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PeopleSoft, Inc. NASDAQ: PSFT was a software company that provided enterprise resource planning, human resource management and customer relationship management software solutions to large corporations. Founded in 1987 by Dave Duffield and Ken Morris, and headquartered in Pleasanton, California, PeopleSoft's roots began with an idea Duffield had about a "Client-Server" (then a new concept) version of Integral's popular mainframe HRMS package. Once Integral declined development and released Duffield to pursue this endeavor on his own, PeopleSoft was born. In January 2005, however, PeopleSoft was acquired by the Oracle Corporation and ceased to be an independent company, although its products continue to be used by thousands of companies.
The software is modularized into specific components, including payroll, human resources, inventory, various accounting packages, and student enrollment. PeopleSoft is well known for its ability to be easily "customized," or tailor-made, to fit the specific business needs of each client, while still being generic enough to meet corporate and governmental tracking requirements. Its detractors decry the frequent bugs found in the system, which required patches and fixes. PeopleSoft — like most large software companies — spawned an industry-within-an-industry of PeopleSoft consulting, the implementation and maintenance of the product.
The whole software suite of PeopleSoft moved from the traditional client-server based design to web-centric design, called PeopleSoft Internet Architecture(PIA). The end result was that all of a company's business functions could be accessed and run on a web client. A small number of security and system setup functions, though, still needed to be performed on a fat client machine. It successfully weathered architectural changes from client-server to the internet due to its innovative meta-database design.
The architecture is built around PeopleSoft’s own PeopleTools technology. PeopleTools is a proprietary development platform created by PeopleSoft. This platform includes many different components a developer needs to create an application including a scripting language, user interface design tools, standard security structure, and batch processing tools. The benefit of creating their own development platform allowed PeopleSoft applications to run under many different operating systems and database platforms. Once mastered, the PeopleTools development platform allows for rapid development and deployment.
All of PeopleSoft’s modules (Human Resources, Supply Chain, Financials, CRM, etc.) are built with the PeopleTools technology. A benefit of the technology is that all the code which makes up a module can be customized to suit the owner’s business needs. However, this ease of customization has led to a many failed or ailing implementations of the PeopleSoft products due to over-customizations or poorly designed customizations.
In 2003, PeopleSoft performed a friendly merger with smaller rival J.D. Edwards software. The rival with a similar product line provided strange synergies for the newly-combined company. J.D. Edwards products catered to small to mid-sized companies running a variety of hardware platforms, including IBM AS/400, HP, UNIX, and Windows, as well as various database systems, like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2. In addition, PeopleSoft was then committed to supporting an old-style "green screen" application — the same application which drove Duffield to branch out and create PeopleSoft in the first place.
Beginning in 2003, PeopleSoft battled with Oracle over control of the PeopleSoft company. In June 2003, Oracle made a $7 billion bid ($19.50/share) in a hostile corporate takeover attempt. In February 2004, Oracle increased their bid to approximately $9.4 billion ($26/share), a 33% increase; this offer was also rejected forthwith by PeopleSoft's board of directors. Later that month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit to block Oracle, on the grounds that the acquisition would break anti-trust laws; however, in September 2004, the suit was rejected by a U.S. Federal judge, who found that the Justice Department had not proven its anti-trust case; in October, the same decision was handed down by the European Commission. Though Oracle had reduced its offer to $7.7 billion ($21/share) in May, it again raised its bid in November to $9.4 billion ($24/share), marking a 14% increase.
In December 2004, Oracle announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire PeopleSoft for approximately $10.3 billion ($26.50/share). In January 2005, Oracle fired massive numbers of former PeopleSoft employees. Although these cuts affected about 9% of the 55,000 staff of the combined companies, they stated that they would maintain at least 90% of PeopleSoft's product development and support staff, at least for the time being.
PeopleSoft in use
PeopleSoft software has been successfully implemented by most of its customers. However, like any large corporatation, there are situations which have resulted in litigation. As with any ERP software, the implementation process (including analysis, planning and development), performance (load) testing and various other types of software testing is absolutely critical towards the success of the project.
In 1997, Cleveland State University licensed PeopleSoft's software for tracking student records. After seven years of difficulties, they sued PeopleSoft for $510 million, claiming breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and four other counts. The university claimed that software developed by PeopleSoft was missing specified features, and as a result caused disruption to their admissions process.
In December 1999, seven of the eight "Big 10" Midwestern universities which licensed PeopleSoft's software wrote a joint, open letter to the PeopleSoft CEO complaining about quality and performance issues.
In the winter of 2003, UMass Amherst rolled out PeopleSoft's student records system. Columbia University also began using it to track faculty and staff human resources records and allow self-service to update personal information and paystubs.
- PeopleSoft Website
- Oracle Website
- Jobs go at Oracle after takeover - BBC Newsde:PeopleSoft
- Dueling Fools: Oracle Bear - Motley Fool
- IT for all the right reasons - Manufacturer.com
- Oracle certifies PeopleSoft Enterprise apps with latest Oracle ... - Manila Bulletin
- Oracle set to take Siebel within weeks - CRM-Forum News
- UPDATE 4-Oracle net drops on PeopleSoft costs - Reuters
- Oracle net drops on PeopleSoft costs - ABC News
- Oracle Q2 earnings drop on PeopleSoft costs - Sify
- Oracle Certifies PeopleSoft Apps on Fusion Middleware Stack - eWeek
- Oracle improves PeopleSoft integration - ZDNet UK
- PeopleSoft becomes one with Oracle Fusion - Register
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