Oracle's Wookey Says PeopleSoft Developers Successfully Retained - InformationWeek

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Oracle's Wookey Says PeopleSoft Developers Successfully Retained

Development executive says "Fusion" architecture planning is under way, on schedule for 2007 and 2008 delivery.

Oracle's development teams have begun mapping out the architecture of the "Fusion" generation of applications that will merge Oracle's acquired PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards software with its own, John Wookey, Oracle's senior VP for applications development, said Thursday.

The teams, based at Oracle's Redwood Shores, Calif., headquarters and the former PeopleSoft headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., are on track to produce the Java-based applications in 2007 and 2008 as planned, Wookey said.

Speaking at the Strategy 21 conference on enterprise applications in Burlingame, Calif., Wookey said the main issues being navigated during the development have little to do with whether specific features would come from a PeopleSoft Enterprise application, a J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne application, or an Oracle E-Business Suite application.

"It's not just about features and functionality. It's about how we deliver the application. How will customers deploy them? Have we provided the tools to maintain and support them?" Wookey said in a question-and-answer session on stage at the conference. Wookey was questioned by Bruce Richardson, an analyst with AMR Research, the conference organizer. Getting to the next generation of applications also requires reorganizing them around services-oriented architecture principles and making them easier to customize and extend in the customer's environment, Wookey said. Oracle also wants to minimize the pain of upgrading applications, he added.

In a persistently upbeat message, Wookey said Oracle has successfully hired 99% of the PeopleSoft developers and technical-support staff that it sought to retain in mailed job offers Jan. 14. It stated at the time that it was seeking to rehire 90% of all PeopleSoft's developers and technical-support staff. Oracle actually made offers to more than 90%, "in the low 90s," he said.

The successful hiring represents "the commonality of our cultures" asserting itself after a bitter 18-month takeover struggle that was "played out in the press in a way where neither side said the best things about the other," he noted.

Oracle now has a stable of 8,000 developers, and PeopleSoft customers are finding Oracle has retained "the people they're used to working with for ongoing development and support practices." It remains Oracle's goal to have PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers say at the end of six months that their technical support "is as good or better than it was under PeopleSoft," Wookey said.

Oracle plans to build out the capabilities of all its applications, adding data-hub and transaction-based features that organize the handling of various forms of data and transactions. But Oracle has already established the model for doing so, Wookey said, and getting such features into the next generation of Oracle's E-Business Suite of applications in 2006 "is fairly straightforward."

"That gives us a pretty long runway" to get to Fusion applications, which should start appearing in 2007, with a full suite available in 2008, he said.

Asked if Oracle was selling the J.D. Edwards applications suite that runs on the IBM iSeries servers, formerly known as the AS/400, Wookey answered, "We're not."

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