JDA Focus was an energizing and informative conference for JDA customers and prospects this year.
With record attendance and so many customer case studies, the buffet of choices was more than one could put on one’s plate or digest. I will provide a big picture assessment of JDA in this article and provide some interesting case study vignettes in subsequent articles.
A few observations about JDA:
- This was a year of more openness from the company, probably the result of blending with the i2 Technologies culture of where employees usually wore their hearts on their sleeves and debated ideas in public; plus, JDA’s obviously consistent performance for both Wall Street and their customers makes a good combination. The openness was refreshing.
- It’s been over one year since the i2 acquisition, and it is clear that JDA had the acquisition and absorption well in hand. Today’s roadmap presents JDA as a much more innovative company than in the past. For those customers who bought from both i2 and JDA, as well as for market analysts who understood the strengths and weaknesses of each, the rich portfolio from one combined source is impressive. It can surely take on the sales challenge against any competitor.
- JDA also is working on embracing their partnerships and messaging the importance of partners, which will be critical for them if they ever want to get to the $2B goal1 that ChainLink thinks is possible for this asset-rich supply chain company. However, they have a long way to go in establishing some strong methods, processes, and approaches that are mutually rewarding for partners and JDA.
- New faces. JDA has had many changes in personnel the last two years that has provided some new ideas across the board — in product, marketing and services. The results are already showing up.
- High Tech comes to JDA. Absorbing i2 brings to JDA new industries such as industrial, consumer electronics and the semiconductor industries, all of which had a strong showing and excellent case study material to share.
- More sales in their future. Today, JDA can boast a statistically significant market share and some of the biggest brands and companies as its customers. But it’s not over by a long shot, since supply chain has a lot of market opportunity ahead. There are significant sales opportunities in existing accounts, too, since many companies require fresh capabilities as well as expansion of their automation. Even among companies that have bought packaged supply chain applications, many often do not have all they could use, or are using old versions of the solutions. This provides an opportunity for significant growth within the customer installation base, what to say of the addition of new accounts.
Here, I will walk through some major moves by JDA. These, we believe, position JDA for the stellar growth that is possible globally in new market sectors, as well as in the mid-market. In addition, large accounts with ERP or very long and expensive implementation fatigue will find these offerings extremely attractive.
Since announcing this new direction in 2009, JDA has made great strides in managed services. Probably the most impactful offering of the decade for JDA, their managed services provide lots of value for customers.
Users face multiple challenges in gaining success in implementation — in knowledge, change management and technology. The decision to purchase and implement the next module makes for high drama at the enterprise. A managed service removes the major obstacles in the path to success.
Managed services are a big topic, so we’ll just stick with JDA’s progress, including:
- An entirely hosted solution
- Management of the hardware and software, the “JDA Hardware and Software Administration,” to address technical support issues.
- What they call their “Operational and Optimization Services.” Though the term seems vague to me, this service is focused on user knowledge and system usage. It takes care of running and using reports, understanding the data, etc., so users are freed up for the decision-making elements of their jobs.
Fundamentally, you can have your technology outsourced to JDA 24/7. This service is growing naturally into more business services.
Supply Chain Now
Leveraging JDA managed services scale is Supply Chain Now™ , a service for the mid-market as well as for those interested in a rapid time-to-benefit. Delivered on the JDA Private Cloud, this SaaS software is the ultimate frictionless path to implementation. Cloud economics are very compelling for organizations, reducing that high drama of upfront costs, and especially the risks of implementation. It enables smaller organizations to have all the capabilities of the largest organizations.
The Multi-year Roadmap
Called the Convergence Roadmap, this is JDA’s multi-year strategy to create a “one JDA” software solution that incorporates the best of all their acquisitions from i2 Technologies, Manugistics, Intactix, E3 and Arthur. Both on-premise and in the cloud, this is a refreshing alternative to others’ growth through acquired companies. Unlike an Infor or Oracle, that support most of the acquired software products they purchased, JDA’s convergence approach is to move towards one solution for new buyers, rather than maintaining the often confusing portfolio of options. However, they will support the older software products for the foreseeable future.
Legacy may be majestic, but it also comes at a price. Though, in the short term users take comfort from the fact that the big conquistadors allow them to stay on their old software, the pace of innovation just can’t be maintained for so many separate software packages. Even Infor decided that out of their portfolio of ERPs, they would have to focus on a few and make these the cornerstones of future investment and growth.
JDA is taking a different path by stating that they want to create the ultimate product and incorporate their customers’ progressive vision and their developers’ innovation into one super solution. They will not force customers off current products. But they will provide attractive incentives to enable upgrading to the new convergence solutions.
JDA’s sales strategy with convergence as the new module is within sight, and should allow them to stop selling the alternatives. Obviously, JDA wants to keep meeting quarterly sales targets, so this will be a slightly tricky exercise. And with many products from the converged solution to release, it will be a lot to keep track of. But in the long run — very long run — they will be a lot better off, rather than pouring millions of dollars into a long development cycle for a new solution suite and waiting many years to sell any of it.
Over the next four years, most of the portfolio will be converted to the new JDA product suite. This is truly important not only in providing the one solution, but also in dealing with all the integration problems inherent in using a portfolio of products. Many users have multiple products from JDA and have some issues: “With which module do I create data? Which module can I use to execute on that data?” In addition, as JDA, with its larger development team, speeds development and innovation, they obviously present buyers with a choice to migrate more of their work into JDA. JDA needs to do this to keep big players from muscling in or other domain experts from nibbling at their heels.
To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.