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J.D. Edwards woos services organizations

Business software firm J.D. Edwards is courting an untapped pool of business with a new supply chain management offering.

Business software firm J.D. Edwards is courting an untapped pool of business with a new supply chain management offering.

To date, business software firms have focused their products solely on companies involved in manufacturing. Now ERP vendors are revving-up their offerings to meet the supply chain management needs of service-oriented companies, including banking, health care, insurance, entertainment, education, and real estate, among others. Nonmanufacturing firms represent a large untapped new market for software vendors, and about 70 percent of the U.S. gross national product.

Announced today, J.D. Edwards' new offering, called Asset Investment Management and Execution service (AIMx), aims to help service organizations better manage all areas of their businesses.

The AIMx framework includes individual applications that are designed to meet the specific needs of each vertical market.

The framework uses ActivEra, a collection of tools and technologies that allow customers to easily change their applications to respond to demands of their business environment.

"This is a different approach to a very complex issue," said Jim Tudrick, J.D. Edwards' worldwide marketing director for service industries. "Everyone has concentrated on the manufacturing distribution side. No one has concentrated on the more difficult thing: supply chain services."

"There's a lot of opportunity there," said John Fontanella, analyst at AMR Research in Boston. For example, he said, a large bank could use supply chain management software to schedule ATM pickups, track brochure distribution, manage printing projects, and handle paychecks and office supplies sent to branches.

Fontanella said service-oriented companies will likely achieve notable success with supply chain software over the next several years that will help bring these embryonic offerings into the mainstream. AMR expects the overall supply chain management market to grow 50 percent to $4.5 billion in 1999, excluding nonmanufacturing sales.