Over 300 people attended the recent JD Edwards Partner Summit in Denver – a clear indication that the product line remains alive and well.  Most were from the US with a sprinkling of partners from each of the other regions around the world.  Everyone that I talked to echoed the same story – after a very slow 2009 and first half of 2011 JDE customers have returned to upgrading, enhancing and otherwise investing in improvements. 

There was little in the way of concrete news in terms of major new initiatives but I don’t think that anyone there really expected any.  The essential message coming out of the JDE management team was that the product line continues to be vibrant and successful.  In a nice touch, the hallways were lined with posters describing JDE success stories from the past year.  I didn’t count but there were nearly a hundred of them ranging from dramatic head-to-head wins against SAP to some nice stories about the value of upgrades. 

An update on Fusion Applications was interesting enough that I will offer a separate posting on it soon.  Not surprisingly, the date for general availability continues to recede while the description of what it will be (and why we should care) continues to become increasingly clear.  To me the most important aspect of the presentation was what was not said – absolutely no effort was made to convince JDE partners to encourage our customers to switch to Fusion. 

The sales pitch for Fusion Applications could not have been more low-key.  To vastly over-simplify, Oracle seems to me to be saying “We have this cool new generation of apps in beta that will slowly emerge in the next few years but do not worry.  They will not have a meaningful impact on current JDE customers for quite some time to come.”  For the small number of people that are susceptible to the argument by competitors that JDE is dead and soon to be replaced, this represented one more assurance that there is little to worry about. 

Oracle’s well documented habit of spending as little as possible on marketing continued to be evident at this event.  The arrangements and venue were fine (a campus of nice buildings near Denver that Oracle inherited from Sun).  I felt that it was tacky that partners were asked to sponsor various activities such as meals, breaks, etc.  If partners are as valuable as Oracle says they are then why not open the wallet wide enough to put on a nice event for us once per year.  I may sound like a cranky old man waving my cane in the air about this, but grumbling about it feels good. 

Overall, the Partner Summit was an outstanding opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the people that that are keeping the JDE ecosystem strong.  I welcome others that were there to add additional thoughts and observations.