WebGain has expanded its existing partnership with enterprise software firm J.D. Edwards into a "multimillion"-dollar...
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J.D. Edwards has integrated its recently acquired customer relationship management applications with its core ERP applications through WebGain's TopLink Java and database integration tool. It will be deployed both internally and to the J.D. Edwards customer base as a rebranded component of both the CRM and ERP product lines.
WebGain acquired the TopLink technology, a Java-based object-to-relational mapping tool, from a small Canadian firm called The Object People in April 2000. It's now embedded within WebGain Studio, though it continues to be sold separately to partners and large customers such as Commerce One and BMW.
WebGain originally signed the deal through CRM vendor Youcentric, which was acquired by J.D. Edwards in August of last year. J.D. Edwards bought the company only after its previous alliance with Siebel failed due to the difficulties of integrating Siebel's technology with its ERP systems. The Youcentric technology is Java-based and easier to integrate. TopLink will be used as one of the key integration components.
Under the label c-commerce (for collaborative commerce) J.D. Edwards has expanded its original OneWorld ERP product line into supply chain planning and fulfillment, CRM and knowledge management. It says the mapping and integration abilities of TopLink will help its customers avoid the complex back-end engineering typically required to mold CRM installations onto existing systems, and also help with the integration of CRM and ERP data models.
CRM version 1.1, launched at the end of December, began the integration process using the J.D. Edwards XPI (extended process integration) middleware layer to link it with both OneWorld and the older AS/400-based WorldSoftware product lines. Further integration with its Advanced Order Configurator and Advanced Planning applications are expected this year. TopLink will be implemented alongside XPI.
CompetitionAlthough it's strongest in the midrange, J.D. Edwards also competes against enterprise software giants such as PeopleSoft, SAP and Oracle, which pre-integrate ERP, supply chain and customer relationship components. As a stand-alone CRM supplier, it fights with the likes of Siebel, Onyx and Pivotal. Clearly its existing customer base is its best opportunity, so integration technology is essential. The 25-year-old company claims to have over 6,300 midmarket and large customers in the industrial consumer and services sectors, spanning 113 countries -- although the real core are focused on manufacturing and distribution.
On the integration side, WebGain competes with products such as Thought Inc.'s CocoBase (resold by Sybase), Secant Technologies' Object Integrator and tools from Persistence Software and Rogue Wave, all designed to avoid the tedious task of writing low-level mapping routines. Some are disappearing inside wider product lines. Sun folded its JavaBlend technology into its Forte for Java toolset, just as TopLink is bundled in with WebGain Studio.
J.D. Edwards needs integration tools if it is to take full advantage of its Youcentric acquisition and persuade its user base to follow it beyond core ERP. The integration of TopLink is intended to help it fend off some of the competition from stand-alone CRM vendors and at the same time give it more leverage against the larger suite-oriented ERP firms.
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