Bob Dutkowsky, the new CEO of JD Edwards, has claimed that the company’s revamped “go-to-market” strategy will win over new customers and drive greater revenues from its existing installed base. But six months into his job, there is still little substance behind Dutkowsky’s vision of selling “bite-sized” software modules and a noticeable lack of products in key areas.
Dutkowsky’s plan to reverse falling licence revenues at the mid-tier enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor, centre on developing and selling software components. “The old JD Edwards tried to develop large monolithic pieces of software,” said Dutkowsky. “[But] Customers don’t want monolithic applications … they just don’t have the money,” he told Infoconomy.
To get customers spending again, he has set about repackaging the company’s product set, by pulling all its applications under the umbrella of JD Edwards 5 and offering smaller modules based around business processes. However, analysts have criticised the product “enhancements” that accompanied the release of JD Edwards 5 as bringing only minor improvements in features and capabilities.
“If you look at them individually,” concurred chief technical officer Mike Madden, “I’d probably yawn too.” But, he says, “the reason for JD Edwards 5 is for us to show the world that business processes are not confined to ERP but involve all our products working together.”
In this way, JD Edwards hopes to draw attention to a product range that extends beyond ERP. In the ERP market, JD Edwards faces falling demand and fierce competition for mid-tier customers from the likes of market leader SAP and, following its recent acquisition of Denmark’s Navision, software giant Microsoft.
Dutkowsky has argued, “we will attract new customers with other applications,” pointing to JD Edwards’ customer relationship management software, acquired with the purchase of YOUcentric in November 2001.
But Denver, Colorado-based JD Edwards is still “behind the curve in supplier relationship management and product lifecycle management,” compared to rivals PeopleSoft and SAP, said Meta research fellow Dick Kuiper. “Its supplier relationship management offering is part vision and only part deliverable.”
To remedy this, Dutkowsky promised that “over the next two years, we will deliver more features and functionality than over any other two-year period in JD Edwards’ history.” If he does not achieve this, Dutkowsky risks repeating the mistakes of the ‘old’ JD Edwards by “over-committing on what you intend to do,” he said.