J.D. Edwards Is ''Dead Serious'' About CRM
CRM play will be a big growth factor for the ERP vendor
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J.D.Edwards is no longer sitting on the CRM sidelines. The company's new chairman, president and chief executive, Robert Dutkowsky, sees the Denver-based ERP and SCM applications firm establishing new footing as a strong CRM contender after its acquisition last year of CRM vendor YOUcentric. Dutkowsky, a 20-year IBM veteran, was named to the chief executive position in January and was then named chairman in March, replacing Ed McVaney, who retired for a second time after coming out of retirement 18 months ago to set the company back on course. Dutkowsky is optimistic about the company's potential to gain CRM market share, especially among its base of 6,400 mid-market customers. That customer base, he says, holds a huge reservoir of potential opportunities, given that only about 6 percent of those customers have a CRM solution. Many of the company's customers have been waiting for a CRM solution that cleanly and easily integrates into their current ERP systems, Dutkowsky says, adding that J.D Edwards' CRM is the answer. "Watch us have success inside our installed base. We have thousands and thousands of customers who are loyal to J.D. Edwards who have waited for an integrated approach for the rest of their ERP infrastructure. That is why integration is important for us," he says. The focus on CRM means the company is also expecting that over time more of its revenues will be derived from its new and forthcoming CRM products, compared with its traditional set of ERP products. "I think that the traditional ERP space is not growing as fast as the CRM space. You'll see more of J.D. Edwards business derived from the CRM space," Dutkowsky says. That opportunity to be an agile player in the CRM space was made possible with the acquisition of CRM vendor YOUcentric in August 2001. The company earned kudos from industry analysts for swiftly delivering CRM products, called J.D Edwards CRM 1.0 and 1.1, by December 2001 that integrate into its own ERP applications. The fast rate that J.D. Edwards came out with the product releases shows there were a lot of synergies between the two companies and their products, says Kelly Spang, an analyst at Current Analysis, a market research firm. Dutkowsky obviously agrees. "J.D. Edwards integrating [YOUcentric] and coming out with a release very quickly tells the marketplace, tells our customers, and tells our competitors that we are dead serious about being an important player in the CRM market," he says. In addition, having YOUcentric in its court means that the company can move into other sectors, like financial services, an area that YOUcentric focused on that is outside of J.D. Edwards' manufacturing and high-tech base, he says. Despite its own CRM product being out for less than a year, Dutkowsky contends the company is not a novice in the market. He says 18 months of reselling Siebel Systems applications taught the sales team how to sell a CRM solution, but also taught the company plenty of hard-earned lessons. With the acquisition of YOUcentric, the company cut its ties with Siebel. "One of the key problems J.D. Edwards encountered with reselling Siebel into its client base was the technical complexity," Dutkowsky says. "We tried to resell Siebel to our installed base for 18 months, and we had very little success with it, not because Siebel is not a good product, but because the complexity and the way it is architectured demands the customer to build almost a duplicate IT infrastructure. It's too complex for what our customers want," he says. Instead, mid-market customers want a rapid installation, a quick return on investment, and a CRM solution that integrates with their systems, Dutkowsky says. "Watch us continue to announce integrated applications, and integrated support that will allow us to deliver on the promise of rapid implementations and rapid ROI," he says.
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