Oracle


On Monday, SAP informed the IT world that it will “wind down” the operations of TomorrowNow, its subsidiary that provides third-party support for Oracle applications. The announcement ends a bold experiment on SAP’s part that blew up in its face. Unfortunately, the fallout from the explosion will put over 200 TomorrowNow customers — including many JD Edwards users — through the pain of having to find new support providers.

According to SAP sources, the software vendor plans to shutter TomorrowNow before October 31 of this year. Undoubtedly, the actual shutdown date will be partly determined by how long it takes the subsidiary’s 225 customers to return to Oracle support or choose another maintenance vendor. SAP spokespeople say that they are already assisting customers in transitioning to new providers. While Oracle will undoubtedly get the bulk of the accounts, it is likely that third-party support providers such as Rimini Street will also win significant numbers. Indeed, Rimini Street has posted a “Welcome TomorrowNow Customers” page on its web site that advertises its 50 percent savings off Oracle support prices.

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When Oracle boosted list prices for its database and middleware products last month, it was not clear whether it had also changed prices for its applications. This week, however, Oracle sources told us that the company did update prices for its applications, including many EnterpriseOne and World offerings. That update increased prices for many products by approximately 15 percent in the United States and the United Kingdom. In all fairness to Oracle, prices in some regions remained unchanged or even decreased.

To understand what Oracle has done, one first must realize that the company offers three licensing models for its applications. Component licenses are for small “a la carte” purchases of one to several products. Custom Application Suite (CAS) licenses are used for purchases of software bundles that are priced by the bundle user (otherwise known as a CAS user). Enterprise licenses are used for purchases by larger companies that have many internal and external users.

With that brief licensing lesson in mind, let’s look at Oracle’s pricing action. According to Oracle, the price increases apply to Component and CAS prices for all EnterpriseOne and World products. From the information we have received so far, Component prices for U.S. and U.K. customers rose by 15 percent for all JD Edwards products. CAS prices for these countries also rose across the board, though we are still trying to determine by how much.

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While the summer doldrums may be upon us, there has been no reduction in the flow of JD Edwards news coming across my desk. In this article, I’ll discuss important changes on the middleware and tools fronts, promising developments for JD Edwards World, and a way that almost any company can get a fat check from Oracle.

Next Stop…WebLogic?

Last week, I posted a review of Oracle’s plans to integrate BEA products into its Fusion Middleware portfolio. As the review stated, Oracle’s middleware roadmap raises many questions about the role that BEA products will play in the Oracle Technology Foundation for EnterpriseOne. While we are still working to get definitive answers to those questions, sources inside Oracle have confirmed that there are no plans to force EnterpriseOne customers to use BEA WebLogic Server. If you are running Oracle Application Server or IBM WebSphere Application Server, you will continue to receive support.

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While the JD Edwards Advisor strives to provide comprehensive news and analysis to our readers, we also like to have a good laugh. That’s why we post the occasional picture or video that gives us a chuckle, even if it pokes fun at our own foibles or (heaven forbid!) at Oracle itself.

The following video from a group inside SAP definitely fits in the latter category. Its sheer campiness, not to mention the fact that it comes from a firm with a reputation for seriousness, makes it particularly funny. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Do you have any videos or pictures that are worthy of being hung in our Software Hall of Humor? If you want to nominate something, send me an email with a link to (or attachment of) your candidate. If we post your submission, we’ll be sure to give you credit for it.

Two days ago, Oracle hosted a webcast in which it announced how it will integrate BEA and its products into Fusion Middleware. While the webcast answered many questions about where Oracle plans to take BEA products over the next several years, it raised fresh questions about the implications of Oracle’s strategy for JD Edwards users.

To get a sense of what those questions might be, let’s dive into the announcement itself to analyze Oracle’s product roadmap. During the webcast, Oracle Senior VP Thomas Kurian explained that the vendor has divided BEA’s products into three groups.

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Last week, Oracle quietly posted an updated price list for its database and middleware products on its corporate web site. As a comparison of the updated list with last year’s list reveals, most prices rose by between 15 and 20 percent. While Oracle did reduce prices on a handful of products, the widespread price increases could motivate some JD Edwards customers to rethink their software procurement plans.

