JD Edwards partners take industry-specific aim

Hoping to expand its reach to more industries - and find new customers when demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications hits a lull - business software vendor JD Edwards announced yesterday that it is partnering with vendors to fill very industry-specific functions.

Through its "Partners In Development" (PID) program, announced Thursday, JD Edwards plans to team up with vendors in small niches to build interfaces between both companies' products and sell them as a unified package under the partner's name, according to Pat Moscarelli, director of PID at JD Edwards.

"We're interested in penetrating vertical industries without de-focusing," Moscarelli said. "These folks have a lot of expertise."

In the first such partnership, Systems Alternatives Inc (SAI) will link its modules tailored for the scrap-steel recycling industry -- which designed to test a metal's purity, weigh it, pay for it, and refashion it -- with the larger company's financial and manufacturing modules. SAI's existing financial applications will not be part of the integration deal because both companies feel JD Edwards' modules are more complete, Moscarelli said.

Setting a pattern that future deals will follow, the first step will be to sell both companies' applications in a bundle with a fairly shallow interface. The SAI bundle should be generally available by the end of April, Moscarelli said.

In the second step, both companies will work on re-architecting the partner applications to look and operate just like JD Edwards' own products, including replacing SAI's old "green-screen" interface with a graphical client interface, Moscarelli added. This should be available by the end of the year.

JD Edwards will get about one-third to one-half of the revenue that SAI or other partners make from selling the resulting bundles, Moscarelli said.

SAI is the only member of the PID program so far, but several others are expected to join within the next few quarters, Moscarelli said. JD Edwards is aiming at fast-growing service industries that ERP vendors traditionally haven't served, such as health care, publishing, and banking, she added.

The company hopes to deliver these bundles starting early in 2000, she said.

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