Today, JDA Software Group announced an immediate change in its senior leadership.
The current board chairmen of the company, Baljit (Bal) Dail has assumed the interim CEO role, effective immediately. He replaces Hamish Brewer, a 20 year veteran who is leaving JDA immediately. JDA indicates in its communication that Dail will lead the search for a permanent successor.
Dail is one of three other JDA board members representing private equity firm New Mountain Capital, an influential investor in the company. On the briefing call that was just completed, Dail indicated that the CEO change was primarily about significantly accelerating implementation of a JDA strategic direction outlined in late 2013 by the company’s senior management and the board. It includes building stronger external strategic relationships, coming together to better serve existing customers and driving certain key initiatives that were outlined at the recently completed JDA FOCUS customer conference. One wonders aloud about the timing of this announcement, which has come after its customer conference.
There have been a number of industry rumors that the prior JDA acquisition of supply chain execution provider RedPrairie was not going smoothly. That acquisition was declared to be complete in late 2012 with numerous announcements of integration since, but obviously, challenges remain. Dail acknowledged in the briefing that there is often some bumps in integrating an acquisition. He noted that there will be a new emphasis to bring the right skills and knowledge to deliver a successful RedPrairie integration.
As interim CEO Dail communicated, JDA is a $1 billion software company with enormous potential, offering 300 patents including software solutions developed by the likes of the former E3, i2 Technologies, Manugistics, RedPrairie and other innovative supply chain planning providers that date back numerous years. Yet, from this author’s lens, the company has never really acknowledged that the majority of its installed base customers originate from manufacturing and continuous process-centric vs. retail-centric environments. Instead, it continues to thrust itself solely into the direction of retail enablement, ignoring the opportunity to integrate the entire end-to-end supply chain.
In late 2012, JDA declared the company to be a cloud software provider, but the substance of that declaration remains a work in progress. In that same year, there were reports that the company was going to be sold. The entire sales force was recently re-aligned because of lack of a single account structure for servicing key customer needs. There have been rumors that revenue targets were aggressive.
Amazingly, JDA was the closest of many supply chain technology providers to be able to enable a full integration of end-to-end supply chain planning and execution, but time has been squandered.
This author’s initial reaction to this announcement was non-surprise. It was just a matter of time.
This supply chain technology provider will benefit from new leadership and hopefully, a new attitude. The arrogance and marketing persona of being the top dog in the pound needs to be replaced by one of vision and substance that can speak for itself and for customer capabilities and vendor satisfaction.
The market will have to wait and see.