PeopleSoft Attacks Wintel ERP with World Express Bundle
May 11, 2004 Alex Woodie
The most widely used and trusted ERP package for OS/400 is now available preloaded on a new eServer i5 server, starting at $50,000. Last week PeopleSoft announced its new World Express bundle, which includes a full license for World that’s customized for the buyer’s industry, a new i5 Model 520 server, and implementation services from a certified partner. Executives say the bundle offers small and midsized businesses a good alternative to Wintel applications.
“Why would you have the same operating system you use to play solitaire run your enterprise?” Dave Siebert, PeopleSoft’s World manager, asked his audience at the COMMON iSeries Nation Town Hall meeting last week in San Antonio. In front of that audience, there was no response necessary. You simply don’t. But for small and midsized businesses in general, the low upfront acquisition costs of Intel-based servers, and the huge number of applications written for Microsoft‘s Windows operating system, makes it a very difficult combination to pass up.
With the new World Express bundle, PeopleSoft is making an attempt to win new customers among companies that might otherwise choose a new Wintel-based ERP system to replace outdated software. The company is targeting World Express at manufacturers, distributors, home builders, and construction firms with annual revenues from $20 million to $100 million.
Despite its name, PeopleSoft World Express is not a stripped-down “lite” version of the standard World ERP application, which is relied upon to manage the day-to-day operations at more than 4,500 companies, including some of the world’s largest, such as Cargill, a $60 billion corporation with 10,000 World users. To the credit–and the chagrin–of J.D. Edwards, which was acquired by PeopleSoft in 2003, World users have largely declined to migrate to the multiplatform, C-based EnterpriseOne (formerly OneWorld), preferring instead to stick with their World, which was written in RPG and runs so well on AS/400, iSeries, and now i5 servers.
Users will find the same five core modules in World Express–financials, distribution, manufacturing, human resources, and project management–as they’ll find in the World application, and they will also have the option of looking at World’s nearly 5,000 screens in either green-screen or HTML. Depending on whether the user is in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, or construction, users will be able to select from 31 industry-specific business processes, such as returning item to suppliers, performing product or job costing, and managing accounts receivable balances.
Siebert says he expects that World Express will resonate most among those companies that are looking to replace older business applications, especially those that already have an AS/400 or iSeries. Since World only runs on the OS/400 platform, closing a deal for World Express will hinge on selling customers on the i5 servers and the OS/400 “religion,” especially as it compares to Windows.
PeopleSoft is using figures from a META Group study to back up its case for the cost-effectiveness of the iSeries, compared with Windows. The study found that the total cost of ownership of an iSeries-based ERP implementations was 60 percent less than a comparable Windows-based ERP implementation when the costs are spread out over three years. While that META Group study is nearly two years old now, and wasn’t perfect to begin with (see “META Group Study Finds OS/400 Quite the Deal”), it’s still the most recent study analyzing this important cost metric as it pertains to ERP implementations.
In making his case for the World-iSeries combination over Wintel alternatives, Siebert cited a competitive analysis study conducted by analyst Robert Tipton that gives World high marks compared with three ERP systems from Microsoft Business Solutions: Great Plains, Navision, and Axapta. In the section of the study PeopleSoft distributed to the press, World ranked higher than all others in terms of the “overall attractiveness” of the packages for manufacturers and for services-oriented companies, and for iSeries and non-iSeries customers alike. Also released was a feature/function comparison conducted by Tipton, in which World bested the three Microsoft ERP packages in every area of financial management, such as general ledger, accounts payable, cash management. In one case World came into a tie for project accounting with Axapta, a multi-language, multi-currency package that Tipton consistently ranked higher than the other Microsoft ERP packages.
Siebert is also getting some help from executives higher up in the organization over the religious battle between OS/400 and Windows. Craig Conway, PeopleSoft’s CEO and president, made the following statements about OS/400 servers in a taped video that was shown to Town Hall attendees last week: “You can hit it with a bazooka, you can run over it with a tank, and it just keeps running. It is a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.”
PeopleSoft says World Express will be available sometime this quarter, which ends June 30. For more information, go to www.peoplesoft.com.