JDE Releases Portal, Self-Service Apps

YouCentric technology aids move into CRM.

J.D. Edwards & Co. last week began shipping two new applications, OneWorld Customer Self-Service and Supplier Self-Service, that are the fruits of the companys purchase last year of CRM software maker YouCentric Inc.

The new Web-based self-service applications enable customers and suppliers to help themselves to specific information stored in JDEs OneWorld e-business applications.

With the new Customer Self-Service application, a companys customers can modify forecasts, review sales orders and invoices, track shipments, manage user profiles, review account balances and payment history, and obtain customer alerts. The Supplier Self-Service application allows partners along the supply chain to access such data as account information, purchase orders, release schedules, responses and supplier performance analyses.

Customers and suppliers, for their part, need not have OneWorld applications installed in-house; they can access information through a Web interface. Likewise, companies do not need any specific IT tools to install the self-service applications, according to JDE officials.

Denver-based JDE also last week released an upgrade to its OneWorld Portal that enables users to access JDE applications—including the two new self-service offerings—as well as other applications and content from a laptop computer or Pocket PC via a Web browser.

When JDE purchased CRM (customer relationship management) software maker YouCentric last fall, it acquired the YouRelate suite of applications for sales force automation, contact centers, customer service and marketing campaign management. JDE has been working to integrate YouCentric functionality with its existing CRM system, which includes customer self-service, inbound call management and sales order configuration, among other capabilities.

Former YouCentric customer Frank Ammerman said he believes JDE CRM development could be very important in his market—insurance.

"The financial sector is a huge opportunity," said Ammerman, vice president of business systems at Ibsi LLC, in Lancaster, Pa.

"Its not selling widgets, and its not point-to-point sales. Its not a huge, long sales process that involves a sales manager and a sales rep and a lot of time working the account. In a lot of cases, its just sales. And in each case, [it] takes a lot of interaction. So this deal is ripe for some sort of really flexible, powerful technology to serve up the way this works," he said.