More than 15 years after it was “replaced” by OneWorld (now know as EnterpriseOne) the World version of JD Edwards is finally fading away.  The customer base has fallen to under 1,000 organizations worldwide and the rate of replacement is accelerating.  The surprise is not that this is happening but that it took this long to occur. 

A hard core of rabid loyalists remains.  Emotionally they find the slow demise of a product they have bonded with disheartening.  Much of the loyalty is tied to the server environment they still refer to as AS/400.  It is equally hard for loyalists to accept that IBM long ago abandoned them as well.  All that is left of the once mighty AS/400 franchise is that its operating system is one of three options available with IBM Power servers.  Sadly, very little is being spent by IBM enhancing that operating system or its RPG development environment. 

Not surprisingly, a high percentage of those replacing World choose EnterpriseOne.  The next most common scenario is to standardize on an ERP platform used by other groups within a large enterprise.  SAP and Oracle eBusiness Suite are common alternatives when this happens. 

Occasionally, Oracle’s own applications sales force will convince a World customer to move to eBusiness Suite.  Some times this is because Oracle has chosen to have its ERP platforms specialize by industry and eBS is a better fit.  More often it is because Oracle’s application sales force is more familiar with eBS.  Before being pressured into choosing eBS it is appropriate to make sure that the case for EnterpriseOne has been fairly presented. 

Oracle no longer maintains a separate group in Denver overseeing the World community.  One organization looks after the needs of the entire JDE customer base.  John Schiff, the last executive responsible for World, still keeps an eye on the special needs of this community but it is only one of his responsibilities. 

There is no plot afoot within Oracle to drive customers off World.  Oracle will happily collect maintenance payments from World customers for many years to come.  Don’t, however, expect Oracle to spend more on product improvements than it collects in maintenance fees.  Future World enhancements will thus be constrained by whatever a slowly shrinking development team can accomplish. 

There is no reason for those who are getting exactly what they need out of World to rush to replace it.  At the same time, World is technologically obsolete and will never catch up.  Realists will accept that at the point where major improvements are needed replacement will almost certainly be the right choice. 

Three or more years from now Oracle Fusion may become the preferred option for World replacement.  In the meantime, EnterpriseOne remains the obvious choice.  It is my company’s experience that moving from World to E1 can be less expensive and difficult than many customers imagine. 

The greatest impediment to replacing World is often custom enhancements.  Retiring them can be painful and expensive, but maintaining them and living without improvements that otherwise would be available is usually a worse choice.  The longer replacement is postponed the deeper the hole can get, especially if additional customizations are made as time passes.  Those stuck in this downward cycle need to find a way out. 

If you are struggling with a decision as to when or whether to replace World let us know.  We can point you to many resources that might make the decision easier than you imagine.