Midmarket companies find JD Edwards upgrades a good fit

At some point, your JD Edwards shop will have to decide whether to switch to a different product, upgrade or stay where you are. Learn what two other organizations did when working through JD Edwards upgrades.

As older versions of JD Edwards mature, many organizations are faced with the decision of whether to perform a JD Edwards upgrade, move to E-Business Suite or stay where they are. The question of which approach to take plagues many companies.

For Don Munroe, IT director at Cenovus Energy in Calgary, Alberta, upgrading to the newest version of JD Edwards has been rewarding. The company previously had JD Edwards just for human resources, finance and asset management but has become strictly a JD Edwards shop. For finance and HR, it’s primarily a technical upgrade. Munroe notes that the best value has been reflected through the implementation of JD Edwards in the supply chain.

“Most of our pain points have been self-inflicted,” he stated, referring to the high level of customization at Cenovus. 

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The company knew that some of the customized features would have issues with the upgrades, but which ones those would be came as a huge surprise, Munroe said.

For example, as they began experimenting with the upgrade, everyone assumed there would be trouble with customized data migration scripts moving from 11-year-old XE to version 9. But the scripts worked well.

Midmarket success with JD Edwards upgrades
Many JD Edwards shops are afraid to upgrade because of an organizational aversion to change -- some feel as though their end users will be disinclined to relearn a new version of a program. The E-Business Suite seems to have found its niche with larger enterprises, but it isn’t always the right fit for smaller companies that don’t need an entire line of enterprise services. JD Edwards is still a popular choice for midmarket-sized organizations, with the option more recently of supplementing implementations with Fusion Applications.

The benefits of JD Edwards upgrades include the opportunity for process improvement and a better user interface, and, as with most Oracle applications, avoiding potential loss of support. But many organizations choose not to upgrade, going unsupported or hiring a third-party support provider instead.

Other organizations see upgrading JD Edwards as an opportunity to start fresh and renegotiate their relationship with Oracle.

Scott Keener, a divisional IT leader for W. L. Gore & Associates Inc., in Newark, Del., said that a significant challenge with his organization’s current upgrade is the level of ongoing updates to JD Edwards’ code, as they can be difficult to manage in his company’s validated environment. But according to Keener, Oracle has been responsive to requests for help.

Keener said Gore & Associates is happy about Oracle support infrastructure, include turnaround times, but it wasn’t entirely without work on the company’s part. “We recognize that you tend to get out what you put in," he said.  

Cenovus’ Munroe also said Oracle Support has been helpful. He cited a test environment situation as an example: The company’s HR department found that some custom screens it had created internally needed reworking under 9.1 tools.

“There were buttons missing, the screen was wide and looked funny; it just didn’t function,” he recalled.

According to Munroe, Oracle Support helped solved the problems fairly quickly and he feels confident about how the upgrade will function once it goes live.

Keener’s and Munroe’s experiences run counter to Oracle Support’s reputation for being difficult to work with and slow to respond.

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