Conexus Aims for JDE

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-01-26 Print this article Print

Customers"> Conexus Partners is one such third-party support company. Conexus launched on Tuesday with a value proposition designed to soothe the fears of JDE customers who dont know what their future with Oracle holds. The third-party maintenance company opened up shop in Denver, former home base of JDE, manned with the executive team who ran JDE support globally. It offers indefinite support of JDE products, as well as for other enterprise application software and platforms, at a fraction of the price of maintenance and support from Oracle.
Colin Balmforth—executive vice president of operations and the former JDE executive responsible for international support services—was under a noncompete clause after leaving PeopleSoft in October 2003. He spent a year providing management consulting and services to non-JDE customers, but he said he kept getting calls from JDE customers who were disillusioned with PeopleSofts investment in JDE products.
When Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, it was the last straw. Balmforth set up shop with another JDE executive after their noncompete clauses expired last year, and now theyre looking to offer alternatives in the ERP space. "After our noncompetes expired last year, we worked with a consortium of companies to develop a proposition: to bring them into a safe harbor and provide lower TCO and maintenance solution, and to provide them a choice of software ERP vendors in the future," he said. Balmforth said its not necessary to tamper with intellectual property rights in order to service a JDE customer. "Any of us would honor any IP rights," he said. But Ellisons threat is real, analysts say. Part of TomorrowNows business model, which the company promised before being acquired by SAP and which they continue to promise now, is to include upgrades for bug fixes and regulatory enhancements. In order to provide such services, theyll need access to source code—and thats where it gets "a little tricky," according to Joshua Greenbaum, a principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, in Berkeley, Calif. "You can do that, and certainly SAP has that capability, but as soon as youre messing around with source code, things get a little funny," he said. "Before the acquisition, the TomorrowNow guys said that, technically, because theyre working as independent contractors and lack a formal relationship with PeopleSoft or JDE, they said they can go in and make these fixes on behalf of the customer, who has the right to do these modifications. They said their lawyers checked it out and its in the license agreement and its above-board. "These kinds of enhancements have been done historically a long, long time," Greenbaum said. "But Ellison was right in saying you have to do that very, very carefully so you dont infringe on intellectual property rights. The moment you do, youre in the sights of the army of lawyers that Oracle is able to deploy." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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