August 1, 2018

JDA partners with Microsoft for cloud services platform

Cloud-based applications support automated forecasts and decisions in "autonomous supply chain" products, JDA says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Supply chain technology firm JDA Software Group Inc. said today it has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to supply the cloud infrastructure for some of JDA's digital initiatives in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cognitive computing products for the retail, manufacturing, and logistics sectors.

Under the terms of the partnership, JDA will build software applications it calls "cognitive SaaS solutions" on Microsoft's Azure cloud, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based JDA said. The products are modules in JDA's "Luminate" family of software products, launched in May with the goal of using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to improve users' ability to predict consumer demand and deliver faster fulfillment.

JDA supports other modules in that suite on different cloud platforms, such as the Luminate Assortment and Luminate StoreOptimizer products that are delivered through Google Inc.'s Google Cloud Platform, JDA said in an email.

Regardless of which partner provides the cloud infrastructure, offering software products to its customers on a cloud-based platform will further JDA's view of an "autonomous supply chain" that can generate automated forecasts and decisions, the company said. In Azure's case, those include access to Microsoft's global alliances network, compliance portfolio, embedded security, service level agreements, and tech support, JDA said in an email.

The Microsoft deal also dovetails with JDA's acquisition in July of the German artificial intelligence provider Blue Yonder GmbH, which offers machine learning (ML) solutions for retail and supply chain companies, JDA said.

Running its software products on the Microsoft Azure cloud will fuel those goals by allowing JDA to gather consumer demand signals, cognitive insights, and edge sensor data, JDA CEO Girish Rishi said in a statement.

The partnership has the potential to impact the logistics software market by making it easier for companies to adopt the cloud-based applications necessary to launch "digital supply chain transformation" projects, Victoria Brown, research manager for the Global Supply Chain Strategy and Execution group at Framingham, Mass.-based consultancy IDC, said in a statement. "Cloud-based supply chain deployments account for only about 40 percent of deployments today, and this new, trusted partnership could send that on an upward trajectory quite quickly," Brown said.

Cloud platforms have become a prerequisite for enterprise software deployments, Brown noted. Other recent examples of logistics software vendors investing in cloud-based deployments include the German business software giant SAP SE, which announced in June that its enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite was now available to a wider market, thanks to its deployment on all of the top three commercial cloud infrastructure providers— Inc., Google, and Microsoft.

Likewise, rival tech giant Oracle Corp. in June unveiled a series of improvements to its cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) software that it said could help e-commerce providers reduce their logistics costs, fine-tune inventory levels, and improve customer service.

Initiatives like these have pushed cloud-based computing to a rapid increase in popularity for logistics applications such as warehouse management system (WMS) and transportation management system (TMS) software as rising acceptance of the service-based model overcomes concerns about latency and security in supply chain applications.

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