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J.D. Edwards Aims To Make Splash At User Conference

Supply chains and customer-relationship management will be a focus for the revitalized vendor.

Enterprise resource planning vendor J.D. Edwards will host its annual user conference in two weeks, and the vendor will take the opportunity to introduce new and enhanced products to boost its standing in the ERP space.

Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP are still the dominant players in the space, but J.D. Edwards is gaining traction. After struggling through 2001, J.D. Edwards last year and early this year has consistently improved its financial position.

The vendor says it will expand its J.D. Edwards 5 enterprise software suite with a record number of new products. Expect to see a strong focus on supply chain and customer relationship management, as well as a roadmap that outlines the company's strategic direction.

The conference comes at a time when J.D. Edwards has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts. In fact, its first quarter, which ended Jan. 31, was its most profitable first quarter in its 25-year history; the company reported $6.5 million in net income. In the first quarter of 2002, the company lost $4.1 million. In its preliminary second-quarter results announced earlier this month, it acknowledged that revenue had slipped slightly, however. It will release full results this Thursday.

The J.D. Edwards 5 suite, which features a revamped, Web-based platform, has helped boost the company's sales. The suite helped J.D. Edwards win two major accounts: food and dairy cooperative Land O'Lakes Inc. and gas-instrumentation maker FWMurphy, both of which occurred in the third quarter of 2002.

Also, J.D. Edwards addition of CRM tools to its suite has helped win such accounts as supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. J.D. Edwards acquired the CRM technology a little more than a year ago through its $81.7 million purchase of YOUCentric Inc.

There's still a good-sized gap between J.D. Edwards and the No. 3 ERP vendor, PeopleSoft (Oracle and SAP hold the number two and number one spots respectively, according to AMR Research). But in the past year, J.D. Edwards has made ground by sharpening its sales, product development, and services, analysts say.

In particular, the company has done well in defining and focusing on vertical markets. According to Meta Group, it has become an expert in the construction, energy, and manufacturing industries.

By improving its field operations, the vendor boosted overseas revenue, too. In fact, last year 37% of its total revenue came from outside the United States.

According to AMR Research, the company's belief that it will ultimately be the number two ERP vendor behind SAP in many markets may just come true.

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