About 10 years ago I joined an ERP company called JD Edwards. 5 years ago the company was acquired by Peoplesoft. 4 years ago Oracle acquired Peoplesoft. Now I see a message thread on IT Toolbox about JDE with a comment on how the company has shrunk – “… went from occupying four office buildings to half of one in Denver.”
What I mean by legacy ERP are older ERP applications that were acquired by companies like Oracle and Infor. As a former employee of one of the older, I am interested in the JD Edwards (JDE) solution that Oracle acquired a few years ago.
Responding to a comment I sent him about the Oracle user conference, a contact at a long-time JDE client in South Africa, said:
Like most other companies, the rather messy Oracle world environment led our company to rather look at a SAP migration – its not planned locally for another 5 years, thus we still run JDE – but World version! [ed: the AS/400 green screen version] Needless to say, Ifusion and other developments are really not applicable to us – I do stay in touch with Oracle though, but primarily about Oracle retail – eg Retek. We don’t run it, but all the major SA retailers do, and it’s a good occasion to meet with my peers in retail. The JDE world has shrunk smaller and smaller through the years…
I wonder how many JDE customers are just hanging on until they have budget, time and justification to change? So, is Oracle flushing money away by building its ifusion architecture to try to keep its legacy ERP customers? It seems Oracle would do better to invest in its vertical solutions (like Retek) and stabilise its legacy products so that it can milk those customers for as long as possible without having to spend too much on new development.
Also, if I was a JDE consultant/developer/specialist I would start looking at training and certification on other ERP apps – probably SAP, a Microsoft Dynamics product (but not Axapta), or SYSPRO.
The website TechnologyEvaluation.com has done a brief evaluation of 2 Oracle ERP products – JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (the old OneWorld) and Oracle’s own E-Business Suite (EBS).
Interest for me was in these areas:
- the JDE product out-ranked EBS in the functional aspects but not in product technology, presumably because JDE still has AS/400 aspects whereas EBS is Linux-based.
- the products were described as “two of the most popular enterprise solutions available in the marketplace today”. That must be a US-centric opinion because, as I said before, none of the Oracle ERP range are doing well in South Africa and I am told by a JDE user that JDE sites have dropped or intend to drop the product and move to SAP.
When I was the marketing manager at JD Edwards South Africa in 2001, I got indications from the local market that the company was missing out on a market segment that wanted a decent integrated system but did not have the cash or the IT sophistication to buy and implement such as complex system as JDE’s OneWorld.
I never had the courage or corporate contacts in those days to push my idea, and had completely forgotten about it until recently when I found a mindmap I did on it. With the benefit of six years hindsight I can see now that I was proposing an SMB version when that market segment wasn’t even a glimmer in the minds of ERP executives.
A great thing nowadays about the blogosphere, is that I can publish my ideas. By the way, I named the project ‘Crescendo’ because I thought it was something that could grow and get bigger.
While I was at JD Edwards, we had an internal presentation during the dot-com boom era when a senior VP stated how the company would grow in the next 4 years. In 1998/99, JDE has achieved $1 billion in revenue, and the presentation was how we would reach much higher revenues by 2004.
The reasoning behind that presentation had as much hard logic as the goal for SAP to have 100,000 customers by 2010. Ponderings of Woodrow summarises the growth requirements well; to get to that target will require an extra 64,000 new customers, which translates to 44 new customers per day, or 1 new customer every 33 minutes.
Talk about stretch goals, that’s a crazy target to announce publicly. I’m sure SYSPRO has its ambitious target, but Phil, Meryl & Co. are probably the only ones who know it … and it’s probably based on realistic maths.
I happened to meet someone who was a customer in my JD Edwards days. His company still uses JDE but he told me the customer base in South Africa has dropped dramatically. Apparently, when Oracle took over JDE, a lot of (larger) JDE customers used that as the signal to re-evaluate their ERP system, and most moved to SAP. When he goes to Oracle customer events the JDE brand is now very minor.
I asked whether JDE customers considered moving to Microsoft (thinking AX, ie Axapta) and his response was that Microsoft ERP was considered as a small-medium business (SMB) option. Sounds like the attitude of companies 10 years ago to databases – Microsoft SQL Server was for SMBs, Oracle was for big business.
The number of local companies that provide JDE support has dropped and so has the number of skilled resources. It seems that JDE and its related skills will go the same way as Natural Adabas.
So if SYSPRO can raise its profile in the larger company market, it may be able to provide companies with an alternative to just SAP (and Oracle?).