Connectivity Woes at PeopleSoft Show

By Tom Steinert-Threlkeld  |  Posted 2002-08-26 Print this article Print

Online exclusive: Despite its pledges of Internet support, PeopleSoft's annual users conference was strangely lacking in Web access.

NEW ORLEANS—Chief executive officer Craig A. Conway wants his customers to believe that PeopleSoft is the enterprise software supplier that is most wedded to the Internet. But is it?

Visitors to the company's annual users conference would be hard-pressed to find the practical proof. They couldn't connect to the Net.

True, Conway emphasized to 11,000 attendees of PeopleSoft Connect that PeopleSoft's human resources, financial reporting, supply chain management and customer management software is the "purest deployment" of enterprise applications on the Internet.

The benefit, in this day when most CEOs shrink from such direct alignment with the Internet, is higher productivity, he said. Information systems personnel need only install the applications on Web servers, with users accessing services and data through browsers. Users can hook into the data and services from anywhere, using anything from a wireless handheld device to a laptop to a desktop computer. Bandwidth requirements are reduced.

But the company's commitment to the Internet was strangely lacking at the convention center in which it held its would-be lovefest with its users.

Two arrays of Sun Microsystems workstations on the exhibition floor only allowed messages to be sent to other show attendees but didn't afford access to the Web or e-mail from the outside world. And the Pleasanton, Calif., company chose a venue which has no telephones with data jacks within its walls. The only choice for attendees or members of the press was to take a bus ride back to their hotels to get access to the Net, the company confirmed.

The company did set up a press room with high-speed Internet connections at the Windsor Court Hotel.

Tom was editor-in-chief of Interactive Week, from 1995 to 2000, leading a team that created the Internet industry's first newspaper and won numerous awards for the publication. He also has been an award-winning technology journalist for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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