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Executive Editor

J.D. Edwards upgrades CRM suite

Jan 30, 20033 mins
CRM SystemsEnterprise ApplicationsERP Systems

J.D. Edwards Tuesday updated its customer relationship management suite that is aimed at making it easier for users to link the vendor’s CRM applications with its enterprise resource planning and supply chain management software. The new release also fills out J.D. Edwards’ customer service and support modules.

J.D. Edwards is a relative newcomer in CRM, compared with its ERP brethren such as SAP and PeopleSoft. It bought its way into the CRM market in mid-2001 when it acquired software maker YOUcentric.

Since the acquisition, three incremental product upgrades focused on salesforce automation and integrating sales applications with ERP products, says Karl Johnson, vice president of CRM product management at J.D. Edwards. CRM 2.0 is designed to fill the suite’s service automation gaps and tackle SCM integration, Johnson says.

Version 2.0 builds out the company’s Service Management software, which target post-sales service issues. It includes call center and field service applications, so companies can track equipment service history and manage the flow of service work being performed.

In the SCM area, CRM 2.0 integrates with J.D. Edwards’ Demand Consensus software, a supply-chain planning application designed to enhance forecasting accuracy. Tying together the two applications allows companies to feed sales pipeline information into Demand Consensus to create a more collaborative forecast, Johnson says. It’s the first in a series of integration points planned between the CRM and SCM lines, he says.

Mobile sales functionality also is new to CRM 2.0. Technology provided through a partnership with software maker Synchrologic lets remote salespeople access and edit information in the CRM suite, even when they are not online.

“There’s still in a need for people in field to have a disconnected fat client with local storage,” Johnson says.

Additional sales enhancements include quote-versioning capabilities. In prior releases, a salesperson could only assign one quote per sales opportunity; the new version lets users connect multiple quotes to a single lead, Johnson says. A wizard for creating proposals also has been added, he says.

The new upgrade – which is the vendor’s largest and most significant product upgrade to date – may stimulate sales outside of J.D. Edwards’ traditional installed base, which is heavy on manufacturing companies, experts say.

Kelly Spang Ferguson, principal analyst at research firm Current Analysis, notes that J.D. Edwards has 100 CRM customers to date, nearly half of which are brand-new to J.D. Edwards. In particular, J.D. Edwards is seeing momentum in the financial services sector, according to Ferguson.

“J.D. Edwards is hitting on two trouble spots for enterprises that tend to receive more scrutiny in economic downturns – sales and customer service,” Ferguson wrote in a brief. “With continued downsizing, companies need to do more with less resources, and in this instance streamlined sales processes and better forecasting tools are two points within CRM 2.0 that address this need.”

CRM 2.0 is available now.