J.D. Edwards Touts Leadership in Collaboration and Flexibility -- There Seems
to be Some Notable Functionality Too
On October 2, J.D. Edwards & Company, one of the leading providers of
enterprise applications, announced the general availability of OneWorld
Xe, the company's new "extended enterprise" product which offers around
300 Internet-ready applications that will supposedly enable companies
to choose the most appropriate collaborative solutions to meet their business
needs. The company states that OneWorld Xe, with capabilities enhanced
via J.D. Edwards' eXtended Process Integration (XPI) engine, will allow
customers to use open, flexible and interoperable technologies to foster
communication and commerce among suppliers and customers across their
extended supply chain.
have already seen tremendous customer demand for OneWorld Xe," said Glenn
Tubb, senior vice president of development of J.D. Edwards. "Giving our
customers open collaboration is empowering them to automate and streamline
business processes across the supply chain to increase shareholder value
and optimize working capital."
J.D. Edwards claims to have over 1,000 customers that are live on various
releases of OneWorld as well as dozens of OneWorld Xe customers who have
been using the product in beta form. J.D. Edwards' OneWorld Xe is intended
to combine the best of back office software, enterprise applications integration
(EAI) and inter-enterprise process workflow into one solution.
of the most notable among a slew of new announced functionalities in OneWorld
Xe was the Advanced Planning solution, formerly Active Supply Chain. Advanced
Planning is J.D. Edwards' Internet-designed solution that might help customers
streamline processes across their supply chains to more effectively collaborate
with customers, suppliers and other business partners.
customers have long recognized the potential of enhancing the efficiency
of their supply chains with our collaborative technology solutions," said
Edward Sitarski, Vice President of Supply Chain Planning for J.D. Edwards.
"Advanced Planning, combined with the other powerful solutions within
OneWorld Xe, delivers measurable benefits to an organization's short-term
productivity and long-term efficiency, offering a competitive advantage
in rapidly evolving marketplaces."
modules available in the latest version of Advanced Planning include the
- Allows an organization to achieve better customer service by automatically
addressing sales order inquiries and providing optimized and real-time
answers to client's inquiries.
- Casual remote users can logon to Demand Planning over the Web in order
to view and/or modify forecasts. It allows companies to share real-time,
accurate information with their field organizations as well as trading
to existing modules available in the latest version of Advanced Planning
include the following:
- New memory-resident On Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) and report
writing capabilities enable users to quickly create custom reports to
communicate and support business decisions.
- Standard XML formats are now supported to facilitate integration within
- Additional geographical visualization capabilities have been added
to allow users to analyze their supply chain networks more effectively.
on September 19, J.D. Edwards announced enhancements to its manufacturing
solution that will significantly increase its support for lean/flow manufacturing
processes, which must meet high throughput or service demands with minimal
inventory. The enhancements, available with the release of OneWorld Xe,
include content management capabilities and production scheduling functionality
that support discrete manufacturing and bring enhanced efficiencies to
complex manufacturing processes.
J.D. Edwards is carrying through what it announced in June during its
annual user conference. The company has long intended to embed Enterprise
Application Integration (EAI) into its OneWorld product, and to differentiate
itself from competitors by doing so. The idea - to spare customers from
investing in 3rd-party EAI products to link disparate best-of-breed systems
together - is certainly attractive.
J.D. Edwards' move into the EAI arena is indisputably risky, we commend
its determination to bite the bullet and include integration systems into
the core product offering. Some of its competitors, who are still convinced
that they can deliver most of the necessary functionality themselves,
may find themselves seriously lagging once they finally realize the need
for interconnectivity and EAI. E-commerce trends are by nature very dynamic,
and no single vendor can provide all required components. Native integration
is becoming less of an issue, particularly in the higher end of the market
- acquiring the best products at an acceptable price to meet an e-business
strategy is the major issue.
we endorse J.D. Edwards in its quest to persuade enterprises to extend
their activities into e-collaboration, we also believe that managing this
large application portfolio, much of which involves partnering or extensive
integration and customization, will remain, nonetheless, cumbersome despite
recent technology improvements. In addition to all apparent and/or hidden
caveats of disparate products integration (for more information, see J.D.
