by Barry Burke
1998 was an exciting year for me and my fellow shareholders. That year we decided to start our own company. We were, perhaps, a little naïve but determined to be a serious company and make a difference. If you’d told me that we would still be trading 20 years later, having brought three major software products of our own to market, I would have laughed at you.
I have known my fellow shareholders, Dave Harrison and Zayne Julius, for 26 years. They are great guys and care passionately, as I do, for the JD Edwards community. Right from the start, we set out with a vision to be innovative in how we engaged with our customers. Twenty years ago, it was not common practice for developers to be off-site. We heard the familiar refrain of IT Directors wanting to see the whites of the developer’s eyes on-site. At DWS, we developed our own tools and IP to enable developers to work off-site and deliver OneWorld/EnterpriseOne code via software packages. We argued that we could lower costs (no travel, hotel or subsistence expenses) and improve quality.
It was odd that as a UK start-up our first customer was based in Holland. We delivered a large project with our innovative remote remodel and the project was a great success. JD Edwards UK took notice of what we had achieved and awarded DWS a partnership deal, where we went on to work very closely together for several years until the PeopleSoft and Oracle take-overs. Like many in the community, we were concerned about what Oracle would do with the JD Edwards product line. We shouldn’t have been, as Oracle was able to leverage their significant resources to further improve the JD Edwards product line.
Around the same time DWS was developing a reputation as a first-class partner in the JD Edwards community, with several awards from the UKOUG and Oracle alike. It was also at this point that we brought our unique Dimension services portfolio (including DevTech, JDE Upgrade and JDE Code-Current) to market. These software-led services enabled us to reduce customers’ modified footprints by an average of 45% and fix price the retrofit effort so that customers had predictability of costs when running their ERP upgrades. This helped to fuel further growth for DWS and enabled us to reach out to other markets, such as North America and Australasia.
Over the years we have worked with hundreds of customers, representing many industry verticals, in more than 35 countries. We’ve also had staff from 22 different countries speaking a total of 18 different languages. We survived the dot com boom and bust and safely navigated the global financial crisis. We’ve seen the birth of countless IT initiatives, trends and three letter acronyms.
The latest releases of JD Edwards ERP have seen a move to the Digital ERP Platform, driven by the adoption of mobile, IOT, collaboration, orchestrator and cloud tools. We are already seeing robotic process automation and assisted decision-making being built into JDE, in what is otherwise known as ‘Supervised ERP’. The next step is ‘Intelligent ERP’, sometimes referred to as ‘Autonomous ERP’. This is where machine learning, adaptive intelligence and assisted or automated decision making are predicted to become more commonplace within ERP systems.
This level of change can only be delivered via the continuous delivery model, which customers can adopt once they make the move to the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2 release. This model is a game changer for JD Edwards customers as they will need to adopt a code-current strategy if they are to remain agile enough to embrace the latest and greatest that Oracle JD Edwards has to offer.
There are several tools in standard JD Edwards (visit www.learnjde.com) to assist customers on this journey; along with complimentary tools from partners like DWS to help overcome the challenges associated with staying code-current. We have already introduced a range of testing products (Dimension Focus®, Dimension SwifTest® and Dimension LoadTest®) to the market that enable customers to run run smaller, faster and smarter projects.
We see a future with JD Edwards AND Oracle Cloud Applications. The JD Edwards product line is truly 21st century software, offering customers both choice and control. Our customers tell us that they love the strength and depth of the JD Edwards core functionality in combination with the innovative tools available to them in the newer releases. We can also see that the adoption of Oracle Cloud Applications will increase and that a lot of our customers will run both JD Edwards and specialist Oracle Cloud applications, side-by-side for years to come.
DWS has remained true to its core values over 20 years of service to the JD Edwards community. Our reason for being in business is to add value to our customers by delivering practical and reassuringly robust solutions that represent value for money. The one thing I have learnt in business is that to be successful, you must be a good listener. You must listen to your customers, employees and partners and pick out what is most important to them and then act on it.
For any of our customers or partners reading this; I’d like to thank you for your support over the past 20 years. The future is incredibly exciting, and we look forward to continuing to serve you.