Last week, we offered four of our top takeaways from Oracle’s OpenWorld 2008 user conference. This week, we’re back to offer more, and with a special emphasis on JD Edwards applications to boot. So join with me as we share not only what we learned from the sessions we attended, but also what we picked up from private talks with the JD Edwards team. To maintain continuity with our previous article and its four takeaways, we’ll start with…

Takeaway #5 — The EnterpriseOne and World development teams are adopting a more collaborative approach to how they enhance the two product suites. At OpenWorld sessions and casual meetings, managers and developers from both teams stated that they are working more closely with each other to roll out the same technologies on both products. In most cases, these projects involve the World team taking technologies from the EnterpriseOne team and adapting them to World’s unique architecture. A good example of such collaboration is the recently announced integration between World A9.1 and Demantra Demand Planning. This offering appeared first for EnterpriseOne 8.11 SP1 and 8.12, then was reworked for the World A9.1 environment.

In our opinion, this increased collaboration could have significant benefits for both products, but especially for World. One way that World will benefit in a few short months is by gaining a JDBC driver that will enable Oracle BI Publisher to connect directly to World databases. This capability is already present in the recently announced EnterpriseOne Tools 8.98. Once it surfaces in World, it will make report generation via BI Publisher significantly more flexible and powerful. Further out, we expect that World could also inherit a native connection to Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition that is under development for EnterpriseOne.

Takeaway #6 — Oracle is reviving its initiative to encourage selected World customers to migrate to EnterpriseOne. At the same time that World is gaining advanced technologies from EnterpriseOne, Oracle is trying to get more World customers to consider migrating to EnterpriseOne. That may seem odd given the vendor’s increased investments in World. During OpenWorld, however, both EnterpriseOne and World managers put fresh emphasis on the idea that a World-to-EnterpriseOne migration could make sense for some companies. This could particularly be the case for firms in industries where EnterpriseOne offers unique functionality (such as agriculture) or organizations who are moving from IBM’s AS/400-System i to more heterogeneous environments.

While Oracle may seem at odds with itself on this score, we think that the software giant is just hedging its bets. By opening the door wider for EnterpriseOne migrations, the company is giving itself a better chance to retain World customers who might otherwise jump to another vendor due to unexpected changes in business requirements or migrations away from the System i. At the same time, Oracle’s broadened World investments give it a better chance of protecting the remaining user base and attracting new customers in selected industries and regions.

Takeaway #7 — After three years of playing a distant “second fiddle” to E-Business Suite, EnterpriseOne gaining traction with Oracle’s field force. It took a while, but Oracle’s sales teams are finally gaining a genuine appreciation for EnterpriseOne. As a result, we are seeing growing numbers of situations where Oracle field reps lead with EnterpriseOne in engagements with new customers. We also saw more even-handed treatment of EnterpriseOne at OpenWorld.

As we see it, several forces are driving this shift in thinking within the field force. One of them is the ability of EnterpriseOne to address the needs of several rapidly growing industries. These include the asset-intensive and engineering/construction sectors, which are benefitting from global booms in spending on infrastructure and raw materials. Because EnterpriseOne is moving over these “sweet spots” in the market, it has gained value in the eyes of many sales reps.

Another factor behind EnterpriseOne’s heightened profile is the rapid growth in the number of Accelerate packages that run on the application suite. These offerings give Oracle’s field force a new reason to call on mid-size companies within their regions and lead with the product. In addition, the simple passage of time has given sales reps that had “imprinted” on E-Business Suite the chance to learn more about EnterpriseOne and discover its strengths.

While EnterpriseOne may never stand as tall in the minds of the field force as E-Business Suite, it has certainly grown in stature over the last year. That is good news for thousands of EnterpriseOne customers, as it validates the long-term viability of the application suite.

That wraps up our personal top takeaways from OpenWorld 2008. However, there’s no reason for us to all stop here. We invite you to add your own OpenWorld takeaways to this article by entering them into the reply box below. The floor is yours…talk among yourselves!

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