Denver-based J.D. Edwards announced today in New York a new tool for its software, called ActivEra, that lets users easily customize applications after they have been implemented, and on an ongoing basis.
"They are trying to go up against what is perceived as one of SAP's biggest weaknesses, which is the lack of flexibility in the software in the post implementation/deployment phase," said Steve Bonadio, analyst at the Hurwitz Group in Framingham, Massachusetts.
"Once this software is deployed it sets in like concrete. J.D. Edwards is trying to change that by letting users put it in with limited customization, then providing them the mechanism to change and adapt the application to fit their businesses, not just once but ongoing," Bonadio said.
J.D. Edwards is calling the tool a discreet application utility. It is designed to let either business users or technical staff quickly reconfigure the software system that automates almost all internal business processes to handle changes or additions in a business.
For example, if a company adds a new warehouse, a business user can go into the tool and add the processes needed for warehouse management to the existing system and a technical user can use it to make sure the warehouse software is hooked to the larger system.
J.D. Edwards next year is to roll out a console that will make this an even easier task because the console can be configured to handle only a specific user's job. That will allow a company controller to go into the console and access only those business processes and pieces of the software system that affect the controller position.
The new tool should also help speed up user implementation cycles because those companies in a hurry to add the software can throw it in with standard settings and then customize it later, something that J.D. Edwards's competitors can't offer with their quick implementation programs.