Oracle User Group: Getting more out of existing investments is key concern

Nearly half of the sessions at the JD Edwards user group conference in Twickenham this year were on the subject of upgrading, addressing a key concern among the user group community.

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Nearly half of the sessions at the JD Edwards user group conference in Twickenham this year were on the subject of upgrading, addressing a key concern among the user group community.

Ronan Miles, chairman of the UK Oracle User Group, was keen to highlight that the conference agenda was led by the community’s wants and needs, and not by Oracle.

Eighteen out of a total 40 presentations were related to upgrading, which referred to both software updates to new versions, or additional integration with other Oracle products, he said. Other sessions addressed topics on best practice, and business intelligence.

“It’s about cost efficiency, not cost reduction anymore,” Miles said.

Lyle Ekdahl, group vice-president and general manager for JD Edwards, agreed: “One of the major trends at the moment is upgrading – both the World product line and EnterpriseOne line.

“Customers are moving to the latest technologies to optimise their technology and get certain functionalities in vertical markets [specific industries]. We are using Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to put in place some integrations in business processes, and we are also taking and embedding new technologies from Oracle, like Business Intelligence Publisher, and certifying our functionality.”

Ekdahl said that customers increasingly want to get more out of their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

“For example, they want to take the transactional information out and convert it into real-time knowledge. Oracle has a very strong business intelligence offering and JD Edwards’ strategy is to become part of the offering,” he said.

While making cost savings is still a driver for users, Ekdahl said that customers are looking at their ERP as a way to make their cost structures more efficient.

“They’re saying the value and new capabilities are the drivers, from general capabilities, like finance and procurement, to highly industry-specific functions,” he said.

JD Edwards has a variety of industry-specific functions, such as a fulfilment management tool to allow manufacturing industries optimise their supply chain, and an apparel management tool for manufacturers and distributors in the textile industry. It also has a function designed for the construction industry, which helps companies monitor their work on complex contracts.

Meanwhile, Miles said that the user community will be keeping a close eye on developments with Oracle’s Fusion Applications, launched at Oracle OpenWorld in September.

Fusion Applications combine the best attributes of Oracle’s various ERP (enterprise resource planning) product lines into a new suite with built-in BI (business intelligence) and collaboration capabilities. Ekdahl said that Fusion adoption would co-exist with JD Edwards’ products.

“We are looking at continuing to keep track of the evaluation of Fusion and working to understand the best models of adoption,” said Miles.

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