JD Edwards faces claims from OneWorld users

Three US companies that bought early versions of JD Edwards' OneWorld enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have submitted...

Three US companies that bought early versions of JD Edwards' OneWorld enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have submitted arbitration claims against the business applications supplier, adding to the five cases that came to light last year.

The three additional users, who filed for arbitration between November and this month, claimed that the OneWorld suite has been so troublesome and bug-ridden that their installations are in limbo.

The companies all said they have yet to decide whether they will keep the JD Edwards applications or switch to another supplier. 

The new cases are similar to the five that began going to arbitration last spring. One of the earlier filings resulted in Texas-based Doskocil Manufacturing being awarded $2.3m (£1.44m) in damages by an American Arbitration Association panel.

JD Edwards, which contractually requires users to seek arbitration when legal disputes arise, said it has settled one of the earlier cases but would not disclose any details. 

Whatever problems early adopters of OneWorld may have faced, the software is now as stable as any other ERP system on the market, said Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. 

But the fallout from early OneWorld rollouts continues. Sprague Energy said in an arbitration document that it suffered more than $10m (£6.28m) in damages because of problems with OneWorld's stability and the cost and length of its implementation. 

Sprague began installing billing, finance and other OneWorld applications in 2000 and then switched to JD Edwards' web-based OneWorld XE software a year later. But after working on the project for more than two years, Sprague was able to bring OneWorld XE only partially online by the end of last year, the company said in its filing. 

Paul Scoff, vice president of law at Sprague, declined to comment further on the problems the company encountered. But he said the portions of the ERP system that Sprague is using had to be heavily customised to make them work. 

The Flexitallic Group, a maker of industrial gaskets in Houston, spent more than $3.7 m (£2.32m) on a OneWorld project and was "almost brought to its knees because of promises made and not kept" by JD Edwards, said chief executive officer Ray LeSage. 

According to arbitration documents in that case, Flexitallic bought OneWorld in 1998 but found that the suite "could not operate as a fully integrated system." This and other problems prevented the company from rolling out the software across its operations, the filing said. 

Gerald Birin, president of Amherst Technologies, said issues with a OneWorld system that was installed in 1999 were forcing the IT products reseller to maintain a separate system built around IBM's UniVerse database in addition to the JDEdwards software. Amherst Technologies has to manually consolidate its books between the two systems, according to Birin. 

A spokesman for JD Edwards would not comment on the pending cases. But he said the company "stands by the quality of its software and will vigorously defend any claims to the contrary".

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