Earlier this week, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based JDA, a provider of AI-driven supply chain management services, announced that its company name has been changed to Blue Yonder.
The company said that the name change is part of a re-branding initiative in an effort to better align its name with its cloud transformation and product roadmap and also to embrace endless innovation in the future, as well as continuous improvement and a focus on outstanding customer experience, too. What’s more, Blue Yonder’s rebrand includes a “Fulfill Your Potential” tagline that it said reflects the company’s mission to empower every organization and person on the plant to fulfill their potential.
“After great contemplation and research, we have come to the conclusion that our company brand needs to reflect the major transformation that our business has undergone in recent times. We have outgrown the name and it is time for us to rename the company,” said Girish Rishi, chief executive officer, Blue Yonder, n a statement. “Today is a momentous, historical day for us, as our 5,000+ global associates celebrate the success of a company that came to be 35 years ago and as we position ourselves for the journey beyond. As we start a new era with a brand name that represents the realities of today and the aspirations for the future, we are ensuring that our investments and execution embody the essential elements that bring huge value for our 3,300 customers and our partners globally.”
Aside from its re-branding push, another driver for the name change stems from JDA’s acquisition of Blue Yonder, an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) supply chain and retail solutions services provider, in August 2018.
The company explained that changing its name and brand from JDA to Blue Yonder “further supports the massive impact of AI and ML technology across the supply chain, logistics, and retail markets,” adding that “Blue Yonder’s leading AI/ML technology powers the Company’s Luminate end-to-end digital fulfillment platform.” This platform, it said is multifaceted in that it:
delivers the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable response to demand signals;
integrates and synchronizes forecast, warehouse and transportation execution labor and delivery across multiple channels – reducing latency driven by disjointed systems; and
delivers real-time visibility and orchestration, helping companies better predict, plan, manage and optimize the inventory and labor required to deliver the right product, at the right price, at the right time, to the consumers’ channel of choice
This name change and rebranding effort in 2020 follows a very strong 2019 for JDA, which saw the company experience a 51% increase in SaaS bookings, an 82% increase in SaaS revenue and an 83% increase in SaaS annual recurring revenue annually, with strong cloud adoption by customers as more than 600 customers are now using JDA Cloud.
In an interview Blue Yonder CMO Kevin Iaquinto provided additional analysis about this news.
LM: What drove this change and how long had it been in the works?
Iaquinto: When we bought Blue Yonder 18 months ago, we liked their company name, in addition, obviously, to everything they brought with their AI/ML capacity. And, at the time, we had a discussion regarding if it could make for a better name moving forward, but, at that point, we were in the midst of our SaaS transformation journey, with the name Blue Yonder being evocative of moving yonder in cloud and open skies and being aspirational in new frontiers and endless innovation. We were enamored with the name, but it just wasn’t the time at that stage with the acquisition process and the transformation we were making as a company. But, as we matured in our journey in the past year, six-to-nine months ago we began to investigate and look at our brand and hired a Lippincott, leading brand consultant, to help us evaluate JDA brand equities and Blue Yonder brand equities as well…and looked at the plus and minuses of both.
LM: What did you learn from that?
Iaquinto: At the end of the day, what we had determined was that we had outgrown the JDA company name and, perhaps, Blue Yonder as a company name could make more sense for the company and enable us to tell a story around our name. JDA was named after James David Armstrong, whom founded the company 35 years ago. His reaction to the name change was fantastic, he said Blue Yonder reflects where we are now, adding that when he founded the company he thought he would be the only employee and here we are 5,300 employees later.
LM: What are the next steps, going forward, for Blue Yonder, as a company?
Iaquinto: Part of the reason is brand is strategy and strategy is brand. This brand change represents kind of where we are going, which is really all-in on cloud first. We now see ourselves as a fully SaaS company, and we are going to continue that from a sales model in 2020 and beyond and also bring in all the AI/ML execution that we can into our cloud offerings. In addition, we have pivoted as a company that over the years was kind of a set of applications that we grew either organically or through a set of acquisitions. And we are now repositioning our Luminate platform as really an additional platform that our partners can leverage and write APIs and create their own value-added solutions leveraging our platform. That has been a big change for us in our go to market approach, in that we are really now not selling products but are selling a platform. We have been talking about enabling our sellers to go out and talk about that common UI/UX, or that common experience, because we want to make using Blue Yonder tools easier for our customers and a more seamless experience across the board. We have also reorganized the company from a delivery standpoint…and took our consulting services, support organization and our cloud organization and pulled it all under one leader, as opposed to scattered organizations.
LM: Why was that?
Iaquinto: Part of reason why we did that was to impact the customer experience. We wanted to provide a seamless experience from a UI/UX standpoint and also wanted a seamless experience from a deploy and run and operate model…and we wanted to have that under one group so that hand-offs and the entire set of deployment and then optimization after deployment, which, for us, was a change, as in an alternate world, you deploy and then walk away, it is kind of “good luck” generally. Now, it is about continued fine-tuning of these planning and execution and other tools, and we wanted to create an ongoing continuous improvement and that is what we are focused on delivering for both a customer experience and our associate experience internally, too. We were recently named a Glassdoor Top 100 Place to Work, which was a real milestone for us.
LM: The name change and rebranding aside, what are the things Blue Yonder is focusing on from a competitive perspective to both retain existing customers and attract new ones?
Iaquinto: We want to be viewed as the standard, or the best-in-class in the supply chain management space. If you talk to industry analysts, they will say ‘look, if you are trying to find a best-in-class solution, then JDA, now Blue Yonder, has those for things like transportation, warehouse management, supply chain planning and is a leader in those spaces and we are in all four Gartner Magic Quadrants for supply chain and are the company that can say that outside of SAP. There are several new market entrants out there, but they don’t have the expertise and lack the breadth or depth of the solutions we have. There are lots of companies that maybe offer one thing for a planning tool or a transportation tool or a warehouse management tool. But, in terms of one-stop shopping, and being a company that can grow with our customers and add more parts to the platform as customers determine they need those, that is where we differentiate…in the end-to-end capabilities and being able to operate from planning to execution to the delivery of retail solutions and even workforce solutions that many people don’t realize we have. We offer labor solutions for both retailers and the warehouse. When we get a chance to tell the whole story and people understand the totality of what we offer, it is compelling.
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