J.D. Edwards Gears Up Online Business Efforts

J.D. EDWARDS & CO. is widening its embrace of electronic business with a reselling agreement with Tradex Technologies and the unveiling of the next generation of its application hosting service, dubbed JDe.sourcing.

The Tradex agreement, announced last week, will lead to business-to-business trading exchanges similar to SAP's mySAP.com efforts, according to Gayle Sheppard, vice president of J.D. Edwards.

Exchanges could be developed for a variety of vertical industries, such as manufacturing, high-tech, automotive, pharmaceuticals, construction, and life sciences.

The exchanges would simplify links among buyers and sellers, optimize supply chains for them, and provide a new means for executing transactions. If such exchanges become realities, J.D. Edwards is also likely to take on the role of intermediary, Sheppard said.

The fact that Tradex has agreed to work with J.D. Edwards is a good sign, said Lisa Williams, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group, a market research company in Boston. "They're in a position to choose," Williams said.

It's likely that Tradex selected J.D. Edwards because of its strength among midsize customers -- the average customer installation is approximately 100 seats, Williams said. Small to midsize companies are more likely to visit an online marketplace and are likely to be encouraged by J.D. Edwards' participation, she said.

The partnership is not one just for show, Williams said. "J.D. Edwards doesn't like what we call 'The Barney partnerships' -- the 'I love you, you love me' relationships," she said.

Furthering its application service provider (ASP) efforts, J.D. Edwards has decided to take a direct route by offering ASP hosting via MCI WorldCom's UUNET. This latest variation on application deployment will enable the vendor to deliver enterprise software applications and e-business solutions over the Internet. J.D. Edwards first kicked off a hosting initiative about two years ago but worked through established ASP providers. Customers can continue to use these "indirect" channels or opt for the service to come, said J.D. Edwards officials.

J.D. Edwards will be charging for the JDe.sourcing service via licensing or hosting services when it becomes generally available in April, Sheppard said.

"They've been doing this [since] before ASP was a term," said the Yankee Group's Williams, of J.D. Edwards' selective approach to application hosting.

The ASP deployments of applications combined with its e-business efforts are likely to change the bottom line for J.D. Edwards. "A few years from now, the revenue streams might look very different from today," she said.

J.D. Edwards & Co., in Denver, is at www.jdedwards.com. Tradex Technologies Inc., in Alpaharetta, Ga., is at www.tradex.com.

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