Fed PeopleSoft users concerned

Federal users of PeopleSoft Inc.'s Human Resources Management System are concerned that if Oracle Corp. succeeds in a hostile takeover bid, they will ultimately have to migrate to Oracle software.

Oracle has pledged ongoing support for PeopleSoft products, but some information technology leaders are worried anyway, said Hans Heidenreich, project director of the Internet Combined Administrative Management System at the Agriculture Department and chairman of a federal PeopleSoft users group.

The Agriculture Department's administrative management system is essentially an implementation of PeopleSoft HRMS version 8 used by about 40 percent of the agency, he said.

"If we had to convert [to another system], that would be a major undertaking," he said. "With the way things work in the government, that would be having to do it all over again."

Meanwhile, PeopleSoft is trying to meet its projected quarterly revenue of $85 million to $95 million for the quarter that ends June 30. Company spokesman Steve Swasey declined to say how close PeopleSoft is to meeting the goal, but admitted that uncertainty spurred by Oracle's bid has affected the company's buyers.

Despite Oracle's recent promises to support and enhance PeopleSoft software, many users are afraid they will be forced to migrate to Oracle.

"Clearly there are some disruptions to our business," Swasey said. "Oracle has made some very threatening language about the future of PeopleSoft products. We're outreaching to our customers and prospects with what we consider to be a prudent response."

Swasey declined to say what special deals the company is offering. The Associated Press reported today that PeopleSoft is offering full refunds if Oracle acquires it.

"We are heads-down focused on closing our quarter," which ends June 30, Swasey said. "[Chief executive officer] Craig Conway made that commitment earlier this month when this hostile takeover attempt was launched. We have 8,200 employees focused on meeting customer needs, and we are working close the quarter."

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