As 2007 winds down, we thought it would be fun to share our best guesses as to what the new year might bring for the JD Edwards community. Hopefully, some of you will share your own predictions in the comments section.

First, a general observation: Oracle and JD Edwards are both currently riding high. After a long period where new sales were rare and installed customers were under attack, the market for everything out of Denver took a turn upward in 2007. Those currently using JD Edwards are no longer under pressure to justify staying on the platform. Sales to new customers have become a routine event, especially within emerging world markets and in the industries where JD Edwards has always been strong.

Our first prediction is thus a simple and obvious one – the momentum from 2007 will carry over into 2008. Any remaining thoughts that JD Edwards is obsolete, unimportant, or that it will become irrelevant as Fusion Applications emerge will completely disappear as it becomes clear that JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World remain the best choices for thousands of organizations.

Now that we’ve made an easy prediction, let’s move on to the riskier and potentially more fun forecasts for 2008:

  • Oracle will end up owning BEA. Remember how many times Oracle said it was making its final offer for PeopleSoft only to come back weeks later with a new one? If Oracle runs true to form, it is not done yet with BEA. Once Ellison locks his powerful jaws onto the pants leg of a prospect, he does not stop shaking until the prey gives in.
  • Fusion Applications will arrive by the end of 2008, but just barely. As they do, it will become increasingly clear that the new applications will not so much replace as complement Oracle’s current products. It will also become clear that JD Edwards users will be able to integrate many of Fusion’s web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) building blocks into their existing applications.
  • JD Edwards customers will be assaulted from all sides with business intelligence (BI) sales pitches. Oracle has digested Siebel and Hyperion, SAP just bought Business Objects, and IBM is playing catch-up by grabbing Cognos. Each of them have good reasons to covet the wide open JD Edwards market for BI tools, so expect sales people to be coming at you from all directions in 2008.
  • IBM will complete the technological merger of its System i and System p. The result will be a greater than usual improvement in price/performance for the System i. That will be good news for the large number of JD Edwards customers that use these servers.
  • IBM will offer POWER processor-based blade servers that can run i5/OS. The first-generation versions will, as is often the case, be underpowered and limited in capacity. Over time, however, the early limitations will melt away.
  • IBM and Oracle will remain friends but the relationship will cool a few degrees due to conflicts over BI, rival middleware stacks, and IBM’s consulting ties to SAP. While IBM is only putting up a weak resistance to Oracle’s database in its large enterprise accounts, it will put up a fierce fight to keep Oracle Fusion Middleware from taking market share from its WebSphere franchise. The JD Edwards customer set could become a major middleware battleground.
  • The action will be on the “Edge”. A great deal of new functionality will be offered to JD Edwards customers in 2008, but most of it will come in the form of what Oracle calls “Edge Applications”. These are applications that Oracle obtained through its many acquisitions (Agile, G-Log, Demantra, Stellent, etc). Oracle is using its Application Integration Architecture (AIA) to create elegant bridges between these products and its Applications Unlimited portfolio. This will make it increasingly practical to install these applications as virtual additions to JD Edwards implementations.

There you have it…our year in preview! Let us know what you think we left out or where we might be wrong. This article will remain in our archives so that as time passes you can measure how accurate we were.