SAP’s Safe Passage Program Attracts 200-Plus Firms

More than 200 former PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel and Retek customers have moved to SAP via its Safe Passage program since its introduction January 2005.

The program was set up to entice companies worried about the uncertainties associated with Oracle’s acquisition of their main enterprise application. It offers companies SAP software, technology and maintenance services, as well as access to the SAP NetWeaver integration platform.

Among those companies that switched to SAP are Altana Chemie, Areva T&D India, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, AXA, Bilcare, CLLS, Diesel, Foodstuffs South Island, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Holland Casino, Riddell Bell, Rotkaeppchen, Swiss Army Brands, Thakral, Twit Wing, UniLab, Veka, Waste Management, Winkhaus Data, and Yazaki Europe.

Leveraging Uncertainty

Indeed, SAP has made the most of the upheaval caused by Oracle’s acquisition binge, particularly its hostile takeover of PeopleSoft a few years ago. To a large extent, there is validity in customers’ fears: Any company, even one of Oracle’s size, would find it difficult to absorb so many acquisitions.

There is also the concern that Oracle might intend to forcibly migrate customers to an application — the Oracle enterprise stack — that they likely already rejected during their initial due diligence.

Oracle, however, has gone to great lengths to reassure customers — especially its valuable PeopleSoft base — that it will not only support the applications it acquired but also offer a future product road map, called Oracle Fusion, around which companies can plan their IT operations.

It has plans to roll out PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12 this year. In 2007, a new version of JD Edwards World is expected.

At various corporate events, Oracle president Chuck Phillips has noted that the vast majority of former PeopleSoft, Siebel and other acquired customers will find it easy to upgrade to Oracle Fusion Applications.

Loyal Customer Base

Siebel’s customers in particular, it is thought, are unlikely to leave the application family unless sorely pressed. These customers, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer, cares deeply for the rich functionality for which Siebel is so well known.

“Siebel has a very loyal customer base that will not throw away its investment unless they feel they have no choice,” she maintained.

Also, while there is much about Fusion that remains unknown, it clear that Oracle will be incorporating Siebel’s component-based architecture and Web services into Fusion, Kingstone said.

“I think the 4,000 or so Siebel customers are going to be happy with Oracle’s road map for their product,” she predicted.

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