The big question that IBM PeopleSoft partners are grappling with in the wake of the Oracle-PeopleSoft merger is whether Oracle will attempt to displace IBM's DB2 and WebSphere platform with its own competing product set.
Evan Walters, president and CEO of Innovative Information Solutions, a Waterbury Conn. IBM partner, said he expects Oracle to eventually integrate its own database and applications server with the PeopleSoft JD Edwards products. That said, he noted, a database and application server decision is a long term one that will not be handled lightly by either VARs or customers.
"Does Oracle want the database and applications server business? Absolutely," said Walters, an IBM infrastructure partner that was named one of only eight PeopleSoft infrastructure partners in the US earlier this year. "PeopleSoft is such a robust application, that it is going to be a long term strategy that is going to be carefully looked at before anyone makes any snap decisions about what they are doing with the database or the applications server.
Walters pointed out that even though DB2 and WebSphere are integrated with PeopleSoft, the Oracle database is still an option. The Oracle-PeopleSoft merger could even eventually mean a much closer relationship between IBM and Oracle as IBM moves to serve the many PeopleSoft customers running the Oracle database on IBM systems, he said. "It's not all about the database," Walters said, noting that IBM is not going to turn its back on that business.
Walters said it is too early to tell how his vendor partnering strategy will change as he comes to grips with the Oracle PeopleSoft deal. "I have to let this whole thing sort itself out and listen to which way the drums are beating and figure out how I make sense of my new status as an Oracle partner," he said. "What does that mean? How do they embrace us and am I going to get traction?"