Is J.D. Edwards's CRM 2.0 (With more than 200 Enhancements) Good News?

Event Summary

J.D. Edwards (NASDAQ: JDEC) has recently announced the launch of CRM 2.0, delivering 200 Product enhancements.

The cornerstone of their CRM offering is a lower cost of ownership specially for existing J.D.Edwards back office application customers. They claim to achieve such advantage through a thorough integration based on the company's XPI (eXtended Process Integration) technology the company's integration platform that has been enabled to support the evolving Web Services interoperability standards, and with XBPs (eXtended Business Processes), a set of pre-defined business processes designed to expedite the connection with disparate systems and reduce costs, and its Data Model Inheritance capabilities.

The company has made an attempt to alleviate the inherent integration intricacy by embedding Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) into its J.D. Edwards 5 (since June 2002) product through its XPI integration layer though. The idea — to spare customers from investing in third-party EAI products to link disparate best-of-breed systems together — is attractive, but mostly to more agile and risk-taking companies, which number has recently been rapidly dwindling.

In a full J.D. Edwards scenario, companies can connect J.D. Edwards CRM 2.0 to their J.D.Edwards Supply Chain and ERP applications and benefit from a fully integrated front/back office system.

J.D Edwards' aim is to facilitate internal and external collaboration especially within the mid-market companies.

CRM 2.0 Enhancements

J.D Edwards has specially focused on the enhancement of its Service Management module as they predict a rising demand on this sector. The delivered portal solution would allow suppliers to access client's inventory and order size data. CRM 2.0 captures sales information and feeds it into Demand Consensus, creating a more precise forecast.

Among other features, CRM 2.0 provides Mobile sales capabilities with synchronization abilities through a technological partnership with industry leader in mobilizing enterprise data: "Synchrologic". J.D. Edwards utilizes Synchrologic Data Sync, a component of Synchrologic Mobile Suite. Both Internet connection and CD Rom medium can be used to keep mobile salespeople up-to-date with their office CRM database.

On another view, CRM 2.0 integrates the Marketing Automation capabilities of Aprimo to further enhance its marketing functionalities. Aprimo Marketing includes a suite of products for marketing operations including Strategic Planner, Marcom Manager, Financial Manager, and Event Manager, and a suite of products for customer communications including Direct Marketer, Lead Manager, and Web Response Manager.

Aprimo's flagship product is Aprimo Marketing, a web-based platform that lets marketers manage direct and e-mail marketing campaigns, sales leads, events, finances, web responses, and marketing communications and planning.

Market and Sales Prospects

The acquisition of YOUcentric (CRM) about 1 year ago by J.D. Edwards's set the stage for this announcement (see J.D. Edwards Fires Siebel, Hires YOU). Joel Reed, Director of Product Marketing and Karl Johnson, Vice President of CRM Strategy, announced that they have secured more than one hundred deals worldwide. More than half of J.D. Edwards deals where made from installed ERP customer base. J.D. Edwards is considering vendors like SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Siebel as its main competitors. Nevertheless, J.D. Edwards's offering is more catered for the mid-market and as such it is more a player in the range of Intentia, IFS, Remedy, Saratoga, and Onyx. However, J.D. Edwards' functional scope is now undeniably large, as it offers almost about everything from traditional ERP to full web-based collaborative modules for CRM, SCM, and optimization at both strategic and tactical level.

The real challenge for J.D. Edwards as a relative newcomer to the CRM arena is to demonstrate its 200 enhancements and features as real improvements and that it is moving their CRM offering to a more mature stage.

J.D. Edwards' principals are strongly emphasizing on the integration ability of their CRM application with other existing customer's back-office applications rather than demonstrating the ability of their CRM application to cover all the functionalities that customers require for their front-office workflow. The question is can it compete with a best of breed CRM application like Siebel?

Market Impact

Last year, J.D Edwards announced its plan to start coding integration for demand-forecasting and order-promising features available in the company's supply chain suite. An order promise feature determines exactly when, and at what cost, a customer's order can be filled. J.D. Edwards' collaborative commerce product set brings together Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), and Supplier Relationship Management SRM, with traditional CRM functions. YOUcentric has provided J.D Edwards with the missing CRM functions. By combining its enterprise resource planning (ERP), advanced planning and scheduling, and supplier relationship management applications, J.D. Edwards is tapping in what most analysts predict as the future growth area: the Enterprise suite offerings.

In a previous teleconference, Ed McVaney, the Chairman, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of J.D. Edwards claimed that customers want a broader, deeper version and vision of CRM than that which is propagated today (and which he called "CRM Lite.") Stating that Sales Force Automation, and Marketing Campaign Management, and Contact Center and Customer Self-Service functionality, and Product Configuration, and Business Intelligence and those sorts of things satisfied only "part of the need for manufacturing and distribution customers," he's looking forward to providing customers exposure into the complete supply chain with such functionality as order Status, Self-Quoting, ATP (Available To Promise), shipping and delivery status, Joint Planning, graphical configuration of products, customer "dossiers," and even a customer view into Accounts Receivable. He called it "Total CRM Relationships," which, he says is much broader than the traditional view of CRM. Ed McVaney retired from J.D. Edwards in January 2002, and was replaced with Bob Dutkowsky.

No need to say that J.D. Edwards like many other ERP vendors has foreseen the importance of the CRM market and its integration to back-office systems. Most analysts are forecasting that through 2006, ERP revenue growth rates would be somewhere around 10% compounded annually. However, of this, the majority of revenue will come from SCM and CRM (customer relationship management) modules.

User Recommendations

The market is still focused on achieving ROI; however the real issue that end-users are concentrating on is a smooth integration with back-office applications. The days of a stand-alone CRM application are almost over. To that extend J.D. Edwards's integrated suite offers a real-time enterprise solution. Using a middleware like EAI or Data Model Inheritance to achieve connectivity throughout your systems, what really counts is the ease of implementation. When it comes to mid-market customers, the ease of integration is even a more important issue since companies have less flexibility for trial and error. J.D. Edwards's CRM implementation success through its existing customer base will testify to the reliability of its enterprise integration and what remains, is to verify the product's ability to fit verticals needs.

comments powered by Disqus