JDA began their life in Canada, and in the retail software business before relocating to Phoenix, AZ in the 1980’s and are still one of the few software companies based in Arizona.
JDA has a viewpoint that they have the best software in the marketplace, and the rest of their customer base needs to wake up to this fact. For the application categories we analyze, our experience does not match JDA’s self-perception. I2 Technology, Manugistics, and Red Prairie were market leaders (actually i2 Technologies, Manugistics also made up a lot of things along the way), but companies that make it a primary focus to acquiring other software vendors are never in our experience technologies or innovation leaders. JDA is also a software conglomerate, although less so than Oracle as its acquisitions are more within the single area of supply chain management. There is also the traditional concern about reinvestment into the acquired applications. The most common strategy for acquiring companies is to buy customers and invest minimally in improving the acquired software. JDA is continually taking shortcuts and low-quality pathways in order to maintain profit growth. JDA is moving in the direction of having all developing in India, and only sales and customer-facing consulting jobs in the US. That may sound great to Wall Street, but inevitably will cause a schism in the company as the people that “know” the products are not in the same country as where the clients are located.
Quality of Information Provided
JDA is a very sales oriented software vendor and the information they provide is of slightly below average reliability. This is the standard practice with all software vendors that focus on growth through acquisition, quality declines, and they become less desirable and far more political places to work. While far more sustainable in its origin, JDA has moved more to an Oracle sales culture.
Consulting and Support
JDA offers average slightly lower than average consulting and support, but because their solutions are generally not recommended or implemented by the major consulting companies they offer a decent value.
JDA has a great deal of bureaucracy. Secondly, JDA is rapidly becoming primarily an Indian company – with just customer facing roles being domestically staffed. Our problem with predominantly Indian companies is that they are unstable. This has been proven over and over again with the flameout of i2 Technologies (the Enron of enterprise software) and companies like Infosys, Wipro, which have the feel of the disaster response after Katrina. (Although we do rate one Indian software company as very high potential in ERPNext because they are small and we think can buck the trend.). Certainly, a number of software vendors have Indian operations, but what JDA is doing is different in its scale, and one concern is that JDA is doing this to hide revenue weaknesses simply by reducing its costs. Customers a noticing the decline in support and the more complex and frustrating communication that are due to JDA’s job shifting to a low-cost region. Customers also note that the fact that fewer and fewer JDA resources actually live in the domestic country has not reduced the costs of JDA’s software or consulting.
JDA is a serial software acquisition firm with a low level of innovation. They acquire firms and gain the support business, release marketing information declaring how they will grow the solution – use the term synergy repeatedly, and then cut the development of the application. This is not the way to develop or maintain an innovative company.
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