Empowering Manufacturer to Tackle In-House EnterpriseOne Upgrade
When the business applications manager at a mid-size manufacturer found out one of his core employees would be unavailable to help a week before he was scheduled to start their in-house EnterpriseOne upgrade, he knew he was in trouble. Though the manufacturer was planning to bring on Surety for the tools portion of the upgrade, they now required extra help to stay on track.
One week before starting modification mapping, the business applications manager at a mid-size manufacturer found out one of his core employees would be unavailable to help.
Surety provided an experienced CNC Administrator—also a Certified SQL Server DBA—for the tools upgrade as well as two EnterpriseOne developers perfectly tailored to the company’s needs.
With the additional help from Surety Systems, the internal team hit the mark. They went live on the Monday that they had said they would and were able to stay within their budget.
This wasn’t the first time this mid-size manufacturer had handled an in-house EnterpriseOne upgrade, and they felt confident that their latest upgrade would go smoothly. In fact, they’d decided to expedite the process. Previous upgrades had begun in November with go-live scheduled for March after their year-end. This time, they planned to go live in early February to allow completion of a full month-end cycle before year-end to fix any bugs that might pop up. However, the business applications manager found out one of his core employees would be unavailable to help just one week before they had planned to start modification mapping.
In an on-site meeting with Surety Systems in early fall, the manufacturer’s business applications manager discussed their desire to bring in Surety for the tools upgrade portion of their 9.2 upgrade. With other non-JD Edwards projects now consuming the bandwidth of their internal team, the same manager determined he’d need additional help for the modification mapping portion of the project. For this project, Surety Systems provided an experienced CNC Administrator—who was also a Certified SQL Server DBA—for the tools upgrades to 9.2, and two senior EnterpriseOne developers perfectly tailored to the company’s current and future technology stack.
The manager and his team of two had a combined 36 years of JD Edwards experience and had tackled three in-house upgrades in-house, with help from an outside CNC, since the company had implemented the platform 8 years earlier. Together, they’d worked to keep all of their business applications code current, upgrading JD Edwards every 2-3 years, and upgrading the other applications that integrated with the system during the time in between.
Each of those upgrades followed a very similar process. The upgrade would kick off with his team meticulously planning the upgrade to come. The planning process included three parts, which would take place in parallel: ensuring compatibility, creating detailed task lists, and communicating necessary information regarding the upgrade to the rest of the company.
The company made use of several core business applications in addition to JDE—tools for reporting, data collection, forecasting, label creation, and shipping—and the business applications IT team would confirm (and then re-confirm) compatibility between those applications and JDE. Then, once they had confirmed with each third-party vendor that the various systems would still be compatible (or had determined what additional upgrades would need to take place), they drafted their project task lists.
Creating Task Lists
Creating thoroughly detailed task lists is often an undervalued part of the planning process, but it’s a critical piece of successfully tackling an upgrade in-house without going over budget or over your planned-for timeline. Once the business applications team confirmed their plans for their third-party integrations, tasks lists were always their next priority. Task lists keep the team—and the company—on track throughout the entire project.
Involving Other Departments
Other departments that would be affected by the upgrade or that needed to be involved in the process were always included from the beginning. As soon as the business applications team announced the plans to upgrade, they would compile a timeline that included who would be responsible for each component of the process.
Then BA team sat down with all of the department heads to let them know how much time the team would need from that department and when to allow them to allocate that time well in advance. In order to achieve maximum involvement with their business, the customer specifically selected an upgrade timeline that coincides with the business’ “down season.” This allowed for maximum business involvement, attention, and support around the upgrade process.
Upgrade and Testing Timeline
The business applications team took all of this into account when planning their upgrade. They’d usually finish up the technical aspects of the upgrade and then release the test environment in early January. They’d spend four to six weeks working through it and then allow some additional time to handle any necessary fixes. That would usually happen mid-March, and then they’d wait for finance to finish fiscal year-end before going live in April or May.
The customer began the upgrade by moving modifications forward to the new version, with modification mapping to begin the following week. With the additional help from Surety Systems’ JD Edwards consultants, the team hit the mark. They went live on the Monday that they had said they would, and were able to move forward on time and within their budget.
Without help from Surety Systems, the team’s manager says the upgrade would have taken them at least two additional months to complete. If the project had extended beyond year-end, the IT team would have needed to maintain multiple environments for that additional period of time. The upgrade went so smoothly that within a day or so of go-live, the manager was recognized by the company’s CEO and VP of Operations, each of whom stopped by to congratulate them on the successful project. According to the manager, they said: “It was the smoothest upgrade we’ve done in the last seven and a half years.”
The manager says the next time they handle an upgrade he plans to team up with Surety for all of the modification mapping work so his internal team can work in parallel on the project, further shortening the timeline for an upgrade.