Last week, Supply Chain Matters attended the JDA Software FOCUS 2015 conference in Orlando Florida providing a number of live update commentaries regarding this conference. In this final commentary related to this year’s FOCUS, we provide our summary impressions.

To view our prior observations and commentaries, please click on the below links:

Update One- Day One Keynote Impressions

Update Two- Day One Afternoon Sessions and JDA Cloud Strategy

Update Three- Day Two Customer Keynote Sessions

Update Four- Conference Awards and Announcements

 

In our view and in the view of others we spoke with, this was a far different JDA conference, one presenting a much broader cross-industry focus, a more succinct strategic agenda for customers and a less arrogant tone. For industry analysts such as this author, the sessions were far more open without restrictions and JDA executives were more open and willing to discuss strategic direction. It was fitting that the conference represented the 30th anniversary for JDA as a software firm.

As noted in our initial commentary, we were especially honed-in on the opening welcome address from JDA’s Chairmen and CEO, Bal Dail who outlined a three point strategy for JDA that included its plans to deliver for existing customers, continued corporate investments in technology and in partnerships. From the podium, he acknowledged that in the past, JDA had not especially listened to customers.  He also acknowledged a culture of past arrogance in the persona of JDA.  There were messages related to commitments for responding to customer needs for advanced technology, much broader partnerships with other providers, including the announcement of a new partnership with Google and the Google Cloud Platform for cloud services. Further emphasized was the ongoing partnership with IBM in Retail industry intelligent fulfillment needs.

We were further impressed with our 1-1 interviews with Jean-Francois Gagne, Chief Innovation Officer, Razat Gaurav, Executive Vice President, Global Industries, Fab Brasca, Vice President, Solution Strategy, Global Industries.  As a reference, Gagne arrived at JDA with the acquisition of Red Prairie while Gaurav and Brasca in a long-time veterans. We touched upon a number of technology strategy and industry adoption topics and this author came away with even more reinforcement that JDA is indeed far more focused and aligned toward bringing more leading-edge technologies to its various industry customers. The takeaway for our readers is that JDA is far more focused on leading-edge cloud development and that should pay dividends in time-to-value down the road.

The day two customer keynote theme was important and powerful, especially since it featured PepsiCo’s supply chain transformation journey that dates back to the early nineties and including the former Manugistics and i2 Technologies technology applications. The relationship of PepsiCo with JDA technology is a 20 year legacy, which is somewhat extraordinary in the supply chain best-of-breed technology industry. That was the missing reinforcement that JDA supports manufacturing and distribution intensive supply chains, in addition to retail.

This year’s FOCUS indeed included a special emphasis on the needs to support Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs, especially the various aspects of JDA’s Intelligent Fulfillment and JDA’s Flowcasting applications. Suffice to indicate that we were impressed by the depth of functionality.

We were also updated on the progress of JDA’s partnership with IBM to address the needs to process and fulfill retail industry Omni-channel orders. The partnership calls for combining the elements of JDA’s warehouse management, demand and workforce planning support capabilities with IBM’s Sterling Distributed Order Management network platform. JDA communicated to conference attendees that the initial release of this functionality will become available in June.

That was indeed a rewarding conference and it reminded those several years past where a broad variety of customer, industry and vendor specific supply chain management business process and IT focused topics were presented, discussed and talked about among attendees.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: JDA Software is one of other sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters© blog.