Hoping to lure away PeopleSoft customers nervous about Oracle's acquisition of their vendor, Microsoft is launching a migration program offering PeopleSoft customers licensing and support discounts on Microsoft's rival business applications.
Microsoft is offering migration guides, a 25 per cent licensing discount, and a 25 per cent discount on the first year of maintenance and support to PeopleSoft customers who buy software from the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) portfolio by June 22. MBS is the group that created Microsoft CRM (customer relationship management) and houses Microsoft's acquired Great Plains and Navision accounting, e-commerce, analytics and human resource management applications. The migration program, offered globally, is available through Microsoft's channel of sales and implementation partners.
Microsoft has sent mixed signals about its interest in and ability to compete with PeopleSoft at the high end of the ERP (enterprise resource planning) market. When the US Department of Justice (DOJ) dragged Oracle to court last year to contest its PeopleSoft merger plans, MBS head, Doug Burgum, appeared as a DOJ witness to testify that Microsoft's business applications are suitable only for small and midsize companies. Burgum went so far as to admit problems with deploying MBS's Axapta software at office supplies maker, Esselte, a company whose more than US$1 billion in annual sales places it among the largest of Microsoft's business applications customers.
Despite Burgum's claims - which the trial judge dismissed as unreliable and self-serving - Microsoft continues to hold up its products as an option for almost any back-office need.
"There is a recent and strong history in PeopleSoft customers looking at our solutions since all of this news has been going on," MBS Corporate vice-president of Marketing and Strategy, Tami Reller, said. Microsoft's migration offer covers all three of PeopleSoft's product sets, the World and EnterpriseOne applications PeopleSoft acquired from J.D. Edwards and the Enterprise software it aimed at its biggest and most complex customers.
"If you look at the world's largest enterprises, those companies are typically going to go with a non-Microsoft solution for their hubs, but their divisions could use a Microsoft solution," Reller said.
One Microsoft partner hoping to take advantage of the offer, New York-based services firm InterDyn AKA, said all seven of the PeopleSoft to Great Plains migration projects it has done in the past few years have been classic midmarket deployments of 100 or fewer seats. InterDyn AKA President Alan Kahn has seen increased interest in his firm's migration services since PeopleSoft began wrangling with Oracle nearly two years ago, but he doesn't think any of the deals AKA landed were primarily motivated by merger concerns.
"We haven't closed any specific deals since it became clear PeopleSoft would be bought," Kahn said. AKA's customers have generally chosen to migrate to reduce costs and simplify their IT infrastructure, he said. For smaller organizations that rely on Windows and Microsoft's Office applications, Microsoft business applications can be easier to integrate and use than PeopleSoft's more complex software.