The price increases apply to nearly all database and middleware categories in Oracle’s growing product portfolio. That includes the vendor’s flagship Database Enterprise Edition, which now costs $47,500 for a processor license versus $40,000 two weeks ago. That’s almost a 19 percent increase. Oracle also boosted prices on most of its business intelligence products. For instance, Oracle BI Server Enterprise Edition now costs $51,800 per processor, a 15 percent increase.

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Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the IT world has lately been under a little more deadline pressure than usual. Then again, many of us are facing two deadlines right now that may explain my sense of urgency.

What are the deadlines of which I speak? You’ve probably heard of the first one already. Due to an edict from Microsoft, major computer vendors will no longer sell Windows XP on their PCs starting on June 30. This means your company has 11 days to stock up on any PCs that come preloaded with the operating system. After June 30, the only way you can get Windows XP from the majors (such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo) is by purchasing a system that is preloaded with Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. These Vista versions include the right to “downgrade” (quotes are mine and yes…they mean what they intend) to XP. If you have any responsibility for your company’s PC purchases, take note and act accordingly.

Here’s the second deadline…and this one is more pressing and probably more important for many of you. If you want to participate in beta tests for EnterpriseOne Tools 8.98, you must submit an application to Nancy Van Inwegen by this Friday. The upcoming Tools release will feature enhancements in areas such as batch process management, security, and the overall usability of the web interface. To learn more, check out the EnterpriseOne Tools 8.98 Beta Testing Program Information document. Don’t miss the opportunity!

Several times over the last year, I have mentioned that IBM and Oracle jointly maintain an International Competency Center. The Center is an ideal place to get advice on how to install, configure, and optimize EnterpriseOne and World on IBM’s hardware and software.

I am pleased to announce that the Center has agreed to let us post some of its white papers on the JD Edwards Advisor. If you click over to our White Papers from Other Companies page, you will see that we’ve already posted three of them. Over the coming months, look for the number of papers from the Center to expand. If Big Blue has a presence in your JD Edwards implementation, watch this space.

In a company the size of Oracle, there are almost always a dozen things happening that could affect JD Edwards users in some way. Here’s a rundown on the “happenings” that have caught my eye lately. I have also thrown in a handful of resources that many of you will find helpful.

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Now that Oracle owns BEA, users of the acquired vendor’s products are itching to know what Oracle intends to do with their software. If you are one of those users, you will want to attend an upcoming webcast where Oracle will unveil its strategy. The webcast, which takes place on July 1, will feature presentations from Oracle President Charles Phillips and Thomas Kurian, Senior VP for Server Technologies Development. To register for the event, click over to the signup page on Oracle’s web site.

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Since I dedicated my last article to what Oracle is doing for JD Edwards World, let’s switch gears this week to discuss what EnterpriseOne customers are getting from the software giant. May was a fairly fruitful month for this community, as Oracle announced two significant enhancements. Here are the details on both announcements.

A New Financial Management and Compliance Console

After months of previews, Oracle has delivered the Financial Management and Compliance Console for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. The application aggregates financial information from operational tables and delivers it to the console via a star schema data structure. The aggregated information includes 47 pre-defined metrics covering areas such as cash flow, liquidity ratios, actual vs. plan, profitability ratios, and accounts payable/receivable.

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Over the last several months, Oracle has provided significant evidence that it will continue to enhance JD Edwards World well after it rolls out the first release of its Fusion Applications. This is an encouraging sign that the software giant is living up to its Applications Unlimited pledge to invest in JD Edwards software rather than orchestrate a forced march to new products.

The latest evidence of Oracle’s commitment to World surfaced at the COLLABORATE 08 user conference last month. Here is a summary of what we learned from the sessions we attended and the executives we interviewed at the event.

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Since my pile of papers entitled “interesting bits of news you should write about” is growing to an ominous height, it’s time for me to whack it down to size. Here’s a rundown on the most newsworthy stories in my stack.

