J.D. Edwards releases CRM 2.0

Midmarket vendor J.D. Edwards & Co. has released the 2.0 version of its CRM (customer relationship management) software, a package the company's CRM strategy head calls "the definitive CRM release for J.D. Edwards."

Among the 175 changes and extensions in the new release are tighter integration with other J.D. Edwards products, notably its SCM (supply-chain management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) packages; a mobile module that allows the software to be accessed when the user is offline, and new customer service management capabilities.

J.D. Edwards, based in Denver, entered the CRM market in mid-2001 through its acquisition of CRM software maker YouCentric Inc. This is the fourth update of J.D. Edwards CRM suite, and this time, the overhaul completes the product's foundation, according to Karl Johnson, a YouCentric co-founder now serving as J.D. Edwards' vice president of CRM strategy.

"Last year, we were bringing it into the (J.D. Edwards) fold. This release is fleshing it out," he said. "This puts us on par with or exceeding our competitors in all areas. From this point forward, updates will be further fleshing-out."

One current CRM customer said he's looking forward to upgrading to 2.0 in February, primarily for the promised integration benefits.

Equipment controls and instrumentation manufacturer FWMurphy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been using J.D. Edwards' ERP software, and went live in September on its CRM suite. Mitch Myers, FWMurphy's vice president of operations, said he plans to implement 2.0's offline functionality. He's also looking forward to using 2.0 in conjunction with J.D. Edwards' Demand Consensus supply-chain forecasting software, which his company is now deploying. Integration with Demand Consensus is a new feature in the 2.0 update.

FWMurphy's transition from Siebel Systems Inc. CRM software J.D. Edwards used to resell onto J.D. Edwards' own CRM suite has been "really, really smooth," Myers said. The only item on his wish list, he said, is even further integration of the CRM software with other J.D. Edwards products.

"We see ERP as the foundation of our e-business strategy," he said. "So the deeper the integration goes, the richer it gets, the better."

Eventually, his goal is complete integration between FWMurphy's CRM, ERP and supply-chain systems, he said, allowing customers to place online orders and receive real-time ship date promises, based on data logged elsewhere in the system about such variables as delivery capacity and materials requirements.

Since the YouCentric acquisition closed at the end of 2001, J.D. Edwards has signed 108 new CRM deals, according to Johnson. About half of those buyers are existing customers using other J.D. Edwards software, like FWMurphy. In winning new business, J.D. Edwards finds itself competing most often against Siebel Systems Inc., Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, he said.

J.D. Edwards announced in September a deal with IBM Corp. to include IBM's middleware, including its DB2 database and WebSphere application server, as part of its own software products. J.D. Edwards CRM 2.0 is part of that arrangement, and ships with IBM's middleware included, Johnson said.

J.D. Edwards also partnered with mobile infrastructure software maker Synchrologic Inc., whose technology powers the new "disconnected" functionality allowing CRM 2.0 to be used offline and synchronized with network data.

J.D. Edwards would not disclose pricing for CRM 2.0, which is sold on a modular, per-user basis.

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