I heard a few things during the JD Edwards keynote at the UK Oracle User Group Conference (UKOUG- JDE16) last week that I have been contemplating:

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (JDE E1) Release 9.2 has been available for just over one year and 90%+ of companies using JDE E1 are on a release that begins with a “9”. That is a pretty impressive number and is a testament to Oracle’s commitment to JDE E1, and more importantly to the value that companies using JDE continue to get from their investment.

I also learned that 9.2 will be the last major release from Oracle. Oracle is NOT going to stop investing in JDE E1, it is simply changing the way that enhancements, extensions, and corrections are going to be made available to customers. There will be a 9.x instead of a 9.3.

  • In terms of Oracle Support, and support coverage into the future, this change means that customers will somehow need to be given credit for the electronic software updates (ESUs) that they apply. The ESU (I presume) will remain the vehicle through which Oracle makes changes to software available to customers.
  • For a customer this change means that Oracle is taking a big and important step in support of any customer committed to JDE E1. They are leading customers down a path that will require them to more critically, and perhaps more frequently, evaluate ESU’s. This process of more regularly evaluating and then applying ESU’s will encourage and help customers to get, and remain, code current.

For some time now Oracle JD Edwards and some its partners have been beating the drum and telling customers that they will get more from their investment in JDE if they remain code-current. As a customer, if you keep your code current and have the latest and greatest from Oracle JD Edwards, you will be best placed to react and respond to changes that take place around you and your business. Last week, delegates at the conference heard about all sorts of new and cool things (e.g. the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile applications, etc.) but a lot of those cannot be delivered or fully exploited by a customer unless that customer is code-current or close to code current.

The question I asked myself and have been thinking about is, “If there is never going to be a new major release, how are the businesses that rely on JDE E1 going to have to change?” Businesses will need to accept and take responsibility for getting code-current and then staying code-current. As someone who has worked in the package and enterprise software space for 30+ years it is clear to me that, in spite of what the very clever authors of software keep telling us, almost all companies will make some modifications to the ERP-package software they acquire and implement to run their core business processes. Because of this, to get code-current requires a deep and forensic code-level analysis of the software a company is running, comparing it to the latest software available from the package software provider. It is only with this understanding that companies can reduce the number of modified programs that they run.

The challenge that every company committed to JDE E1 will have to overcome is one whereby the big capital release upgrade project that happens once every three to five years (or more) is replaced by a different more responsive cadence of much smaller projects. This is what code-current and constant current is really all about.

For a company to undertake more, smaller, projects they need to thoroughly understand the impact of each and every project. A project may impact the modified software that is being run by a company. If there is a customer software impact, technical development work will probably be required. A project may also impact one or more business processes. If business processes are impacted, those processes will need to be reviewed, documentation updated, and training will be required. No matter what, testing will be required because companies need to be sure that their businesses are not going to be adversely impacted by going live with a project.

Testing becomes really important as companies contemplate more, smaller, projects. Application testing (functional testing) is never easy. It needs to be considered, thorough, organized and well documented. It takes a lot of time to do it well. And if you have to test often, because of the repetitive nature of a lot of testing, it is difficult to maintain a high-standard during execution.

This means that companies committed to JDE E1 need to think about their strategy and approach to code-current and constant current.

If you are looking to stay code-current we have tools to do code-level analysis, help companies thoroughly understand what each and every ESU or custom modification might mean, and testing products to help customers reduce the burden of testing. Contact us to see what we can do for you.

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