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Jenni Lehman

(October 18, 2002) -   Jenni Lehman is Peoplesoft's ace in the hole in the Human Capital Marketplace. The long-tenured research pro at Gartner Group built a stunning network of clients. From an enterprise market perspective, she was the John Sumser of eHR (minus a bit of attitude, of course).

Peoplesoft couldn't have timed her introduction more appropriately. The recruiting subcomponents of Peoplesoft's current release are a mangled, barely functional assemblage of parts that don't work together.  While top level analysts from the Meta Group have called the new release "the product to beat", working level recruiters can't even manage email correspondence with a candidate. It's clear that that's why Jenni and her boss (Doug Merrit) were called into the game. Customers are unhappy and much money is being made by the small consulting firms who get to fix the problems.

We've seen Jenni in action any number of times. She is, by far, the smartest person in the industry. Her grasp of customer needs and expectations, hard won in her Gartner days, is extraordinary. Jenni (if you'll remember our short note on Crossing the Chasm) understands, better than anyone, the point at which an innovation is suitable for consumption by large enterprise accounts. At Gartner, she functioned as the chasm's gatekeeper.

It takes a strong will and a good deal of courage to go from the comforts of industry analysis to the frontlines of product/software development. It's even more extraordinary when you consider the degree to which she has invested her reputation and network in the process. Jenni's involvement at Peoplesoft sent a signal to her former Gartner customers that things were going to be fixed.

You can see her imprint on the repositioning of Peoplesoft's offerings. From a simple suite of HRMS tools, the company has moved to describe future offerings as an HCM suite designed to 

Manage and mobilize a unified, global workforce.
Connect people directly to business processes anywhere in the world, anytime.
Align the workforce with strategic business goals.

That's a long distance from the current starting point. But, if anyone can accomplish the mission, it's Jenni. Peoplesoft has the opportunity, given her vision, to move from being 5 years behind the time to a position that is well in line with current customer expectations.

-John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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