Fusion


With Oracle’s OpenWorld 2008 conference behind us, it’s time to share our insights from this annual mother of all software meetings. Because of the sheer size and scope of OpenWorld, it is best to start any analysis of it from the proverbial 40,000-foot level, then drill down on the more interesting features. With that in mind, this article offers four of our high-level takeaways from the show. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Takeaway #1 — Oracle’s roadmap for JD Edwards applications remains clear and promising. During the conference, Oracle took great pains to demonstrate its commitment to enhancing and evolving both EnterpriseOne and World for years to come. It announced EnterpriseOne 9.0 and EnterpriseOne Tools 8.98. It also unveiled an integration between World A9.1 and Demantra Demand Planning as well as the first User Productivity Kits for World.

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Late last week, many of us from Andrews Consulting Group came stumbling back to our offices under heavy loads of information from the COLLABORATE user conference. Now that I’ve sorted through my pile of data, I’m ready to share insights from the annual IT gala.

Let’s begin with an event that is a natural starting point for any COLLABORATE review. That is the keynote speech by Lenley Hensarling (Group VP and General Manager for JD Edwards) and John Schiff (VP and General Manager for JD Edwards World) that sets the stage for the rest of the JD Edwards presentations at the conference.

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In 2006, Andrews Consulting Group released a white paper entitled The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications that you can download from our white papers section. This year, we are revisiting the subject of how Oracle is transforming our applications with a new series of articles. We welcome your comments and questions as the series evolves.

As I explained in the previous article in this series, Oracle wants to make it easy for users of its Applications Unlimited (AU) products — including JD Edwards — to invoke “best of breed” functions from other Oracle applications. Oracle is repackaging these functions as composite business processes that other applications can access via service-oriented architectures (SOAs). The technologies that make all of this possible are contained in Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture (AIA).

Over the next one to two years, Oracle plans to implement AIA fully within almost all of its applications. This could make it possible for the then-current JD Edwards releases to invoke functions from other AU applications, Fusion Applications, and software that Oracle has acquired from Agile, Demantra, G-Log, and other vendors.

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I have half a dozen news items sitting on my desk that are too small for an article, but too interesting to ignore. That happens a lot around here at the JD Edwards Advisor. So here’s what I’m going to do. Every once in awhile, I’ll group the best items into a single column. In keeping with my promise, here are this month’s tips, traps, and tangents.

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When IBM announced i5/OS V6R1 late last month, it also unveiled a complete repackaging of its application development tools for the System i. That could have a significant impact on JD Edwards sites, as many World and EnterpriseOne shops use System i development tools. To learn more about the repackaging, check out IBM’s new web site on the subject. Then, read an analysis of the repackaging from Joe Pluta, a System i development tools expert.

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In 2006, Andrews Consulting Group released a white paper entitled The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications that you can download from our white papers section. This year, we are revisiting the subject of how Oracle is transforming our applications with a new series of articles. We welcome your comments and questions as the series evolves.

As I explained in our first article in this series, Oracle has set an ambitious goal for itself. That goal is to make it easy for all of its Applications Unlimited (AU) offerings—including JD Edwards—to invoke functions from the rest of Oracle’s vast application portfolio. This would make each AU product significantly more complete than it is today.

If Oracle realizes its vision, it could make life dramatically different for JD Edwards customers. A company might, for instance, integrate functions from Oracle’s Agile, Demantra, G-Log, and Siebel products under the covers of EnterpriseOne or World. Indeed, it might even integrate some of the latest Fusion Applications in the same way. In some cases, these integrations would require the deployment of selected components of the integrated applications. In other cases, the customer would invoke the functions from an Oracle-hosted site. Either way, the resulting integrations would be virtually seamless, with data flowing almost effortlessly between the new functions and the underlying JD Edwards applications.

