At JDA’s user conference last year CEO Hamish Brewer outlined a long-term transformational strategy that included an increasing number of JDA solutions moving to the cloud. While JDA will still offer on-premise solutions, everything we do as a company—how we develop, market, sell, deploy and support our products—will be focused on a cloud-based model.
JDA’s cloud strategy was not arrived at hastily. It was two years in the making and involved consultations with analysts, our board, our executive team and most importantly, our customers. Based on customer feedback, and a deep understanding of where the industry is headed, we outlined a customer-centric cloud approach strongly influenced by one key characteristic: flexibility.
Customers Rely on Cloud Flexibility
The major factor in our customer’s drive to the cloud is the pace and breadth of modern business demands and the need to be flexible in responding to those demands. Businesses are looking for rapid deployment and the ability to achieve results quickly. The changes that today’s business managers face are daunting; business and markets expand and contract, there are disruptive innovations and accelerated product cycles that all require a high degree of responsiveness and flexibility.
Another influencing factor is the desire for a solid and sustainable return on investment. Satisfaction has to extend beyond 18 months. A solution investment’s value needs to extend to 36 months, 48 months and beyond. But with so many cloud solutions focusing only on the technology aspects of cloud, or only on the cost savings of outsourcing infrastructure, the true value is lost in the hype. JDA has a distinctly different approach by focusing on the true value of cloud services – the ability to increase our customer’s capabilities, so they can deal with the volatility of today’s markets and business changes.
Evaluating Flexibility in the Cloud
There are some things to watch out for when evaluating cloud services: what kind of options and flexibility does your cloud services provider offer you? Our research and observations indicate that while some popular subscription- based businesses are gaining rapid adoption, they are also losing customers on the back end. This decay seems to point to issues in product flexibility. I believe it is because these companies offer only one model for their customers – a subscription-based, pay-as-you go model; they refuse to sell perpetual licenses through a cloud-based model. When has “one size fits all” ever been a viable business option? Businesses are as diverse as the products they sell and the markets they serve and cloud service providers need to give their customers more than a single model.
I believe that the future business environment will require the flexibility and choice of a subscription model or perpetual model with cloud. Customers don’t want to be forced into one model or the other; they want to choose based on their specific needs.
As you assess cloud solutions and services, make sure you know what your flexibility needs are and look for solutions that deliver the capability to drive your business success. A great place to learn more about JDA’s cloud strategy, and talk to customers who have already moved their business to the cloud, is at FOCUS 2013 May 5-8 in Orlando, Fla.