By William Fellows
EAI vendors are rushing to help PeopleSoft Inc users make legacy data available to their shiny new ERP and human resources applications. The latest is Palo Alto, California-based SmartDB Corp which claims new template software it is offering enables users to convert historical data to PeopleSoft 80% more quickly than using other methods. It has earned PeopleSoft global alliance program chevrons as a result. The templates work in conjunction with the company’s SmartDB Workbench 4.1 data converter or transformation engine. They hold all the information needed to convert and load legacy data in PeopleSoft applications. SmartDB Workbench is priced from $47,500; template modules begin at $5,000 each. The company already offers similar templates for use with Oracle Applications. SmartDB says the current wave of relationship building with PeopleSoft by the EAI vendors is not indicative of any particular market force. Though it observes that TSI International’s plan to push its Mercator suite further into the PeopleSoft world appears to be a response to SAP pressure from clients to extend SAP to PeopleSoft’s human resources applications. Indeed CEO Frank Florence believes no EAI vendor has really exploited the Peoplesoft market yet. The Peoplesoft application license market was worth $550m in 1998 and is expected to grow by a small amount this year. It’s roughly the same size as Oracle Applications. SmartDB claims 220 customers and says it never meets the like of Software Technologies Corp in customer situations. Florence says that’s because STC does its business in healthcare. Because SmartDB plays in only one part of the EAI space, the transformation engine segment, it can also work with other EAI message brokers and infrastructure including Neon, Vitria Technology and Active Software and expects to land partnership deals with one or more of them. It regards them as transport, rather than transform, companies. Florence says our key value-add is the knowledge of the application; and this couples well with those players. SmartDB added 140 new customers in 1998 – one a $1m sale – including 43 in Europe, where it has 60 users. It has real-time interfacing in the pipeline and says it will announce templates for other ERP applications in the fall. The average deal is worth between $50,000 and $70,000. It expects to snare several $1m sales this year. SmartDB is estimated to have $11m revenue in 1998 and is close to break even. It has taken $6m VC funding, but the last round, in which raised $4.2m, was way back in August 1997. It has been running on cash since then.