I was able to travel to Denver in early February to attend my first Oracle JD Edwards Partner Summit, a week-long conference 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, as well as get insight on the future of JD Edwards.
At the conference, I had the privilege of sitting down for a Q&A session with John Schiff, Oracle’s Vice President of JD Edwards Business Development. Mr. Schiff was gracious enough to discuss his thoughts on early upgrade adoption, new technology in JDE, and words of advice for the World and EnterpriseOne Communities.
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: 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: How does that compare to early adoption with the latest release of World A9.4?
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 opportunities 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: We are starting to see an uptick in interest around mobile applications. Are you seeing a similar trend at Oracle?
John Schiff: I think the mobile adoption is a little slower. There are concerns around deployment security. A lot of those concerns are being addressed in Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Services. The partner turnout at the JD Edwards Summit has been fantastic with significant interest in mobile. A lot of our partners are studying the deployment of the Mobile Cloud Services product. So it’s in process, but again it’s a leading-edge technology from a business to end user, rather than a consumer type of adoption.
Aaron Chappell: Just so the folks reading this article are clear, would you mind explaining more about Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Services offering?
John Schiff: Mobile Cloud Service is a group of very strong technologies put together where you can have a development platform for mobile applications, which is what we’ve used for our 84 existing applications. It also allows a catalog for deployment where you can bundle applications. You can track which users are using the system. You have analytics which shows you which transactions are being used. It also provides the middleware to get multiple back-end systems supported. And, the technology is also open to having multiple development tools intermixed so you can choose the right front end tool for the right device. And it addresses security.
Aaron Chappell: Moving over to the hot new topic of the Internet of Things, what are your thoughts on the early adoption rates for the new IoT Orchestrator product?
John Schiff: There are a number of sides to Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is about tying in the metrics and alerts that customers receive, to many different parts in a production environment. One of our customers develops floor tiles with built-in intelligence. So if you’re in a retail operation, you can sense retail hotspots and customer movements. And you can also take that concept into a warehouse environment to analyze picking patterns. New ways to apply IoT are coming out of the woodworks right now. It is a very leading-edge technology, and is still quickly evolving. From my perspective, the IoT movement has done something amazing to the EnterpriseOne product. We have provided a gateway into our application. We now have an integration platform that allows us to talk from other devices and other applications, in a very clean and easy-to-use architectural structure. So the whole IoT and Mobile movement and the digital economy that we are interfacing with is also providing us with a different framework that customers can use to extend our applications. That leads you into a new paradigm where it’s not just the developers sitting back in Oracle’s development organization who can add value to our product. It’s now available to our partner community. It’s available to our customers, our contractors out there. It’s a new economy of developing applications and extending applications to do things in a very structured way that allows the customer to keep using EnterpriseOne even when there’s a new upgrade coming out. So there’s protection of that extension. And that’s a game-changer for us.
Aaron Chappell: We hear a lot about how Cloud is the “wave of the future,” and many of our customers are trying to determine just how that should apply to their business. In your opinion, what’s the best way for an organization to incorporate a Hybrid Cloud model? What does that look like to you?
John Schiff: You know, the answer to that question varies so much…and I don’t think there’s one definitive answer. “Cloud” means so many different things to different people. If there is some adoption that you need of a technology that is running in the Cloud, integrating that technology becomes much simpler than it used to be. There is still an integration step that you have to go through, and each customer has to evaluate what that cost means to them… But we are seeing many people starting to ask “Why should I keep investing in the hardware and the networking skills?” We are seeing lots of different companies looking to different clouds, both private and public as their solution. So…while Cloud isn’t a new technology by any stretch, it’s becoming more affordable, and more practical. Companies need to go into it with their eyes wide open and ask, “Which of these technologies are going to be an enabler for me to drive my business better? Do I save money with it? Do I save resources with it? Can I redeploy resources to concentrate on other more important things that have become more of a business enabler, rather than just another overhead cost that I have to drive?”
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: 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.
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