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Focus on JDA

Highlights and observations about JDA's direction and the JDA Focus 2013 conference.

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Steady as you go would be the theme for JDA Focus this year. Key messages centered on the continued push on JDA 8.0 as well as the continued migration to cloud. Hamish Brewer, CEO of JDA, stated that over a third of JDA’s new customers are buying the cloud option; and over two hundred JDA customers are now on the cloud. This demonstrates not only the cloud commitment by JDA, but also the fact that cloud is not just a small-company phenomenon. In fact, with JDA 8.0, JDA appears to be able to take on the challenges of the largest enterprises.1

As the blending of JDA and Red Prairie continues, some benefits of the combined companies are beginning to become clear. For their diverse customer base, JDA has a lot available now to bring depth and breadth to the large enterprise. Let’s take a look at some of these areas.

Enterprise-wide Retail

Retail is a market that is typified by diverse applications in the retailer’s portfolio. Logistics, store operation, planning, and consumer engagement have all been unique markets with unique providers, making a complex portfolio for retailers to manage. A few ERPs have tried to tackle an enterprise-wide approach, but even they have not succeeded. It is very difficult to be consistently good across such challenging and complex areas.

The new JDA is beginning to tackle an enterprise-wide approach to its retail market. This was demonstrated in their Enterprise Store Operations or ESO strategy. In it we have a blending together of several solutions from the new portfolio, including: store planning, forecasting, localized promotions, localized assortment planning and merchandising, localized pricing, workforce/labor management, mobile task management, inbound receiving, kiosk, and other capabilities typical of in-store operations.2 It’s a lot to think about. Beyond the retail store, they also, through their commerce suite, have ecommerce and warehouse management so they can support omni-channel retailing. I'm not sure if all the pieces are working together in a harmonious way, yet. However, I'm sure it's an easy leap for an existing JDA customer who already has much of the foundational data (from either the commerce suite or the JDA merchandising and planning modules) to begin to map out an enterprise-wide approach. (See Figure 1 below.)

Today, retailers are not buying all of this functionality from one player. So interoperability is key.

Figure 1: JDA Focus 2013

Consequently, it does set JDA up in an intensely competitive environment where the giants will battle it out for the largest enterprises. Only Symphony, SAP, Oracle, Epicor, and a few others can begin to approach that depth of capabilities.


Here is an area in which the combined power is also very attractive. Transportation management software such as i2’s Freight and Trade Matrix, now part of the JDA Transportation and Logistics suite, and the RedPrairie warehouse management provide both planning and execution. JDA 7, before the integration of i2 Technologies, was limited in its TMS capability due to lack of multi-party cloud. But in JDA 8.0, that problem seems to have been addressed with a multi-party transportation system and JDA's cloud strategy. JDA has rich functionality, certainly, in the warehouse management space; their only super rival is Manhattan Associates.

Logistics + Retail

Another area in which the combined forces make an attractive consideration for larger enterprises is collaborative store-shelf replenishment or what JDA calls Collaborative Shelf Planning.3 With brand companies expecting their retailers to take a larger responsibility for increased visibility, full-shelf inventory, and in-store replenishment, a methodology needs to be created that allows that to happen in a seamless way. POS data, assortment and allocation data, trade promotion data—by individual store and by shelf—needs to be shared among the trading partners in order to increase effectiveness. (See JDA diagram, Figure 2, below.)

Figure 2: Source JDA – Focus 2013

Collaborative shelf planning is an area that i2 and, now, JDA have persisted in developing. Early work that i2 did with Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and P&G, though large companies, dealt with pretty local problems. They created a lot of algorithms: store grading, out-of-stock detection, history analytics, POS cleansing and analytics. Those combined with more traditional replenishment and VMI products to create a workbench type capability. Though not for everybody, such as the mid-to-smaller companies at this time, certainly this is a capability that any brand company that sells to retailers, or has their own outlets, could use.


The combined power of the portfolio will also give JDA new energy in the manufacturing market. Before the i2 Technologies acquisition, JDA had decent consumer-manufacturing capability, but was lacking the more sophisticated, complex manufacturing prowess required, for example, in the semiconductor industry. In addition, RedPrairie had a solid reputation for complex warehouse requirements such as cross docking and managing multiparty warehouses (very useful for contract manufacturers and 3PLs that do light assembly). Large, complex, global organizations that manage their warehouses in conjunction with transportation may consider the combination portfolio very attractive.4

Long-term loyal customers from the old i2 days, like Tata Steel, Texas Instruments, Caterpillar, several large automotive companies, and most of the big semiconductor companies continue to work in a continuous improvement mode, absorbing new innovations to fine-tune their supply chains. We hear about these companies, year after year, and their persistent and consistent striving for supply chain excellence.


Of course, JDA continues to sell individual modules. However, it is clear that the big beneficiaries are the complex multi-mode, multi-process, multi-channel environments inherent in big companies (Best Buy, Dell, Sony, Texas Instruments, Ulta Beauty, Macy's, and many other mega companies). Of course, many of these companies do not manage themselves with a single-version-of-the-truth database. They do try to harmonize (interoperate) within the company and with trading partners. However, these companies need to seek solutions that can scale and integrate.

Competition is intense! And it is global. JDA's competitive stance is becoming more intense in the EU (in spite of the economic woes there) and is growing in Asia, where many of the new sales for mega-retailers reside.

More on JDA in the next issue.


1. In a series of articles on JDA, we will discuss these aspects more in detail: cloud, JDA 8, and other aspects of the JDA footprint too numerous to include in one article. In addition, JDA will be included in the upcoming demand management, transportation, and manufacturing reports coming from ChainLink Research. -- Return to article text above

2. This brings together JDA’s merchandising and pricing, RedPrairie’s warehouse capability, and the RedPrairie commerce suite as sources for ESO today. -- Return to article text above

3. This capability brings together the flowcasting acquisition that RedPrairie did, the advanced shelf-level demand work that i2 did, and the JDA replenishment capabilities combined in an advanced solution. -- Return to article text above

4. However, when it comes to TMS, multi-tenant, and multiparty, network-based TMS solutions seem to rule the day. And for good reason. TMS – A Have It Your Way Market -- Return to article text above

To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.

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