The JDE and PeopleSoft user group meeting last Friday in Teaneck NJ took place on the last official day of winter but spring was in the air.  Outside temperatures were breaking records helping the daffodils to come out early.  Inside the mood was upbeat as well but not because anything new was announced or presented.  Attendance was stronger than similar recent events, and those who came were not in the frightened and defensive mood that prevailed all of last year.  There was talk of new projects, available budget funds, and a renewed willingness to invest in technology. 

Three different speakers were provided by Oracle and as far as I could tell none of them offered anything that we have not heard before.  This was to be expected since we are now in the final quarter of Oracle’s fiscal year when everything is focused on closing as many sales as possible.  Oracle never intentionally introduces anything new or changes marketing messages significantly at this point in the annual sales cycle. 

A few interesting tidbits of information were offered in the course of the Oracle presentations.  We were told that during calendar 2009 the JDE customer base increased by a net of 300 additional accounts worldwide. The statement was also made that JDE revenues had increased in the past year along with profit margins.  Account growth represents less than a 1% increase, but it is still very positive news since it has become fashionable to assume that the customer base is shrinking – something that appears not to be true. 

Nothing new or dramatic was said about Fusion Applications but that fact that they were even included as a topic of discussion was a change from the past two years.  During that period Oracle presentations to our community made a point of avoiding any references to them.  Like the nearby daffodils that were beginning to gingerly peak their heads out, Oracle has begun to hint that a new season is coming.  My opinion has not changes since previous posts – we will hear very little more about Fusion Applications until OpenWorld next September.  Even then it will be more of a progress report than the official announcement of a complete new product line. 

References were made to the Sun acquisition but it is clear that the implications for existing Oracle customers will also not be shared with us for a while, most likely also at OpenWorld.  It is becoming clear that the agenda for that event will be unusually full with major news related to Fusion Applications, Sun, and BI.  I plan to offer some thoughts on the case for going to OpenWorld in an upcoming post. 

I left the meeting last week feeling optimistic, not just because of the warm air outside, but because the JDE and PeopleSoft customers that took the time to come to the meeting seemed ready to get back to work making more effective use of the software and IT environments that they help support.