Supply chain management applications technology provider JDA Software announced this week that the company will now be named Blue Yonder effective immediately. The name change is described as part of a re-branding initiative to better align the company’s name with its Cloud transformation and product roadmap.

To provide added perspective to this move, consider that JDA acquired Germany based artificial intelligence and retail applications technology provider Blue Yonder in August of 2018. No financial terms were disclosed at the time of that acquisition, and Blue Younder was destined to be an operating division of JDASupply Chain Matters This Week in Supply Chain Technology

This specific technology was targeted to fill gaps in actionable, autonomous intelligence, cognitive planning, replenishment optimization and advanced forecasting  capabilities targeted for retail supply chain and customer fulfillment process capability needs. The move was perceived as shoring up JDA’s capabilities in both AI and retail industry customer fulfillment support.

JDA CEO Garish Rishi indicates on this week announcement that this new branding reflects a major transformation of the company’s business model.

Over the next two months, the company will transition to the new signage culminating with a new corporate website expected in March. A brand and product marketing and advertising campaign will launch in Q2 and for the remainder of 2020.

In a letter to the company’s partners and customers, Garish indicates that the supply chain technology market has changed dramatically in recent years, and further provides an admission of outgrowing the prior JDA Software brand. The new goal is expressed in-part as:

…highlighting the new fresh modern company, we are and the expansive potential and promise we bring to the market. Most importantly, you should experience a further rejuvenated 5,300 associates innovating and seeking to exceed customer expectations.

 

Our Initial Take on This Announcement

Total rebranding of a  technology company is not an unusual event, especially in the light of corporate takeovers, major equity investment events or recovery from a financial crisis. In other words, a tech company corporate re-brand has to be anchored in clear and understandable context and strategic direction.

In 2017, after a $575 million re-capitalization of JDA led by private equity firm Blackstone Group in August of 2016, and after an unsuccessful attempt by Honeywell to acquire this technology provider, Garish Rishi was appointed the company’s new CEO. There was no corporate rebranding.

That stated, a total corporate rebranding can be an expensive and risky undertaking without a succinct strategy and clear customer communications plan.  Customers can often be confused and unsettled as to the why and to the implications.

In the context of the now former JDA Software, there are the many prior acquisitions including the former i2 Technologies, Manugistics, RedPrairie  and others, and a technology and industry-specific go-to-market strategy that has been confusing at times.

The strategy has vacillated back and forth among manufacturing or retail industry supply chain planning and response management applications support or indeed a totally Cloud SaaS based technology provider. Of late, the market target appears more to be retail industry and channel partner concentrations. Recent announcements have been concentrated on notable retail brands such as Marks and Spencer, True Value, Walmart and Wayfair, among others.

Augmented artificial intelligence and machine learning technology applied to various retail or manufacturing customer demand or supply response business process needs is not a new phenomenon in the ongoing supply chain management tech landscape. Supply Chain Matters has highlighted many AI/ML related augmentations among multiple direct JDA competitors, without the need of a corporate rebrand.

The bottom line is that a cool new name has to have succinct meaning for existing and prospective customers, and we are not initially convinced that Blue Younder fills that void.

Customers and prospects are again advised to keep a keen eye on ongoing developments and request continual strategy and technology development updates from the now re-branded Blue Younder.

 

Bob Ferrari

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