Improving Business Through Partnership: Hitachi Consulting and Microsoft Provide Better Access to Information

REDMOND, Wash., July 8, 2005 – Microsoft marketing officials report that they are hearing three key reasons why Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application customers are choosing the Microsoft platform to deploy their business applications: enterprise-class with low total cost of ownership; reduced cost and complexity of application ownership and maintenance; and the ability to extract more value from existing application investments.

The increased-value reason is being given additional thrust and timeliness with the announcement — at this week’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis — of new certification for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 on four Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise applications (Human Capital Management (HCM) 8.9, Student Administration 8.9, Customer Relationship Management CRM 8.9 and Financial System Management FSCM 8.8 SP1). Microsoft and industry partner Hitachi Consulting are committed to helping Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application customers to derive greater value from their IT assets and to transform Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application data into information that can be more effectively shared across the enterprise.

Brian Biglin, Managing Director, Hitachi Consulting

PressPass spoke with Jonathan Tom, senior product manager, SQL Server Marketing at Microsoft and Brian Biglin, director, Business Intelligence Practice at Hitachi Consulting to learn about the partnership and what it means for businesses with IT investments in Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application.

PressPass: What’s important about the integration of SQL Server Reporting Services and Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application?

Tom: Customers want to leverage their IT skills and investments. They are demanding expanded enterprise data management and reporting capabilities. With Reporting Services now certified to work on four enterprise-class Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise applications, we’re extending the SQL Server platform, offering the combined benefits of Reporting Services and Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application. We’re making it much simpler for customers to create and manage reliable, interactive reports for Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application at a lower cost using Microsoft’s industry-leading data-management and reporting software. This integration provides a way for SQL Server customers to extend their packaged application, server and database investments and help them gain more value from the data in their Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application.

It’s exciting to be able to unlock the data in multiple Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise applications and make it available across the enterprise. And to do it in such a way that you gain visibility and have flexible and robust reporting to improve user response time and enable better, faster decision-making. We’re certain that Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application customers are eager to unlock the critical information in their applications with much lower costs and complexity than competing offerings. And we’re pleased that Microsoft industry partners like Hitachi Consulting are taking full advantage of this new opportunity to add value through their subject matter expertise and consulting services for improved enterprise reporting.

Biglin: Hitachi Consulting has made a significant investment in the SQL Server database and business intelligence (BI) platform and we have started to see tremendous growth of SQL Server within our enterprise customer base. With the consolidation of the database market and the rich set of features in SQL Server 2005, we expect to really gain share dramatically, perhaps at close to 20 percent a year over the next five-plus years. Since we are a business and technology consulting firm, we are always looking for innovative ways to leverage technology to provide greater value to our customers. We found that the Oracle’s PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications really couldn’t deliver on the customer requirements with the existing out-of-the-box reporting capabilities.

That’s when we started to research alternative reporting and BI tools. At the time Reporting Services was just going into an early beta release, so we were definitely providing a leading-edge solution that turned out to be a tremendous success with our clients. In the last two years, we’ve done a great deal of new Reporting Services work and we expect the volume to continue to grow.

PressPass: You’re seeing this integration as an effective means of optimizing ERP?

Biglin: The big promise of ERP is that you would have one solution and it would solve all your business application integration needs. It holds generally true for a core set of business processes, but when it comes to actually getting information out of your ERP, that’s where a lot of ERP solutions fall down. That’s why we believe this is definitely a hot demand area right now: building data warehouses on top of your ERP system that bring together a single view of your customer or a single view of your business across multiple applications. Of course, reporting is a huge part of that.

Tom: Because reporting is imbedded in SQL Server Reporting Services we believe we enhance the performance and value of Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application by providing integrated, value-added reporting. Besides having their applications run better on a Windows platform, companies with Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application also benefit from enhanced system availability, improved security and enterprise data management when using SQL Server as their primary database.

In addition, our enterprise reporting platform allows you to easily and cost-effectively design and deploy flexible, rich reporting capable of supporting tens of thousands of users at a time without sacrificing performance or increasing the burden on IT.

PressPass: What’s the principal value proposition of this integration?

