RPA for JDE. Are we there yet?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for JDE E1 testing. Are we there yet?

I spend a lot of time talking about the testing that companies running JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (JDE E1) do during their projects. I have never come across a company that does not do a lot of testing. It is the nature of ERP software, and ERP projects. ERP systems like JDE are highly sophisticated and complex. They can be parameterized, configured and personalized to meet very exacting requirements. Additionally, ERP systems are transactional and are often the sole system of record within a company. Testing thoroughly and accurately therefore is not only important, it is vital!

When I think about my own experiences of ERP systems, I know that no new update, release or version of software is perfect. Software gets shipped with bugs (sometimes with one or two critical bugs, sometimes with lots of bugs) in spite of all the testing that has been done by the author. This is because no two implementations of an ERP like JDE E1 are ever the same and it is virtually impossible (if not impossible) for the author of the software to test every conceivable implementation.

In this day and age, when thinking about testing an ERP, you pretty quickly get to a point where you would like to somehow automate everything. This is where Robotic Process Automation (RPA) might come into the conversation. But what is everything? And it is in answering this question that Artificial Intelligence (AI) might come into the conversation.

For me RPA and AI are not really the answer when you think about JDE E1 project testing. (At least not now!) Let me explain why:

  • The author writes software.
  • The IT department makes the software their own; configuring, modifying, implementing, etc.
  • The business and end-users (i.e. the folks that our IT departments serve) use and rely on this software.
  • A change event project, whether initiated by the author, IT or the business, impacts end-users within the business, should deliver value to the business.
  • In all of this, priority needs to be given to the business and end-users – it the job of IT to serve, support and an enable the business and to help the business innovate.
  • With the above points as context, testing is really important but it is not the most important thing.
  • Arguably, the most important thing from an IT perspective is the engagement within the business, and the professional and seamless delivery of change that adds real business value.
  • To articulate and deliver a project and value, you need to understand exactly what is changing and how it affects your business.
  • So, an RPA and AI tested solution (which may very well still be buggy) is not really going to achieve this.
  • What you need is a means and tools that help you plan/prepare/execute your testing and that facilitate the professional and seamless delivery of change that adds real business value!

What do you think?

Whether you agree or disagree, what steps are you taking to evolve and innovate? (To evolve as a team looking after JDE E1. To innovate by using the best available tools and technologies. To ensure you are improving and reducing your total cost of ownership.)

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