I’m pretty comfortable giving my stack ranking of current enteprrise HR vendors. PeopleSoft HR, SAP HR and then Oracle might make the list. Everyone else in my opinion is a tier 2. (Oracle might be a tier 2, but We’ll let them in since they are in the article title). The environment becomes more interesting if we look what might be coming in the future. However, to see the future, I can’t just look at the enterprise HR marketplace, we need to look at the entire suite of products as that will influence application dominance.
Unfortunately, as we al know in HR, what the rest of the organization chooses for applications often influences what we get in HR. If finance gets Oracle, then so does HR (mostly because Oracle gave it away for free). Not always does the integration of ERP win, but when it doesn’t, the free licensing does.
Before we talk about what ERP looks like at the end of this decade, let’s talk about the individual suites as they exist today. Any time I’m saying “Oracle” I’m actually talking about the strongest component of their application suite, whether it comes from Oracle, PeopleSoft, or Siebel:
- Oracle Development: Oracle has obviously taken the strategy of purchasing application enhancements. From PeoplesSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Oracle has grown to about $5B in licensing revenues. Oracle’s challenge today is actually integrating the products into the Fusion application suite.
- SAP Development: SAP on the other hand has always had an internal development strategy. The difference is that they’ve had to build the NetWeaver technology in order to reduce their reliance on Oracle or Microsoft to provide the technology layer that the apps sit on top of. Today, SAP has about $10B in licensing revenues.
- Market Share: Oracle has bought their way into being a dominant player. At about 50% of the aplication revenue size that SAP has, they are still a strong player.
- Functionality: Probably fairly close across the suite, although it’s really hard to be objective about this. Oracle Financials has always been stated as the leader, but I’m not convinced this is true. Similarly, SAP’s SCM might have a small lead. I can confidently say that Oracle CRM and buisness intelligence has a lead and all other areas are pretty close.
So what does the enterprise HR market look like at the end of the decade? It really depends on the success of 1) Oracle’s Fusion application suite, 2) the adoption rate of Oracle Fusion middleware, and 3) Oracle not losing all the PeopleSoft customers in the next 2 years. In other words, SAP is moving in a strong direction, and Oracle is well positioned to succeed or fail on it’s ability to execute development.
I’m a strong believer in PeopleSoft HR and I have a growing sense of hope that Oracle can actually create a strong HR application out of it. Over the next 2 years, I think maky PeopleSoft clients will be moving to SAP, but Oracle is beginning to get a stronger story around the future. So long as Oracle can hold the floodgates closed, they will enter 2008 a strong contender with a large percentage of the market share. If Fusion makes it to general release, look for HR to be incredibly strong. We’re still going to need the point solutions as bolt-ons, but the core Oracle Fusion HR will be stronger than SAP.
For the entire ERP suite, I think the future holds for a dominant SAP, but with Oracle constantly being that irritating dog nipping at their heels (perhaps from a distance). Any heel nipping is good though, as I don’t see Microsoft truly being able to enter the enterprise ERP market with any force or substance. We’re looking at a 2 vendor market for quite some time.