Tom: If your application is currently running on SQL Server as your primary database, you don’t need to go to the trouble of integrating or deploying a separate third-party reporting tool. You get it all in the box with Reporting Services, which provides a seamless experience. From the end-user standpoint this reduces complexity and enhances response time to get information in a timely manner and to make better decisions.

We understand that we have a lot of valued customers who have investments in both Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application and SQL Server. This integration provides the best of both worlds for enterprise-class customers looking for a combination of robust reporting and enhanced application performance at a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than competing offerings.

PressPass: How is TCO impacted?

Tom: Reporting functionality is only one component of our end-to-end business intelligence offering. Unlike other software vendors, Microsoft has combined best of breed BI capabilities into our data management platform to provide out-of-the box benefits, seamless integration and enterprise performance. In addition, customers can take an “all you can eat” approach to BI to address their existing and future BI needs while at the same time lowering their IT costs.

If you’re running on SQL Server 2000 today, you don’t need to buy any additional products to realize the benefits of data integration, analysis and reporting. The clear advantage is that all these powerful, integrated BI capabilities are already included in SQL Server 2000. You can leverage your existing IT resource without making an additional investment. You also can leverage your existing IT skills without hiring additional staff. The people who are now responsible for deploying and managing your IT infrastructure can use their expertise to deploy the reporting capabilities that are already contained within SQL Server. And naturally, there’s also faster time to benefit. With Reporting Services you’re ready to go much faster and maintain a lower TCO over time than if you had to purchase a third-party reporting application and then had to take time to integrate, test and deploy it across the enterprise.

Biglin: If you are running your Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application ERP on SQL Server, there is tremendous benefit to utilizing the reporting and analysis tools provided with SQL Server. Not only do you have less integration challenges than with other third party BI tools, but you’re standardizing on a common platform that you can leverage for your entire enterprise at a fraction of the total cost of any other solution on the market.

Reporting Services for Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application may even extend the life of your ERP investment. Let’s say, for example, that you’re not satisfied with the reporting from your existing ERP. You don’t have rip it out and start all over. With the robust integration and reporting tools from Microsoft, you can now benefit from connecting your applications together with web-services architecture and reporting and BI tools. These tools provide better access to the information that’s stored within your ERP without significant additional cost. So it’s not a rip-and-replace story. It’s a story about leaving your applications that are working in place but adding additional application integration and reporting functionality with web-services on top of your ERP.

PressPass: The Reporting Services certification on Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application is for SQL Server 2000. What happens with the upcoming release of SQL Server 2005?

Biglin: Hitachi Consulting has been working with client deployments of SQL Server 2005 for more than a year and the product launch will be one of the most significant activities that we’ll participate in with Microsoft this year. We’ve been providing training around the world to other partners and customers on SQL Server 2005 and we are very excited to participate in the launch activities with Microsoft and our early beta customers. We believe that in the long run Microsoft is going to continue to make significant investments in its database and server technology. They’re already the most significant and leading provider of databases on the Windows platform. And we are betting that the Windows platform will be the enterprise platform of choice for a long time to come.

Microsoft has taken a different approach than other database vendors to BI tools like Reporting Services. They’ve made it very straightforward for customers to license the technology since it’s seamlessly integrated. You have best of breed tools all included with the database in one package. That’s really compelling to our customers.

Tom: In SQL Server 2000, reporting functionality is only one component of our end-to-end business intelligence offering. Included in that package are Integration Services, Analysis Services and Reporting Services. We’re seeing businesses, including many using Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise application, benefiting from Reporting Services right now. And they’ve made a good long-term investment because the upgrade to SQL Server 2005 will be very compelling and straightforward.

SQL Server 2005 will be our biggest and most innovative release of Microsoft’s database platform. The November 7th release of SQL Server 2005 is a major milestone for Microsoft because it contains enhanced reporting services including net new capabilities such as ad hoc reporting designed to enable non-IT users to do rich, interactive drag and drop reporting. Before, users had to rely solely on IT professionals to design and deploy all their reports. With SQL Server 2005, more end users across the enterprise will have the flexibility and freedom to easily personalize and create ad hoc reports.

By being able to deliver critical information in a flexible format, end users are going to gain real time insights and make decisions that have a positive impact on the business much faster. This kind of access to information through the powerful enterprise reporting features in SQL Server Reporting Services will mean increased business agility, improved response time and greater overall productivity.

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