J.D.Edwards CEO: We Are "Dead Serious" About CRM

At the helm of software vendor J.D. Edwards for two months, Robert Dutkowsky, president and CEO, is optimistic about the company's CRM strategy and contends it will be an important player in the CRM space. The company has earned plenty of kudos from the analyst sector when it acquired CRM vendor YOUcentric in August 2001 and by December had a CRM product that integrated with its ERP applications. The acquisition gave the company appropriate lift in the marketplace, because it was viewed as not having a CRM strategy since it partnered with Siebel Systems to deliver CRM solutions. Analysts said that the fast rate that J.D. Edwards came out with the release of its CRM 1.0, quickly followed by Version 1.1, demonstrated that there were a lot of "synergies between the two companies and their products," says Kelly Spang, an analyst with Current Analysis, a market research firm. Dutkowsky agrees. "J.D. Edwards integrating [YOUcentric] and coming out with a release 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," Dutkowsky says. Dutkowsky replaced Ed McVaney, who is chairman, and recently retired for a second time after coming out of retirement 18 months ago to set the company back on course. Now that J.D Edwards has broken off with Siebel and has struck out on its own in the CRM marketplace, Dutkowsky says, the company knows a lot about CRM implementations and integration since it worked with Siebel's product. "We tried to integrate Siebel for 18 months and made very little progress, not because Siebel is not a great product and J.D. Edwards is not a great company, but because of the technical complexity that a Siebel product brings to the market," he says. He says midsize enterprises, especially in the manufacturing and distribution sector, are looking to avoid technical complexity in quest for rapid installations and easy-to-administer applications. That is where its CRM solution comes into play. "The company targeted YOUcentric because of its technical elegance, the way it is designed and we knew that it would fit into our customer set," he says. Dutkowsky is not looking far to sell its CRM product. Instead it is looking straight into its backyard for the cross-sell opportunities. "Watch us have success with out installed base," he says, adding the company has 6,400 customers and only about six percent have a CRM installation. "That says that we have thousands and thousands of customers who are loyal J.D. Edwards users who have waited for an integrated approach for the rest of their ERP infrastructure. That is why integration is important for us," Dutkowsky says. "Watch for us to continue to drive business out of our installed base and address that huge requirement in our installed base that is waiting for a CRM offering." Over the coming months CRM version 1.1 has set the foundation for further integration with its other products, including the Advanced Planning Suite, which was recently upgraded, according to Spang. Dutkowsky says more enhancements to its CRM product are expected that will help deliver better integration into its ERP and SCM applications and would emphasize rapid implementations, a key feature its customers need.
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