J.D. Edwards buys YOUcentric, will support customers

Enterprise software maker J.D. Edwards has agreed to buy CRM software company YOUcentric.

Denver-based J.D. Edwards has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Charlotte, N.C.-based YOUcentric Inc. Executives from both companies said that YOUcentric users have no need to worry, as J.D. Edwards plans to fully support its newly acquired software.

J.D. Edwards will continue to enhance the Java-based YOUcentric suite, which includes modules for sales force automation, campaign management, contact center management and partner relationship management (PRM), according to Don DeLoach, president and CEO of YOUcentric.

YOUcentric products are "alive and well. We will continue to invest in them," said Dave Siebert, group vice president at J.D. Edwards. YOUcentric's CRM software will still be available as a stand-alone purchase. J.D Edwards will also integrate its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management products with the YOUcentric software. By offering ongoing development for YOUcentric software, J.D. Edwards plans to continue pursuing the markets that YOUcentric entered, such as financial services, he said.

J.D. Edwards currently is working to bring the YOUcentric software and its own applications together. It will first integrate the software from the business process standpoint, to bring orders from the sales force automation software into the J.D. Edwards order processing software, Siebert said. The company also plans to deliver analytics and a common user interface by the end of the year.

Another short-term goal for the YOUcentric software is to integrate all the software into the J.D. Edwards core advanced planning and ERP systems, he said.

According to Boston-based AMR Research Inc., this is a strong strategic move for J.D. Edwards. The company has gained much-needed CRM expertise and YOUcentric's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) technology.

The acquisition also represents a large growth opportunity in the mid-market for J.D. Edwards to bring out a fully supply-chain CRM package. Only 3% of its 6,000 customers have a CRM package installed, which could translate to a great deal of sales for J.D. Edwards, AMR said.

With the acquisition, J.D. Edwards is terminating its relationship with Siebel, but will continue to support its 50 Siebel users. AMR predicted that these users would be nudged over to YOUcentric eventually.

The talks between YOUcentric and J.D. Edwards began in February 2001, when the companies were interested in a strategic partnership. Current market conditions escalated the deal to a YOUcentric acquisition, DeLoach said.

"We were constantly hitting the wall in selling, because companies are hesitant in a market like this to engage in a strategic relationship with a small, privately held company," he said. The acquisition eliminated the risk profile for companies considering YOUcentric.

Additionally, J.D. Edwards can now offer a full suite of software, allowing the company to play on the same field as PeopleSoft, SAP, Oracle and market leader Siebel, DeLoach said.

Users will be offered J.D. Edwards' 24-hour support, worldwide, for the YOUcentric suite. Current users do not need to upgrade their software.

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