Edwards Chooses Freedom to Choose EAI ), the issue of increased costs
of license sales due to an exorbitant number of 3rd-party software sales
and subsequently less profit margins has been burdening the company's
name of the game will be to find a perfect balance (critical mass) between
a company's own components and 'borrowed' 3rd-party products. To that
end, management should be pleased with the completion of integrating Numetrix,
an APS product it acquired in May 1999, with its OneWorld ERP suite and
re-branding it as Advanced Planning. We believe it has a potential of
becoming a strong foundation for building upon the necessary components
of inter-enterprise collaboration, order fulfillment, and digital marketplaces.
Edwards has long been renowned for its strengths in the distribution and
order fulfillment side of the business. As the market required more advanced
supply chain planning (SCP) capabilities of its ERP suite, particularly
in discrete and complex manufacturing, the company opted for an acquisition,
selecting Numetrix for the technology it had to offer, such as supply
chain network analysis, complex production scheduling, and the Distributed
Object Messaging Architecture (DOMA). (For more information, see J.D.
Edwards and Numetrix Ponder the Future as One).
Edwards should also consider having notably different marketing approaches
for the higher end of the market and for its smaller and mid-market fragments,
given the different requirements and mindset of decision makers in these
respective niches. The 'freedom to choose' message will most likely strike
chords with some more aggressive CIOs of larger global companies, who
would be unwilling to get locked into the inflexible, proprietary technology
that, for example, Oracle's value proposition seems to inherently offer.
The increase in new licenses within the higher-end of the market seems
to speak in that regard.
the other hand, the company will have to provide more out-of-box integration
for the small-to-medium enterprises (SME) market. These CIOs are very
likely to be disconcerted by the prospect of having to deal with a dozen
disparate interfaced applications and may rather consider a solution that
requires only a couple of critical bolt-on applications. Only time will
tell whether the above-mentioned native supply chain planning functionality
will suffice and whether it will be very important that J.D. Edwards also
completes seamless integration of Siebel and Ariba components with OneWorld
approaches should be backed up with much more vigorous marketing and market
awareness creation than there has been so far. J.D. Edward's latest, more
vigorous posture and marketing initiatives seem to be going in the right
direction. Also, to allay recent negative publicity, the company must
broadcast a convincing message to assure the market and its customers
that it will continue to be viable. It is also needless to say that the
execution, particularly the service & support will have to be immaculate.
Existing J.D. Edwards' customers should certainly consider the new offering,
but don't select it before looking at what the other vendors have to offer.
We recommend identifying your clear e-business strategy and conducting
a thorough comparison-shopping, at least for the negotiation leverage
for potential customers, we generally recommend including J.D. Edwards
in an enterprise application selection long list for mid-market and low-end
Tier 1 companies (with $100M-$2B in revenue). Organizations whose requirements
fall within the scope of the standard ERP and SCM offering, where manufacturing,
logistics and financial modules are main pillars of an enterprise application,
would benefit from considering J.D. Edwards. One should bear in mind the
company's proven fair treatment of customers as well as its expertise
within some industries like automotive, consumer packaged goods, electronics,
manufacturing & distribution.
with all new releases, users should employ a critical approach in their
evaluation of OneWorld and require the vendor to demonstrate specific
business processes. Future clients are also advised to request the company's
written commitment to promised functionality, length of implementation,
and seamless future upgrades, particularly for recently announced partnered
offerings. Improved technological integration is seldom guaranteed by
joint marketing arrangements, and only comes after the arrangement yields
considerable implementation experience.
following are only some of the potential problems associated with EAI
that users should be aware of: different security systems and keys, package
interfaces that do not provide the information in a preferred format,
systems that operate in different time zones and are geographically dispersed,
scalability, performance, disaster recovery and contingence. Users for
whose solutions J.D. Edwards partnered with other EAI vendors may benefit
from informing themselves about the company plans for future service and
support and what would be the ramifications of switching to its above-mentioned
strategic EAI partners.