I was able to travel to Denver in early February to attend my first Oracle JD Edwards Partner Summit. This week-long conference is available exclusively to the Oracle Partner Network. It provided an excellent opportunity to learn how we can align with Oracle’s strategic direction and position ourselves among the partner community.

At the conference, I had the privilege of sitting down for a Q&A session with Oracle’s Vice President of JD Edwards Business Development, John Schiff. Mr. Schiff was gracious enough to discuss his thoughts on a number of topics ranging from early upgrade adoption, new technology in JD Edwards (Mobility, IoT, Cloud), and “crystal ball” predictions of what we can expect in the technology space over the next decade.

Over the next three weeks, we’ll be releasing the 3-part transcript of my conversation with John. For this week’s excerpt, we’ll focus on John’s background, comments on the EnterpriseOne 9.2 and World A9.4 releases, along with John’s advice to companies currently using the JD Edwards product:

Oracle JD Edwards Partner Summit 2016 Photo of John Schiff

Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: I thought it would be helpful to provide our readers some context regarding your background in JD Edwards. So to start off, what can you tell our readers about how you got started in JDE?
John Schiff John Schiff: I’ve been working with the JD Edwards product set with JD Edwards, then PeopleSoft, and now Oracle for the past 28 years; really a lifetime with JD Edwards. I joined JD Edwards when I moved out of South Africa. I left IBM in South Africa and immigrated to the United States for a job. I started as the CIO for JD Edwards, and I’ve done just about every job in the JD Edwards marketplace. I’ve done consulting, marketing, evangelizing, ROI studies, performance tuning, you name it. Today, I lead a group of people doing business development serving our partner community, which is a very strong and thriving part of our ecosystem, looking after the needs of our customers.
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: Getting into the technology portion of our conversation, what can you tell me about the adoption rates for the new EnterpriseOne 9.2?
John Schiff John Schiff: EnterpriseOne 9.2 was released in October of 2015, and we’ve received updates from customer support that is going out the door as we speak. We are seeing project scopes moving from 9.1 over to 9.2. We are starting to see the global availability of upgrade workshops being very well-attended. We are really at the beginning of the life of EnterpriseOne 9.2. We’ve got customers live on it. The quality is good, and we’ve seen more and more people interested in moving to 9.2.
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: How does that compare to early adoption with the latest release of World A9.4?
John Schiff John Schiff: There is clearly a much smaller population of customers on World. We announced the EnterpriseOne product in 1996, so people have had lots of opportunity to move off of the World product if that’s what they want to do. We see quite a solid movement towards EnterpriseOne from our World population, so there’s a good adoption trend there. The movement from World to EnterpriseOne is increasing in fact. A9.4 is in, and running with customers. It’s a fairly simple upgrade if you are on the 9s and want to get to 9.4
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: When we conducted our annual JD Edwards Survey back in September, EnterpriseOne 9.2 was soon to be announced. 38% of our respondents said they had a plan and a likelihood to upgrade to EnterpriseOne 9.2 over the next 12-24 months. We felt like that was an extremely positive indication for 9.2 that early on.
John Schiff John Schiff: That’s a very positive sign. And you know with that comes some new technology so there are a lot of motivators to upgrade to 9.2.
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: Have you seen the simplified upgrade really act as a catalyst to encourage people to upgrade? That’s a newer feature with this upgrade cycle…
John Schiff John Schiff: We had one implementation actually use it to change their deployment target. They were due to go live on EnterpriseOne 9.1 when 9.2 was released with the new simplified upgrade process. They decided to apply the simplified upgrade to their test environment, and it took them 2 weeks to change from a targeted 9.1 deployment over to a 9.2 deployment. So, the proof is in the pudding. It’s working, and its doing what it’s supposed to do…which is to simplify the whole upgrade process and speed it up.
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: Do you think the simplified upgrade process will be a common fixture with new releases moving forward?
John Schiff John Schiff: You know we would like to get to the point where “code current” is more the mantra rather than “Gee, I need to plan a really large upgrade.”
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: Which JD Edwards product have customers missed the boat on? What’s the best kept secret that companies aren’t using?
John Schiff John Schiff: One View reporting. With the watch lists that come along with it…it’s just so important. One View Reporting is probably our best-selling product, but one that isn’t used by customers that haven’t done the upgrade. I believe we could do another significant amount of business in that. It’s a great success for the new customers.
Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: If you could deliver just one message to companies that are using your World or EnterpriseOne products, what would that message be?
John Schiff John Schiff: For World customers, I would strongly look at our EnterpriseOne architecture. There is enough commonality now between World and EnterpriseOne, that there are just so many advantages within EnterpriseOne for you to consider. However, if you are happy with your World system, and it’s solving your business problems, Oracle will continue to support and extend that product. But, you have to realize that it’s not leading edge technology. Don’t ask Oracle to change the user interface, or give you integration into IoT or Mobility. We’ve already got that, and it’s EnterpriseOne.

For our EnterpriseOne customers, I would say “Keep Current.” Get on the latest version. Use some of our new products. Continue to engage with Oracle, and take a look at what we’ve done. Our product is functionally rich, and there are more options available now than when you implemented initially.

Aaron Chappell Aaron Chappell: One last question… Any spoilers that I can share for Collaborate16?
John Schiff John Schiff: There are some surprises there. And I’d like for you to include that. It’s going to be an interesting Collaborate…

Our 2nd part of our conversation with John Schiff addresses his thoughts on Mobile and the Internet of Things.

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