i2 Technologies’ Latest Offering: J. D. Edwards OneWorld™

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i2 Technologies' Latest Offering: J. D. Edwards OneWorld
S. McVey - July 12, 2000

Event Summary

Nearly lost among a slew of press releases was J. D. Edwards' announcement that it would offer its OneWorld enterprise application suite through i2 Technologies' TradeMatrix platform for business-to-business collaboration. Highlighted by J. D. Edwards founder and current chief Ed McVaney during FOCUS 2000, the alliance aims to give TradeMatrix customers access to the execution capabilities of OneWorld.

The recent move is by no means the first alliance between i2 and J. D. Edwards. The two companies partnered in 1996, the same year that i2 formed an alliance with SAP, and the now defunct SSA and Baan. Late in 1998, i2 announced support of J. D. Edwards' Idea to Action initiative in an alliance that yielded more smoke than substance. At the time of this earlier initiative, i2 and J. D. Edwards had over 55 joint customers.

Market Impact

The alliance between i2 and J. D. Edwards is symptomatic of the larger enterprise applications market, which is coalescing through mergers and alliances to allow vendors to deliver integrated applications to a user community that is addled by problems in getting disparate applications to work in harmony. Often, these alliances are less about true product delivery and more about making a statement.

Clearly, J. D. Edwards realizes the impact that i2 is having on the e-business marketplace and is eager to allay itself with a marketplace juggernaut that could help it out of its doldrums. A 22% increase in license revenue in its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2000 was not enough to stave off a staff reduction and restructuring effort at the once profitable ERP vendor. Competitors like SAP and now Oracle are poised to seize a large share of the supply chain management opportunity among their own customer bases and have alienated former best-of-breed partners like i2.

J. D. Edwards at least appreciates the importance of i2 in the marketplace and this may provide the impetus needed to deliver a functional solution. An issue that calls into question the substance of the alliance, however, is the complexity involved in integrating ERP and supply chain management in a collaborative environment, an obstacle that the press announcement seems to dismiss.

User Recommendations

Users should welcome the prospects for better integration delivered by the new alliance but temper expectations with the realization that it may be merely a political move. An interchange of ideas between the parties may hasten understanding of issues surrounding the combination of planning and execution on a large scale. Barring an outright acquisition, future tangible results from the alliance are by no means assured.

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