JD Edwards aims to triple number of CRM implementations

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JD Edwards (JDE) hopes to more than triple the number of existing customers implementing its CRM applications over the year ahead to three per cent of its 6,600 installed base.

In Europe, however, expectations are closer to one per cent, with three customers in the UK already having implemented the packages, two in South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Benelux countries, and one in Germany, Italy and Sweden. During 2002, a total of 108 such projects were undertaken worldwide, about 50 per cent by members of the firm’s installed base.

Karl Johnson, JDE’s’ vice president of CRM product management, explained the slow CRM adoption rate of the vendor’s customer base: “Rolling out implementation skills to internal staff and partners is not a quick process. We wanted to be cautious and not over-extend ourselves or bring people onto projects where they would have to learn the product on customer sites.”

Moreover, he added, JDE’s 4,000 AS/400 customers that deploy its World packages, “tend to be classic mid-market companies, which are risk-averse and tend to be late adopters”.

But Europe lags behind the US, Johnson said, because, following JDE’s acquisition of CRM applications vendor, YOUcentric, in November 2001, the focus was on training staff in the domestic US market, which accounts for 75 per cent of the company’s revenues. This meant that YOUcentric skills only became available in Europe about six months ago.

“When JD Edwards bought YOUcentric, only about 3 per cent of them already had CRM, but 30 per cent said they were interested, pre-9/11. So there’s a lot of pent up demand and a huge opportunity, so we’re doing a lot of work to motivate our OneWorld and World customers to move,” he added.

But Johnson believes that version 2.0 of the firm’s CRM product, which is shipping now, provides a number of incentives to encourage customers to jump.

A key one is that the new release is now tightly integrated with all of JDE’s enterprise resource planning and supply chain management applications. In the past, this integration had been more at the plumbing than the functional level.

Another is a new Service Management module, which includes Contact Center and Field Service packages.

“This appeals to a new set of users who are focused on customer service and retaining those customers. Field Service opens up a whole new area because a lot of our installed base is manufacturing companies that have a need for this type of thing,” Johnson said.

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