Ex-PeopleSoft President Takes Helm At Deltek Systems

Deltek is a little-known supplier of back-office and enterprise-resource-planning applications used on a project-by-project basis, rather than continuously as Oracle and SAP applications are. Deltek has a strong presence within architecture, engineering, and construction companies, as well as other midsize, project-oriented businesses, with a total of 8,000 customers.

"It takes a lot of customizing of Oracle and SAP applications to get them to do what Deltek applications do," says Parker, who adds that he lived through "some pretty exciting times at PeopleSoft. It leaves me in a great position to take those lessons learned and apply them."

As CFO of PeopleSoft, he says he was "pleasantly surprised that customers kept buying" the company's applications as Oracle launched its hostile takeover bid. The vendor held out for a year and half before succumbing, and Parker attributed its defiance to its record of providing good technical support and a customer-assurance plan enacted by the board of directors. The plan said PeopleSoft customers were guaranteed a payment at least twice as big as their license fees if Oracle took over PeopleSoft applications and ended technical support in less than four years after the company was acquired.

Parker calls Deltek Systems "one of the best-kept secrets" of the application marketplace, one that he expects to grow into additional markets and build out its product line through acquisitions in the near future. "Oracle and SAP will be the dominant players, but there are underserved segments" in which Deltek and other small application companies can grow and challenge the large vendors for a slice of the market.

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Oracle acquired PeopleSoft early this year and two of the first departures from its ranks, as a result, were Parker and his co-president, Phil Wilmington. Both presidents departed PeopleSoft's Pleasanton, Calif., headquarters--they were terminated immediately upon the takeover--and headed east. Wilmington became CEO of OutlookSoft Corp., a supplier of Web-based business-management software in Stamford, Conn., in mid-March. Parker was named CEO of Deltek in Herndon, Va., this week.

Deltek has human resources, time collection, bill of materials, procurement, project management, materials management, and other standard ERP applications tied to a project-oriented approach. Parker says they could be extended into software for professional services companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Deltek was founded in 1984 and has 700 employees. The company was acquired April 19 by New Mountain Capital LLC, a private equity firm that invests in rapidly growing companies. Deltek had revenue of $123 million in 2004, up 23% from the year before.