JDA Software maps out new vision

All four of the RSR partners are currently in Las Vegas, Nevada. And like many of our analyst colleagues from other firms, we're attempting to cover two conferences that are going on simultaneously. So while Brian [Kilcourse] will have a full write-up next week discussing the macro trends from Epicor's Insights and JDA's Focus, in the meantime, here's a brief description of some of JDA's announcements.

"Over the past 5-10 years we've had a reputation as primarily being aggregators, and that needs to change," said Hamish Brewer, CEO of JDA. "We just don't want to do more of the same," as he set about explaining the concept of JDA 2.0 – the company's vision for its next phase. Step one was to hire a chief marketing officer, and Kevin Iaquinto was introduced as the man who will put the glitz and terms behind what JDA 2.0 will ultimately look like (and be called); but the meat of that transformation is what Brewer sought to share yesterday.

So what did he mean by not repeating its mistakes of the past? In his own words, the company knows that its reputation in the industry has been that of being too transactional in nature, so, he added: "We need to change the way we engage – we've eliminated the silos between sales and marketing."

The company has also appointed a customer executive role: each person is responsible for anywhere between two and 50 customers, building an account plan for each individual client company. And Brewer also recognised a need to be better at partnering. "A lot of you in the audience have SAP and Oracle as your ERP systems; we want to make those connections as easily as possible," he noted.

But perhaps most importantly, the company has realised its products (with due to a recent culture of mass-acquisitions top out at a number of more than 130) needed to be rationalised. "We can't have that many roadmaps." So five key solution suites have been established (Manufacturing/Planning, Collaborative Category Management, Distribution-centric Supply Chain, Retail Planning and Store Operations), and the products that belong together naturally have already been siloed in this way at most clients. Of the five, Distribution-centric Supply Chain is getting the most investment right now.

In addition, Brewer talked about the company's "all-in" nature in relation to becoming a cloud company, its strong belief in the transformative powers of flowcasting, and the construction of a new integration platform that will someday cross every product it offers. All told, the company is spending more than $140 million in R&D this year.

What does all of this mean for the industry? Only time will tell, but while we wait for full coverage of both events next week, feel free to drop a line to share your thoughts!

This article originally appeared on the RSR Research website as 'JDA announces 2.0' at http://www.rsrresearch.com. It is reproduced with the organisation's permission.

Read RSR's coverage on the macro trends discussed at the Epicor Insights and JDA Focus events in Essential Retail, next week.