JDA, PeopleSoft Team Up to Help Retailers

PeopleSoft afraid of Oracle and JDA afraid of SAP, this was one of several defensive moves.

In an attempt to fend off retail moves from SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc. and JDA Software Group Inc. have announced an alliance that they say better serves retailers.

Under the deal, the companies will integrate PeopleSofts Enterprise Financial Management with JDAs Portfolio Merchandise Management. The move follows PeopleSofts alliance with IBM, announced earlier this week.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about the financial challenges one retailer faces, click here.

Peter Charness, JDAs senior vice president of marketing and the companys chief product officer, said the alliance makes sense because the two firms each offered essential but non-competing packages for retail IT executives.

The integration of the two packages will deliver more real-time information along with improvements in assortment management, shelf management, planning, replenishment, space allocation, transaction management and inventory management, Charness said.

The combined offering will be more effective in addressing such problems as multichannel issues. When a customer makes a purchase in one store and then returns it to another, or even makes an online purchase and returns it to a brick-and-mortar location, it is critical to have a package that understands the special inventory implications, Charness said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about software that helps retailers handle complicated returns, click here.

Another problem is that some retailers will sell the exact same product for a different price in different cities. "There is tremendous change going on now throughput the retail arena," Charness said. "People didnt used to do pricing by specific [geographic] zones."

Many of those retailers are now placing different ads—with different pricing—in various media all over the country, requiring a lot of people to watch the details. With the combined package, "weve now provided automation that takes [care] of that kind of stuff," he said. "Our inventory management is flexible and has the ability to look at products in multiple ways."

Meanwhile, Bill Hewitt, group vice president for global industry solutions with PeopleSoft, spoke about the real-time potential of the integrated package. Typically, customer returns and supplier returns come into the system at different points, and business managers dont even see them until the end of the reporting cycle, when everything gets reconciled. With the integration, Hewitt said, getting real-time information will be much easier.

In the near future, Hewitt said, PeopleSoft and JDA will be adding additional predictive analytics—to forecast trends—that can issue instant alerts on-screen and via e-mail and PDA. He also promised hyper navigation, which is essentially the ability to type in free text to make queries.

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