J.D. Edwards pushes out business-process enhancement software

But the focus remains on PeopleSoft and Oracle

DENVER -- In the midst of pitching its users on the value of a proposed merger with PeopleSoft Inc. -- and denigrating Oracle Corp.'s hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft -- J.D. Edwards & Co. executives this week also unveiled a set of enhancements to the company's business applications lineup.

Most attention was on the company's planned acquisition by Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft, which was announced last week (see story). During a keynote session June 10 at the Quest Global 2003 user conference here, J.D. Edwards even served up a prerecorded message from PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway.

In it, Conway outlined PeopleSoft's strategy, which will be to fold the companies' existing application portfolios into three categories: an AS/400 line, which will include J.D. Edwards' World products; a midmarket lineup; and a collection of products for the enterprise. Conway said PeopleSoft intends to protect customers' investments and not force them to abandon existing J.D. Edwards installations.

"The choice should always be elected and not mandatory," he said, claiming that the two companies can do more as one organization than as separate operations.

That was in keeping with what J.D. Edwards' executives said in response to Oracle's hostile takeover bid (see story).

In keeping with a vow to push out more products in the next 24 months than it has done in any other two-year time frame, the company also unveiled enhancements to its flagship J.D. Edwards 5 lineup, including its ERP, supply chain management and CRM modules.

Lenley Hensarling, group vice president of product management at Denver-based J.D. Edwards, said these enhancements are designed to help customers with more business-process-specific capabilities. For instance, the applications have been modified to support tracking processes unique to consumer packaged goods and to comply with federal regulations. The CRM applications will also now have preintegrated analytical capabilities to assist users in better understanding sales and marketing operations.

In keeping with this approach, J.D. Edwards' SCM 9 applications have been beefed up to assist distributors and manufacturers. The changes include new planning, pricing and order management features.

Pricing is of particular interest to Leah Hansen, applications manager at CanWel Distribution Ltd., a building materials distributor in Vancouver, British Columbia, that uses the OneWorld XE financial application.

The company has been beta-testing the SCM 9 software, and Hansen said it is particularly useful in allowing users to do mass pricing updates. For instance, a price change from a supplier can be passed onto an entire set of customers automatically, which wasn't possible before. Although OneWorld has no set time frame for an upgrade, if the software passes the testing phase, Hansen said she plans to create a business case for it.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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