DENVER – Amid the uncertainty created by the proposed purchase of its merger partner by Oracle Corp., J.D.Edwards tried to show it’s business as usual by announcing new products and service offerings at its annual user group conference.

They

include a one-server quick implementation program, a small and medium-business solutions team with IBM, improvements to JDE software and the creation of a joint sales and delivery strategy with its consulting partners around the world, including Deloitte & Touche in Canada.

The announcements come as JDE waits for the outcome of Oracle’s bid to buy PeopleSoft Inc., which plans to buy Edwards. JDE and PeopleSoft are pushing ahead with their deal, which they hope to close by the end of September. But Oracle hopes PeopleSoft shareholders will accept a buyout. If they do, Oracle says it will reassess the JDE deal.

Asked Wednesday by a customer at an open session what the company will do if that happens, JDE chair and CEO Bob Dutkowsky joked, “”If I tell you that I’ll have to kill you.””

He went on to repeat, as he has all this week, that JDE is prepared to go it alone if it has to. But industry analysts wonder how wounded JDE and PeopleSoft may be before the deal-making is settled.

In an interview here, Bryan Funkhouser, a Deloitte & Touche’s global JDE practice leader said the uncertainty could have an impact on the consulting company’s work.

“”I’m aware of one deal in the U.S. where a company about to make a decision on (JDE) software and a services provider postponed their decision for a month,”” he said.

On the other hand, he added, “”we’ve talked to dozens of companies who we’re doing JDE implementations for and they’re comfortable with where they’re headed.””

Funkhouser is here to tout JDE’s closer relationship with consulting partners, dubbed “”Team J.D.Edwards.”” It’s an attempt to bring structure to ad-hoc consulting that was being done for clients, he said. Deloitte has 1,200 consultants around the world who specialize in JDE work.

“”We’ve seen a lot of frustration from the customer,”” he said. They tell us: ‘This is what you said, this is what Edwards said,’”” explained Funkhouser. “”In the past we were inconsistent”” in our advice.

By jointly preparing solutions for customers they hope to avoid that, he said. JDE also announced the first of two new offerings of IBM-hosted hardware and services created with IBM Business Consulting Services for small and mid-sized companies.

Automotive for SMB is aimed at medium-sized auto parts suppliers and based on J.D. Edwards 5 ERP applications. It will be available in the fourth quarter. No pricing was announced.

For JDE WorldSoftware users that want to upgrade to JDE5, the vendor and IBM will offer pre-configured conversion solutions, including a hosting option. No prices were released.

For companies who want to run JDE solutions on IBM’s iSeries (AS/400) hardware, the two companies are offering a Rapid Start one-server solution with pre-configured J.D. Edwards 5 software through resellers.

Aimed at firms that have simple IT architectures, Rapid Start systems could run JDE vertical solutions for iSeries for wholesale distribution and industrial manufacturing.

JDE plans to introduce other vertical solutions as well as Rapid Start solutions for Intel-based servers from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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