Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The War for PeopleSoft is over: Someone forgot to tell Workday

In the year before PeopleSoft was bought by Oracle in a hostile takeover in 2005, there was a huge amount of drama in the marketplace (about whether the deal would go through due to anti-trust laws) and even Gartner was in the mix.

Oracle did succeed in buying PeopleSoft and most of the Senior Executives at PeopleSoft ended up leaving the company. Today, PeopleSoft is a successful part of Oracle and at Oracle OpenWorld last month, CEO Larry Ellison did a nice job of telling the Fusion story (the integration of a number of legacy products into a common platform). Oracle Fusion looks good and because of that and Oracle execution in general, Customers feel a lot better about Oracle than they did back in the day. The battle for PeopleSoft is over, Oracle won.

However, when you hear from an upstart called Workday, which features former PeopleSoft executives Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, it sounds like the battle is not over. Workday is doing some great marketing (particularly with press and analyst influence), but as always with marketing and spin, you have to separate the facts from the fiction.

Today, Workday is still a pre-IPO start-up. Oracle is a Titan. Besides PeopleSoft, over the last few years Oracle has gobbled up Siebel Systems and most recently Sun Microsystems (this week they announced a $1.5 Billion deal to buy RightNow).

It used to be easy to bash Oracle, but times have changed and Oracle is bringing its A game. They make a compelling argument to the Enterprise CFO to consolidate and go with an all Oracle Suite. On top of that, Oracle also is launching their own Public Cloud.

Ripping out core HR is easier said than done, particularly when Oracle now has  Oracle Social Network, a full Social platform that integrates with its HR Suite. So, let the war of words continue and we'll see how both providers fare in the land of execution.

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