22 October 2002 “PeopleSoft does not have a product problem in Europe, but an awareness challenge,” according to CEO Craig Conway. At least that is the message that came out from the first day of the enterprise application vendor’s European user conference in Paris.
But Conway highlighted PeopleSoft’s growing presence in Europe, which he claims now accounts for a quarter of revenues – after many years of struggling to build up a significant presence outside the US – although the company’s last annual report suggests it is just 14%.
During another keynote at the conference, PeopleSoft senior vice president of the EMEA region Steve Rowley claimed that 30 European customers bought the software vendor’s customer relationship management (CRM) suite in the last quarter alone and that the company is now the second largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor in France – after SAP.
Despite these positive announcements, PeopleSoft has been criticised by analysts for lack of visibility and marketing focus for several of its products. In response, Conway admitted that its German rival SAP, PeopleSoft’s biggest competitor, was making “more noise” in Europe and that PeopleSoft would have to invest more in marketing and advertising in the region to combat SAP’s aggressiveness.
In terms of its market strategy, Ram Gupta, PeopleSoft’s executive vice president of products and technology, provided an insight into how the company sees its position in the industry.
Commenting on a new alliance whereby IBM Global Services Consulting would re-sell PeopleSoft’s human resources software, Gupta claimed that IBM’s recent acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting would alienate his company’s biggest competitors in the ERP and CRM markets.
According to Gupta, the first side effect of the acquisition will be the withdrawal of Oracle from partnerships with PwC Consulting because it competes with IBM. Furthermore, IBM Global Services Consulting’s new partnership with PeopleSoft will make it a preferred partner over CRM specialist Siebel, which Gupta said was “going down the drain”.
Finally, SAP may begin to distance itself from IBM because SAP is beginning to sell more application developer tools for its own e-procurement exchange platform, which Gupta says will eventually compete with similar tools from IBM.
But whether Gupta’s predictions of the future of IBM’s relationships with these three companies will eventually benefit PeopleSoft remains to be seen.