Software giant lines up application collaboration with Big Blue

Monday, 09 December, 2002

J.D. Edwards recently announced it will standardise its collaborative business applications, known as J.D. Edwards 5, on infrastructure technology or "middleware".

According to a recent press release, global collaborative enterprise software company J.D. Edwards said "Combination creates the industry's most comprehensive package of open, integrated applications and infrastructure technology to provide faster time-to-value for customers, with lower total cost-of-ownership"

According to the company, the open, standards-based business applications running on IBM's open infrastructure technology will enable customers to develop and implement solutions for managing a broad array of enterprise business processes, customer relationships, their supply chains and other business-to-business collaboration processes more flexibly across different computing platforms.

J.D. Edwards 5 applications will be pre-integrated with IBM's WebSphere Application Server and Portal with embedded security, Lotus collaboration tools, and DB2 Universal Database (DB2 UDB). The suite includes applications such as ERP, CRM, SCM, Supplier Relationship Management, and Business Intelligence.

"J.D. Edwards has made a bold decision to standardise our applications on IBM's industry-leading infrastructure technology," said Bob Dutkowsky, chairman, president and CEO, J.D. Edwards. "This combination creates the industry's most comprehensive, pre-integrated package of applications and infrastructure technology based on open, industry-standard technologies.

It provides customers lower total cost-of-ownership over time than any competitive offering and sets the standard for ease-of-use, including rapid implementation, easier integration and maintenance, and easy, portal-based accessibility to end users."

The company says it chose IBM's infrastructure technology after reviewing competitive offerings from all major "middleware" vendors. "We chose IBM because they are the clear market leader in open infrastructure technology, offer unmatched market presence and depth of development resources, and have been a trusted partner with J.D. Edwards since our company's inception 25 years ago," said Dutkowsky.

"This agreement underscores our customers' demand for open software that will run across a variety of computing systems -- unlike other proprietary approaches," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software. "The combination of industry leading, open applications and infrastructure from J.D. Edwards and IBM will enable mid-market to mid-cap customers to develop e-business solutions faster and more efficiently."

The joint package is designed to run on all vendor technologies that both companies currently support including Microsoft Windows and UNIX environments from IBM, HP, Sun and Unisys, and the IBM eServer iSeries. J.D. Edwards will continue to offer customers integration and interoperability via its XPITM (eXtended Process Integration) solution using the webMethods technologies.

However, Gartner Group puts another spin on events. In it's latest press release it says, "IBM aims to use the credibility, market share and industry support of the WebSphere product family (which is based on Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) to enter the MSB (mid-sized business) market. WebSphere has not appealed to MSBs, mostly because of its high acquisition costs, technical complexity and lack of specific marketing focus. WebSphere Express repackages some of the most successful components of the WebSphere family - Application Server, Portal and Business Connection - into lower-cost, easier-to-use products. WebSphere Express also wraps them with incentives aimed at attracting MSB-focused resellers (such as value-added resellers).

Furthermore, Gartner Group notes, "IBM's announcement continues the industry trend of key technologies becoming increasingly affordable and more approachable for MSBs. The company's strategy of distributing WebSphere Express through local partners and allowing MSBs to buy what they need incrementally, when they need it, reflects their buying attitude. However this strategy puts IBM on a collision course with Microsoft, the incumbent provider of software infrastructure for MSBs. The timing may be right, though, as many MSBs are concerned and confused about moving to .NET."

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