Written by 2:13 am Supply chain excellence, Supply chain planning • One Comment

The Verdict: a Hung Jury

A hung jury is deadlocked.   It is one that cannot, by the required voting threshold, agree on a verdict due to severe differences of opinion.


Manugistics under delivered.  i2 Technologies over promised.

When ERP companies added Supply Chain Planning (SCP), they largely copied best-of-breed providers.

As a result, the SCP technology market is stagnant.  The question is will JDA, as the aggregator of SCM companies, evolve as the TRUE Supply Chain Company? This week, I report my thoughts from JDA’s Focus 2010 event.

The Prologue

Ten years ago, the SCM market was over-hyped, and evolving. It was an exciting time.  Then i2 Technologies and Manugistics faced off with fierce competition.  Today, it has changed.  The SCM market is mature and consolidating. True innovation is largely coming from small industry-specific  start-up companies.

On the heels of acquiring Manugistics in 2007, JDA purchased i2 Technologies in 2009. The question for all is what does this mean?

The uniting of these two major players—i2 Technologies and Manugistics— is a scenario that would have challenged the wildest imagination. In 2000, it would have been laughable.  However, it is today’s reality.  This week, as I stood in the Focus 2010 ballroom introducing folks I knew from i2 Technologies to former colleagues from Manugistics, the improbable became reality for me.  It was the coming-out party for two unlikely debutantes.

It was neither a marketing event like i2’s Planet nor a user-focused event like Manugistics’ Envision.  While it had strong attendance (1700), the program struggled for identity.  What the event lacked in content was delivered by the way of a good old-fashioned Las Vegas style party.

The market needs a leader.  Is JDA a market leader for SCM?  The company is now a 600 Million company touting 5000 customers.  Sounds good, but do the math.  600 million in revenue divided by 5000 customers represents a low-level of spending significance. Despite the acquisitions, and a 90% maintenance retention, JDA struggles to build strategic client relationships and become the SCM thought leader.  The Manugistics base is under attack from SAP APO, and the i2 Technologies base is threatened by Oracle.  This was reinforced by client discussions at the bar. Six companies were in transition: one from merger and acquisition, two for SAP APO standardization, one for business process outsourcing and one a convert to Oracle APS. One company stated that his company “sent 28 people to SAP’s Sapphire event and only 1 person to JDA’s Focus event.” (The two events happened at the same time.)  To be the SCM leader, JDA needs to rebuild its go-to-market strategies and establish strategic relationships with clients, not only in retail, but also in manufacturing.

The Evidence

Let’s evaluate the evidence.  Who will JDA be in the market?  Will it be a software aggregator or an innovator? My vote is that the company is poised to be an aggregator serving the late-adopter and main-stream market largely milking maintenace revenues from the maturing of the first phase of SCP. I do not see them as a player in driving the next phase of SCP excellence.  Here is my logic.

At the event, I give the company thumbs-up for:

  • Making the right decisions on product strategy: One of the largest challenges of the i2 acquisition is product rationalization of the code base.  To the company’s credit, within a year of the acquisition, there is a product roadmap, a decision on product evolution, and a clear direction for clients.  I agree with the product rationalization decisions.  The company has successfully moved forward with the best of i2 and Manugistics.
  • Supporting the code: Another client concern in the acquisition is maintenance and product support.  JDA’s commitment to never sunset a product is admirable.
  • Transitioning i2 Employees: When the company purchased Manugistics, employee attrition was high.  This time, JDA has done an admirable job of retaining i2 employees.  The assimilation processes were well- orchestrated, and endorsed by many long-term i2 employees over cocktails on the floor.

I give the event thumbs-down for:

  • Delivering a compelling marketing message:  The message of the event was “adapt, plan, deliver”.  An upgrade from i2’s prior message  but, the event was a missed opportunity to propel thought leadership in supply chain management.  In a time when supply chain matters more than ever, supply chain thought leadership was conspicuously absent at the conference.
  • Improving thought leadership for supply chain management: The sessions that I attended were below average. They were delivered by business users and IT directors with a focus on implementation. Strategic decision makers were conspicuously absent.  I did not attend a single session that would have warranted the prior i2 Ken Sharma award. 
  • Market innovation: The Company is flanked by innovators gnawing at its base. While JDA offers “managed services”, it is not competitive with the industry-specific SaaS solutions fromPredictix or Revionics in retail, the combination of E2Open/Kinaxis in discrete industries, ModelN in pharmaceuticals or Demandtec in consumer products.  Case studies presented were stale, and there was no evidence of true innovation in the product demonstrations in the showcase.

Early Results

All in all, some, but not substantial progress against Hamish’s two objectives :innovation and delivering real results.  When I posed the question on twitter — Is JDA the Supply Chain Company?– the response was not over whelming.  Two respondents said “no”, three said “that it was too early to tell”, and only one said yes.  I concur. The jury is split.  At the event, JDA presented itself largely as a market aggregator, not a market innovator. We have a hung jury with very strong opinions.

How do you vote?

What do you think?  Does JDA have a chance to be a leader and change the direction of supply chain management through innovation? Let me know your thoughts.

I have an exciting week planned.  Stay tuned. I will be posting a plethora of blog posts–stored up from all of my travels– and reporting from the Teradata Consumer Products Round Table on the use of Downstream Data.