lenley-hensarling-with-caption.jpgLate last month, significant changes took place within the EnterpriseOne development team that works at the JD Edwards campus in Denver and other locations overseas. That is because Oracle asked Lenley Hensarling, Vice President for both EnterpriseOne and World, to form a new team that will develop “cross platform” products and technologies. These offerings will support JD Edwards and all other Applications Unlimited (AU) products as well as Oracle’s upcoming Fusion Applications. By basing the new cross-platform team in Denver, Oracle has given its EnterpriseOne developers a vote of confidence and an opportunity to meet the emerging needs of all of its AU customers. The vendor has also given its customers a sign that it will gradually make its far-flung AU development teams work in a coordinated fashion on a common body of enhancements.

According to sources close to Oracle, the new team will work on technology products that span and enhance the AU product lines — E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel. Initially, the team will work on enhancements to Oracle WebCenter, a suite of web services that delivers a unified, Web 2.0-like interface to both enterprise and portal-based applications. In the near future, the team will work on additional cross-platform products such as Secure Enterprise Search, Database Vault, and Enterprise Manager.

The Bigger Development Picture

The creation of the new team (which Denver is calling the “cross Applications Unlimited” or XAU group) is part of a broader effort within Oracle to enhance all AU products in a more coordinated fashion. As we discussed in our white paper, The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications, Oracle plans to incorporate many of the technologies it is developing for Fusion Applications into its AU products. This includes Web 2.0 technologies, composite application design, and support for service-oriented architectures. To help bring such technologies to its AU offerings, Oracle created a new management organization to oversee all AU products back in April that is headed up by Edward Abbo. Now that all of the AU teams report to Abbo, many developers of individual AU products may eventually be asked to work on projects that benefit the entire AU portfolio. The Denver-based XAU team is a good example of how such projects could get staffed and supported.

At present, the XAU team has only a handful of JD Edwards employees. Over the next several quarters, however, Hensarling anticipates that the group should expand significantly. Many of the new team’s members could be drawn from developers who currently work on EnterpriseOne tools and applications in Denver. According to our sources, however, this will not reduce the headcount dedicated to working on EnterpriseOne. Instead, Oracle will ask its EnterpriseOne team in Bangalore, India to dedicate additional resources to work on the JD Edwards product. For several years, JD Edwards has balanced “support development” work for EnterpriseOne between Denver and other offshore centers, including Bangalore. Last year, Bangalore also took on some “new development” tasks as well, including the creation of the Plant Manager’s Dashboard. Oracle now feels that this team is ready to play a wider role in the development of new EnterpriseOne features and functions.

Congratulations…You Have More Work!

On the whole, Oracle’s new assignment for the EnterpriseOne team is a positive development for JD Edwards users. It gives the team a chance to develop new tools and technologies that will benefit EnterpriseOne users. It provides another sign that Oracle considers EnterpriseOne to be a strategic offering in its broader application portfolio. It also demonstrates that the company values the EnterpriseOne team’s capabilities and considers it a rising star in the Oracle firmament. To underline this fact, Oracle has promoted Hensarling from Vice President to Group Vice President and General Manager of JD Edwards. These developments can only serve to improve the standing of JD Edwards within Oracle at large.

Though these are all positive changes for the EnterpriseOne team, even positive changes can have unexpected side effects. In the case of EnterpriseOne, such side effects may surface as new development projects are rebalanced between Denver and India. While Oracle is confident that the expanded team in Bangalore will execute well, it remains to be seen how smoothly the handoffs between developers will take place. Given the track record of the Bangalore team, however, we are not expecting any significant problems.

Meanwhile, we are anticipating that the Denver team will assume an increasingly important role within Oracle. As the team takes on new cross-platform development efforts, it will likely have numerous opportunities to ensure that EnterpriseOne benefits from those efforts. That, in turn, should make it easier for EnterpriseOne customers to take advantage of Oracle’s broader Applications Unlimited strategy.