Oracle breathes new life into JD Edwards


9 Jun 2005

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Since Oracle acquired PeopleSoft last year, rumours have circulated about the fate of JD Edwards, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications firm that PeopleSoft had acquired before it was itself swallowed up.

That uncertainty was laid to rest at a recent customer and press event in London to highlight Oracle’s post-merger application strategy. The key announcement was the ongoing commitment to the JD Edwards brand.

“The JD Edwards brand and channel were very much killed in the past 12 to 18 months of PeopleSoft,” said Juan Rada, senior vice-president of applications and industries, Oracle EMEA. “In EMEA we have 1,700 installations of JD Edwards so it is not a trivial number of customers. What we are doing now is working with JD Edwards’ partners and revitalising the channel.”

He suggested this would be a relatively easy task. While many former JD Edwards partners have moved to Microsoft’s business solutions, he pointed out they had retained their JD Edwards capability in order to preserve the revenue stream from support contracts. “This is why we are going back to them. We have been successful in charming them back with some degree of enthusiasm. We have some big ones such as IBM — IBM is a big JD Edwards partner for us.”

The news that the JD Edwards brand was to be revitalised was welcomed by at least one Irish company. Tiernan Quinn, sales director at Software Resources, declared himself very happy with what he had heard at the conference.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” he told siliconrepublic.com. “Our legacy and origins have been focused over the past 15 years on the JD Edwards product set. We have been JD Edwards’ partner in Ireland since 1990 and we support a base in excess of 70 clients in this country. Oracle had given assurances to customers that it was committed to supporting JD Edwards up to 2013, which is probably a bigger commitment than we could have expected heretofore. The customers are very happy. However, as an organisation that supports and sells the product set, the clarity with regard to what products Oracle would continue to sell to new customers wasn’t as complete as we would have liked.

“What we heard [at the event] however, was that Oracle was indeed committed to selling JD Edwards to new customers with a particular emphasis on SMEs. That’s a significant announcement from our point of view. While Oracle has announced new technology around Fusion — the company’s three-to-four year road map to develop information age applications — our legacy, expertise and referencability has been focused on JD Edwards. We are well positioned to service that market.”

Further announcements at the event were that Oracle was to be restructured along technology and application lines — there will now be an Application Business Group and a Technology Business Group — and that product lines are being focused on different markets. Rada said the reorganisation recognised that Oracle, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards each had their own historical strengths.

“If you look at Oracle in Europe we are strongest in the public sector and telecommunications. In addition, healthcare is the fastest-growing vertical market for us. If we look at JD Edwards, it has always been strong in food and beverage, in fashion and in engineering and construction. PeopleSoft has mainly been applied horizontally but historically the company has been particularly strong in selling human resources, from human capital management to banking.”

Jesper Andersen (left), senior vice-president of applications strategy at Oracle, and Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, share a joke at Oracle Apps Summit in London recently where the software firm outlined the strategy for its applications business

By David Stewart