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If you did not make it to COLLABORATE 08 this year, you can still do a “virtual sit in” on many of the sessions held during the annual user conference. That is because Quest has posted the slides for many of the presentations on its web site. You can browse the sessions by subject and download to your heart’s content. However, don’t wait too long to do this. My sources at Quest say that the slides will only be posted until May 15.

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Now that IBM has announced a new line of Power Systems and a new version of the i5/OS operating system, JD Edwards customers are asking, “Should I run my applications on this stuff?” To help you answer that question, here are some important things you need to know before you give Big Blue a call.

The Basics

First off, here are the essential facts about what IBM has done. This month, the company completely replaced its System i and System p servers with new line of Power Systems. All of the systems run on the latest POWER6 processors. Each model in the Power Systems line comes in IBM i, AIX, and Linux Editions. These editions are configured to meet the unique requirements of each operating system and the customer bases that use them. Here’s an IBM diagram that shows how the computer giant unified the System i and System p lines.

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While last week’s COLLABORATE conference has been “front of mind” for many of us, other events have been taking place over the last month that are affecting the lives of JD Edwards users. With that in mind, here’s a quick review of those events and their implications for EnterpriseOne professionals. (Be sure to read this article to the end, as I close it with a valuable offer from Oracle.)

Premier Support Ending for EnterpriseOne 8.9.

If your company runs on EnterpriseOne 8.9, be aware that Premier Support for this release will end in less than five months. Here is what Oracle said in its letter to customers.

  • EnterpriseOne 8.9 Premier Support ends on September 18, 2008. Oracle will continue to address SARs reported for 8.9 before this deadline. However, no new SARs will be accepted after this date.
  • Until September 2009, Oracle will make Tax, Legal, and Regulatory updates for calendar year 2008 available to customers with current maintenance contracts. Year-end support will not be provided for 2009.
  • No Extended Support is offered for EnterpriseOne 8.9.
  • The ending of Premier Support will mark the beginning of Sustaining Support for EnterpriseOne 8.9, which will continue indefinitely.
  • EnterpriseOne Tools 8.97 is the last Tools release that will be certified with EnterpriseOne 8.9.

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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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Last year, I posted an article about a tool I’ve created that that makes it easier for JD Edwards users to balance their general ledger (GL) against perpetual inventory. Since then, I’ve received a flood of suggestions for enhancements to make this tool (known here at Andrews Consulting Group as RapidReconciler) even more effective. I’m happy to announce that we’re shipping a new release of RapidReconciler in April that includes many of these suggestions. In fact, we’re going to unveil the new release at COLLABORATE 08 in Denver.

I’ll say more about what we’re doing at Collaborate in a minute. But first, let me give you a sneak preview of the enhancements we’re going to demonstrate there.

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In yesterday’s column about Oracle’s new integration between JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Demantra Trade Promotions Management, I mentioned that I was asking Oracle for additional details on the offering. Little did I know that I would receive those details today.

As I mentioned yesterday, the integration supports EnterpriseOne 8.12 and Demantra 7.2. Naturally, that left me wondering whether users of EnterpriseOne 8.11 and earlier are left out in the cold when it comes to using the new offering. As it turns out, many such users may be able to deploy the integration with a little help from Oracle or a skilled systems integrator. Here is what Bob Monahan, Director of Product Strategy at Oracle, wrote to me about the matter:

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Yesterday, Oracle took a big step toward integrating its Demantra applications more tightly with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. The software giant announced an integration between EnterpriseOne and Demantra Trade Promotions Management. The new offering will make it easier for consumer goods companies and retailers to manage trade promotions and forecast their impact on demand levels.

The latest announcement marks the second time that Oracle has forged links between EnterpriseOne and Demantra. Last year, the company shipped an integration between EnterpriseOne and Demantra Demand Management. That offering tied the demand forecasting tools in Demantra to the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and financial modules in EnterpriseOne. While the Demand Management integration was a welcome offering, it did not deliver everything that Oracle’s retail and consumer goods customers needed. With their heavy reliance on promotions to move products, these companies require additional tools to predict how promotions will affect demand forecasts.

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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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