoft, there will be a bloodbath between the two organizations, he predicted.

Caught in the middle are JDE customers. Michael Geurin suggests they stay cool: “My advice to them is that if they’ve got a JDE solution it will be there for a few years.”

“For the time being,” said McCarthy, “I don’t think it’s going to affect our existing clients.”

Meanwhile, watch those news reports.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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