J.D. Edwards 5 Delivers CRM Piece by Piece

The time is long past when anyone would mistake J.D. Edwards for simply an ERP (enterprise resource planning) company, but when the software maker released J.D. Edwards 5, it clearly set out to extend its reach in other areas of the enterprise software market.

The Web-enabled, integrated family of offerings covers everything from ERP,supply chain management, and supplier relationship management to CRM, business intelligence and collaboration, and integration. It also features a tools and technology module. It “addresses a whole landscape of what it takes to run a business,” Lenley Hensarling, Director of Interoperability at J.D. Edwards, told CRM Buyer Magazine.

Marketing in the Middle

Aimed at the medium to large enterprise market, J.D. Edwards 5 is designed towork with a company’s existing legacy technology and lets the enterprisematch components to its actual business needs. That is what Russ Berrie andCompany is banking on.

The maker of plush toys and other gifts recentlyselected J.D. Edwards 5 to “do a better job providing and sharinginformation,” particularly with its sales force, Alan Hager, Russ Berrie vice president, information systems, told CRM Buyer. “We were already pretty good at processingtransactions quickly,” he explained, noting that the company usually shipsan order within 48 hours after it has been placed.

Russ Berrie has homegrown VAX-based legacy systems and was looking fora thin-client solution that could accommodate them, working with an Oracle database, Hager said.

After a comprehensive and exhaustive evaluation period, where everydepartment sifted through the merits and drawbacks of four different vendorofferings and ranked their functionality as to whether they met, exceeded orfell below the companys needs, Russ Berrie ultimately selected J.D. Edwards 5 because “it is very intuitive, which is important to our people,and very flexible.”

Parts of a Whole

J.D. Edwards 5 enables companies to develop Web services, which in turn will allow them to use the Internet to share data, applications and business processes. “Certainly, for our forecasts, there is less spending around applications and more around services,” Karen Smith, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group, told CRM Buyer.

According to the company, the CRM module offers end-to-endmanagement of the customer lifecycle. It features self-service, sales force automation, partner relationship management (PRM), marketing automation, an advanced order configurator and field service capabilities. The SCM module integrates J.D. Edwards Advance planning with order fulfillment software while the SRM offering is designed to improve the relationship between a company and its suppliers.

Smith said it is significant that JDE is playing in the PRM space, which isgrowing rapidly. “It needs more vendors, and there is room for better, moresophisticated applications to address integration,” she explained.

An enterprise can collaborate with its customers, suppliers and partners viathe eXtended Process Integration included in the collaboration andintegration module. The Business Intelligence package offers a dashboard ofgauges over the Web that lets users evaluate company performance.

A Slow Journey

J.D. Edwards lets the enterprise buy what it needs rather than pay a penaltyfor buying one piece and then have a significantintegration cost when buying the next piece, Hensarling told CRMBuyer. He called JDE 5 a “three-year odyssey to structure data warehouseapplications.”

Smith said that JDEs slow journey to a comprehensive suite works in itsfavor. Its not something that was suddenly done and whittled down to meetthe needs of the middle market where there is a lot of opportunity, shesaid.

Hensarling expects JDE 5 to attract not only mid-market companies but alsoto service very large organizations at the divisional level.

Bu J.D. Edwards faces competition on various fronts from the likes ofPeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel and Oracle, the latter of which is spread across a number of software disciplines and offers its own e-commerce suite, 11i. And there are some other challenges as well. JDE has tried to guardagainst turning the suite into “a monolithic thing, especially [forcustomers] who only want to consume bite-size pieces,” Karl Johnson, vicepresident of CRM Strategy at JDE, told CRM Buyer.

Like other vendors, JDE has to deal with sales cycles that are becomingextended and people who are more conservative about making decisions, headded.

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