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Home > Posts > JDA Focus 2013: Planning for Execution
May 23

JDA Focus 2013:  Planning for Execution

Keywords: JDA Software, RedPrairie, Supply Chain Planning, Supply Chain Execution, Warehouse Management, Transportation Management, Cloud.

JDA Focus in Orlando, FL, May 5-8, 2013 attracted over 2,500 attendees and included multiple tracks with numerous sessions focused on user case studies and JDA product roadmaps. In December 2012, JDA Software merged with RedPrairie, creating a massive supply chain software company with combined 2012 revenues of greater than $1 billion. This was the company's first major conference since the merger.

Under the "Come Together" theme, many sessions focused on the integration path of the legacy organizations and their respective product lines; both topics of primary interest to many attendees. JDA's executive management discussed the steps taken since the merger and outlined the company's newly formulated business and product strategies.

JDA Product Strategy
Both JDA Software and RedPrairie offered a broad portfolio of supply chain management solutions prior to the merger. JDA's solution set was primarily focused on planning processes. These solutions supported manufacturing planning, supply and demand planning, transportation management, and merchandise planning. RedPrairie primarily supported supply chain execution. These solutions included warehouse management, store operations, workforce management, manufacturing execution, and a strong mobile platform. The complementary nature of these solution sets creates numerous opportunities for JDA to extend its value proposition by leveraging the strengths of each product line and enabling additional process improvements through product integration. This combination of planning and execution portfolios will allow advanced JDA clients to manage the planning and execution processes and close the information feedback loop with one integrated set of products. Also, the JDA supply and manufacturing solutions combined with legacy RedPrairie's warehouse management solution and Commerce suite extends JDA's ability to support the extended supply chain from raw materials to the end consumer.

Platform Strategy
Management stated during the conference that JDA is looking to expand the company's role from that of a tactical technology provider to become a strategic partner. This transition will be supported by the more comprehensive solution footprint now offered by JDA, the product integration strategy, and the platform strategy enabled by the JDA eight platform. The JDA eight platform, released earlier this year, was a three-year project to integrate the best features obtained from the Manugistics and i2 acquisitions. JDA eight provides an improved user interface that includes intuitive navigation capabilities, guided workflows, and enhanced user configurability. The platform leverages a computational grid for scalability and hybrid in-memory computing for rapid data analysis. JDA is promoting the platform as a key enabler of process integration, reduced time to value, and integration of RedPrairie products.

Product Integration Opportunities
JDA product line managers followed up on the high-level integration message with specific examples of how customers can realize value from the integration of JDA and RedPrairie products. For example, JDA plans to offer integration between production planning, manufacturing execution, and warehouse management. This would enable feedback between execution and planning and the ability to include additional constraints in the planning process.

There is also discussion about integrating TMS with capable-to-promise. This would enable transportation variables to be added to the constraint-based capable-to-promise optimization; providing broader visibility into constraints and a step improvement in the objective output.

Finally, JDA is considering the integration of TMS with WMS to provide constraint-based dock door scheduling that leverages labor resource scheduling within the warehouse.

Future Innovation
JDA's chief technology officer provided some insight on the themes for planned innovations in the company's future. JDA plans to develop its products in a way that will minimize the complexities encountered by users in an effort to streamline business processes and reduce the need for quantitative experts. The company also plans to develop features such as guided workflows that will offer resolution "levers" that employ best practices to solve given problems. These best practices will be subject to a continuous improvement process that will employ machine learning to improve the alignment between the problems and the suggested resolutions. There will also be a concerted effort to make mobility pervasive across the solution footprint and to apply the schedule modeler from the Planora acquisition to numerous scenarios.

Agility was a core theme for JDA's product innovation roadmap. Management intends to increase its agility and improve the time-to-value of its products through a number of mechanisms. The JDA eight platform is intended to improve time-to-value through a standard interface, improved usability, and streamlined integration capabilities. The platform is also intended to support JDA's focus on cloud deployments. Numerous case studies profiled the company's cloud-based solutions. Management believes that cloud deployments provide agility by allowing customers to begin using the product prior to completion of the integration. JDA also plans to leverage the Cloud to provide customers with computing elasticity to support large and sporadic increases in processing requirements.

JDA Software and the current management team have extensive experience with corporate mergers and acquisitions. They have developed integration road maps and successfully executed to plan.

The merger of JDA and RedPrairie offers many synergies to the combined organization. The product lines are mostly complementary and this offers opportunity for immediate cross-selling, the ability to leverage common technology, and the prospect for additional product improvements from future product integrations. Both JDA and RedPrairie have been functional leaders in their respective markets, so it's easy to see how the merger will serve to support this technology leadership.

The cloud strategy offers a mechanism by which JDA can stabilize its revenue stream through the transition from a perpetual to a periodic licensing model. However, it remains unclear to what degree the JDA cloud value proposition will resonate within JDA's target market segments.

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