Supply Chain Matters pens this commentary from JDA Software’s FOCUS 2015 conference being held today in Orlando Florida. In our initial dispatch, we updated readers on the day one opening keynote sessions.

The day one executive keynotes, at least from the stage, were indeed a far different persona. 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 and a renewed emphasis on technology innovation. This latter point was one that we wanted to seek out further evidence.

This author had the opportunity to speak with Jean-Francois Gagne, Chief Innovation Officer at JDA, as well as Fab Brasca, Vice President, Solution Strategy, Global Industries. As a reference, Gagne arrived at JDA with the acquisition of Red Prairie while Brasca in a long-time veteran. We touched upon a number of technology strategy and 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.

Noted was that 75 percent of current projects at JDA Labs already existed. What is different is described as a complete change in technology discipline, a more structured approach with the ability to pivot more quickly to customer needs and requirements. I was able to dive deeper into the current activity related to the partnership with Google and leveraged use of the Google Cloud Platform. JDA is investing heavily in “true cloud”, something we could not report from our impressions of previous FOCUS events. While we cannot disclose specifics, we walked away with a distinct impression that the Google partnership has the potential to lead to exciting new applications of information discovery and leveraged use of more predictive analytics across the end-to-end supply chain. Google has a lot to demonstrate in performing as a cloud-based platform in mission-critical applications such as supply chain business processes, and has the deep pockets to make things happen rather quickly. Both parties together, bring an immense amount of supply chain and information discovery intellectual perspectives to the forefront.

JDA installed base customers can look forward to the next technology strategy shift, that being what is described as JDA FLEX, which has workspace, application and knowledge elements in its overall architecture. Some might argue that this was the influence of Red Prairie and its MOCA approach, and that would be perceptive.

The takeaway is that JDA finally has the opportunity to take true advantage of cloud-based technology deployment, the same application that can run in either behind the firewall, private or other cloud-based platforms. With the depth of its planning, customer fulfillment and supply chain execution based applications footprint, we could well foresee a new identity to JDA, and one more related to B2B end-to-end, cloud-based, multi-tiered applications provider. JDA Intelligent Fulfillment and JDA Retail.Me are the new posters for such capabilities and other capabilities will likely come forward in the coming months.

Thus far in our hallway and networking discussions, it appears that customers are optimistic about their efforts in managing various supply chain challenges and in their current partnerships with JDA.

Bob Ferrari

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