We live in a world where we constantly hear words like digital transformation, digital dexterity, artificial and machine learning, and countless other technologies. What do all of these things have in common? The answer is they are all results of CHANGE. Change is inevitable and trying to slow it or stop it, is like trying to hold back the tide from breaking on the shore. With change, however, brings uncertainty. Oracle released 9.2 in October 2015, and almost seven years later it is this uncertainty that is the reason why 23% of the Oracle JD Edwards install base has not yet upgraded to 9.2 (ORACLE INFOCUS-Envision in April ’21).
It’s easy to see how uncertainty can evoke fear and even paralyze companies into indecision. Let’s be honest, not knowing the impact on your business, and not being able to accurately identify the full extent of your modified footprint of your environment is enough to scare anyone.
So how do organizations that are running Oracle JD Edwards upgrade to 9.2 and embrace change with certainty? The answer is through successful planning and a commitment to perhaps do things differently and more efficiently.
The most important consideration of planning your upgrade is addressing the retrofitting of the objects in your current environment. It is very important to consider how the technical retrofit work will be performed and delivered. The success of any upgrade project can be seriously jeopardized if the technical retrofitting is not done properly, with zero defects according to an agreed plan.
To that end, I’ll share two recent experiences where I worked on two client upgrade projects. The results of these upgrades differed drastically due to how the retrofitting was handled. In one situation, the client elected to perform the retrofitting themselves. After all, they knew their environment better than any external partner, what could go wrong? Well, although they employed talented IT professionals, they were not experts in retrofitting JD Edwards code. Secondly, much to their surprise, they did not have a full understanding of their modified environment. This was primarily due to the developers who modified the code and other key personnel no longer being employed in the organization. The result is that some sixteen months later, they are well behind in their upgrade timeline owing to errors and issues with the retrofitting not being done properly. The second situation was the exact opposite. This client has a large and very experienced technical team with a very good understanding of their environment. Though they possessed the internal resources and talent, they made the decision to outsource the retrofitting so that they could concentrate on the implementation and integration of the overall wider upgrade project. The result was an upgrade project that was delivered on-time and on budget. Moving forward, they are committed to continuous innovation by running annual code-current updates.
The reality is that upgrading to 9.2 represents the last major upgrade for Oracle JD Edwards customers. Oracle has adopted a more agile strategy of continuous delivery that will enable their customers to more willingly and easily adopt new functionality. This new functionality will help businesses become more agile and use new technologies to grow their business and become more customer-centric. There are however a few prerequisites you will want to consider in order to ensure a successful upgrade:
- Approach your upgrade realistically. Upgrading to 9.2 can be a technical exercise which enables you to take advantage of the latest Oracle functionality as well as mitigate against risk. It does not have to be a complete business transformation. Technical upgrades are relatively easy, while business transformations are much more complex and time-consuming.
- Plan both the technical and business impacts of your 9.2 upgrade. On the technical side-consider engaging an experienced and proven Systems Integrator to help you manage and perform the upgrade. By working with a quality SI or partner – your upgrade will be as clean as possible, thus leading to a clean slate going forward – making the code-current process as lean as possible. On the business side – engage each area of the business in your upgrade. Ask for their ideas and feedback. Understand what’s important for them and ensure they understand why upgrading to 9.2 will help the entire organization. “The value of an ERP is heavily dependent on the business/users’ perceived value of their existing solution. Perceived value increases with the adoption of new capabilities and innovation.” (Keith Sholes-Oracle JD Edwards Product Management April 21, 2021)
- Consider using experts to do the retrofitting. It is possible to do fixed-price, fixed-timeline, near zero-defect upgrade retrofit projects. Work with a partner that has the ability to determine if code has just been rolled over from upgrade to upgrade without due care and attention.
- Decommission as many modifications as you can during your upgrade. A reduced modified footprint means less time and resources spent on the technical retrofit elements of your upgrade. Having the right modified footprint for your business at 9.2 will also make future code-current change event projects less time-consuming and less costly.
- Inquire on the vendor’s proven track record of delivering fault-free, on-time, and on-budget retrofit projects.
Please contact us if you would like to learn how we can help you prepare for a successful upgrade to 9.2 on time and on budget. We look forward to speaking with you.