How could Oracle make it so easy for JD Edwards and other AU customers to close the functionality gaps in their existing applications? The answer lies in two strategic initiatives that the software giant has been pursuing for more than two years. The first initiative is to repackage much of the “best of breed” functionality in its applications as composite business processes. These processes will integrate with AU applications and each other via a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The second initiative is to create an “integration platform” that governs how composite business processes are created and defines how they interoperate with AU applications over SOAs.

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Last week, IBM took several steps to make its WebSphere products more appealing to JD Edwards users. Big Blue’s latest moves could partly be a response to the competitive heat it has been catching from Oracle Fusion Middleware in companies that count both vendors as strategic suppliers.

On December 4, IBM announced a new release of its WebSphere Adapter for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne that runs natively on the System i. As many of you “blue stack” aficionados know, WebSphere Adapters enable applications running on WebSphere Application Server to integrate with software from other vendors. For years, IBM has offered an EnterpriseOne adapter that runs in AIX, Linux, and Windows environments. Now, the V6.1 release of the adapter supports i5/OS as well. In addition, the new release supports the JD Edwards Dynamic Java Connector API with Business Functions, among other capabilities.

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Over the last year, Oracle has been quietly stepping up efforts to promote its Fusion Middleware to its application customers. From our company’s viewpoint, those efforts are starting to bear fruit. For instance, we have seen a growing number of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers asking about Oracle’s “Red Stack” (an industry phrase that distinguishes Fusion Middleware from IBM’s “Blue Stack” of WebSphere middleware). We have also seen several EnterpriseOne sites deploy their first Fusion Middleware products.

Now that the the Red Stack is popping up at JD Edwards shops, I want to make you aware of two things. First, Oracle is going to use its upcoming OpenWorld conference to honor application customers that are deploying Fusion Middleware. To do that, the vendor will present the Oracle Innovation Award to selected companies that are integrating their Oracle applications with the Red Stack. If you are one of those companies (or know one of them), you can nominate your company for the award at a web site that Oracle has set up for the purpose. If your nomination is accepted, you will receive one free pass to OpenWorld and be honored at an awards banquet. You may also be featured in a cover story in Oracle’s Profit Magazine.

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Ever since Oracle announced its Applications Unlimited strategy last year, it has made it clear that it plans to enhance JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World for years to come. However, the vendor has been less clear about the specific enhancements it will make to the applications and the timelines for those enhancements. That appears to be changing, as Oracle executives are becoming increasingly open with us about their product road map through the rest of this decade. What they are saying leads us to conclude that EnterpriseOne will continue to be a viable solution well beyond 2010. That should reassure current users who are concerned about the impact that Oracle’s Fusion Applications will have on their software.

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Ho hum…Earlier this month, Oracle spent another $3.3 billion buying a major software vendor. This time it was Hyperion, the leading provider of software for financial consolidation, budgeting, and planning. Those of us who thought Oracle’ acquisition appetite might be satisfied for now were wrong again. A pattern seems to have formed – Oracle makes a major acquisition each winter and fills in with smaller ones in the warmer seasons.

While the Hyperion deal is obviously a big deal for Oracle, the near term relevance to JD Edwards customers appears to be limited. As another clue to the puzzle that is Oracle’s applications and business intelligence (BI) strategy, however, this plot twist is worth examining.

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Andrews Consulting Group has just published a new study of Oracle’s strategy for EnterpriseOne and World. The paper, “The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications”, is based on months of discussions that Andrews Consulting Group held with Oracle executives. It is now available for download from this site.

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Nowadays, most JD Edwards users know something about Oracle’s Applications Unlimited (AU) strategy that it announced in April 2006. However, I’ve been surprised — indeed, shocked — at how most people fail to recognize one of the most important implications of the strategy.

To understand what I’m talking about, allow me to provide a little background information. Under AU, Oracle will support and enhance its JD Edwards, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, and Siebel product lines indefinitely. The vendor will develop new releases of these products and continue to certify them on the latest releases of third-party products that support them. For instance, Oracle will continue to certify EnterpriseOne and World on new releases of IBM’s DB2 database and WebSphere middleware.

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