DENVER, Colo. — Two weeks after the official launch of J.D. Edwards 5, the company took the wraps off ERP 8.0 and announced a host of product enhancements and services to 8,000 attendees at the 19th annual Focus convention.

The

latest products and services fall under the J.D. Edwards 5 product umbrella — the company’s fifth software rollout since the launch of Picasso, Elegant Software, WorldSoftware and OneWorld.

Today’s version is the foundation for Web services functionality, whereby businesses can share data, applications and processes across the Internet. The company says its Extended Process Integration (XPI) platform can now accommodate Web services standards.

ERP 8.0, in particular, delivers added functionality in Enterprise Asset Management, Workforce Management, Project Management and Real Estate Management.

“The software makes it easier to manage, scale and upgrade,” says Travis White, vice-president of strategic planning.

Newly crowned president, CEO and chairman Bob Dutkowsky says the goal is to move the company to the next level in the cutthroat software industry. “J.D. Edwards 5 is our focus, our foundation and the future of the company.” He says the company plans to release more software, based on J.D. Edwards 5, in the next two years than in the company’s entire 25-year history. “It’s the next generation architecture and solution set,” he says.

He says the company strategy involves a rebranding and shedding of the OneWorld image (he says the company isn’t as well known globally as it wants to be), and a new emphasis on selling modules rather than making customers buy the whole kit and caboodle.

Users can now pick and choose from seven key chunks including enterprise resource planning (ERP); supply chain management (SCM); customer relationship management (CRM); supplier relationship management (SRM); business intelligence, collaboration and integration; and tools and technology. “Customers asked us to simplify things and we did,” he says.

Another key shift in company strategy involves a new and improved focus on verticals. In Canada, the company plans to focus on nine key verticals, says Bob Pozzobon, vice-president and general manager of J.D. Edwards Canada. The list includes high-tech electronics; architectural, engineering, construction, and professional management services; industrial fabrication and assembly; mining; oil and gas; pulp and paper; municipalities; life sciences; and consumer package goods.

Dutkowsky says the vertical strategy approach helps companies solve key business problems. “The old J.D. tried to develop generic products.” Formerly “old monolithic pieces”” were the norm, whereas “new agile pieces of software” are now helping customers get added functionality, he says.

And in addition to ERP enhancements, other added functionality comes in the area of supply chain management, CRM, SRM and integration. In the manufacturing and distribution space, for example, additions to Demand Consensus gives users beefier forecasting capabilities, while new features to Warehouse Manager helps users reduce material and labour costs.

The idea is to offer customers, vendors, outsourcers and suppliers enhanced integration across the entire supply chain, says White. “It’s all about what goes on outside of the company — and not just on the inside.”

But product chit chat wasn’t the only thing on the minds of executives. On the professional services front, the company is pushing its new service strategy, dubbed OneMethodology, which gives customers a host of consulting, implementation and education services.

The idea is to provide an a-la-carte service offering, whereby customers can get implementation services that are tailored to their specific needs, Dutkowsky says.

A new simplified software pricing model is also in the works, says chief marketing officer Les Wyatt, where customers can buy what they need.

“You can build one piece at a time. You don’t have to buy it all at once,” White says, adding that J.D. Edwards is trying to build applications that don’t need a lot of technical support.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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