Oracle


While the JD Edwards Advisor is (in our humble opinion) the best darn site on the blogosphere for EnterpriseOne and World users, it isn’t the only place to go. There are dozens of great blogs to visit. In fact, I’m going to show you two of them right now. While one covers just about anything that has to do with Oracle, the other focuses like Bill Clinton’s proverbial laser on a single hot topic. Without further ado, here they are.

Oracle Infogram. If you’re looking for a “blog hub” that can connect you to new sites and new ideas, check out this site. Oracle Infogram grabs anything interesting that its editorial team finds from blogs, Oracle Metalink notes, and corporate announcements. The Infogram team has peppered the site with links to all kinds of interesting resources. The group also tosses in some interesting commentary along the way.

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Late last month, Oracle joined with its business partners to announce dozens of new Accelerate offerings for midsize companies. Fortunately for our community, 16 of the new offerings are based on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. The announcement brings the total number of Oracle Accelerate solutions to more than 90, including 34 offerings that run on EnterpriseOne.

In case you have not heard, Accelerate is an initiative on Oracle’s part to make it easier for midsize companies to deploy, manage, and pay for its applications. Each Accelerate offering utilizes one of Oracle’s four primary enterprise applications: E-Business Suite, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, PeopleSoft Enterprise, or Siebel. Oracle provides these products to its business partners with tools, templates, and documentation that they can use to configure the applications to the requirements of vertical industries. These same tools help reduce the time and effort required to deploy the applications to a considerable degree. Accelerate also addresses cost concerns by providing competitive per user prices and, in many cases, financial offerings that allow customers to pay for their applications over time.

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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, Oracle demonstrated once again that like the Godfather, it can make offers to other software vendors that they cannot refuse. The company announced that middleware rival BEA has agreed to become part of Oracle for $8.5 billion in cash, or $19.375 per share. While the deal cost Larry Ellison and his crew significantly more than the $17 per share they originally bid for BEA, it was less than the $21 per share that BEA insisted it was worth. With the stock market tanking and taking tech shares down with it, BEA undoubtedly realized that it would be a long time before it would see a better offer.

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Over the last several weeks, Oracle has quietly posted two significant software offerings for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne users on its web sites. The first offering, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Tools 8.97, is one of the most substantial upgrades to EnterpriseOne Tools in years. The second, the Financial Management and Compliance Console, provides role-based financial analytics via a dashboard-style interface. Both offerings are now available for download by licensed EnterpriseOne users.

If you have not looked at EnterpriseOne Tools 8.97, you really owe it to yourself to do so. If you are a system administrator or CNC, we bet that you’ll love the new Server Manager. Put simply, Server Manager takes the many disparate tools and interfaces used to manage EnterpriseOne servers and consolidates them to a single tool with a consistent, intuitive interface. While we have not run user tests on Server Manager, our hunch is that the tool will significantly reduce the time that sysadmins spend on tasks such as server installation, patch management, package builds, and configuration management.

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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.

When Oracle President Charles Phillips delivered his keynote speech at the vendor’s annual OpenWorld user conference last November, he gave the audience a simple roadmap to Oracle’s strategy for its products, including JD Edwards applications. As Phillips put it, the strategy consists of three deceptively simple mandates:

  • Be more complete. Give customers the functionality they need to seamlessly automate all their business processes without the functional fragmentation that is still common.
     
  • Be better integrated. Take the task of integrating software off the shoulders of customers by delivering a  platform for integration.
     
  • Embrace open standards. Make the integration platform as open as possible so that IT professionals and vendors can access it regardless of their technology choices.

This article is the first in a series of columns that will take this simple strategy and explore what it means for the future of JD Edwards applications. In the articles, we will examine how Oracle plans to transform our applications of choice along the three dimensions of functional completeness, integration, and openness.

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As 2007 winds down, we thought it would be fun to share our best guesses as to what the new year might bring for the JD Edwards community. Hopefully, some of you will share your own predictions in the comments section.

First, a general observation: Oracle and JD Edwards are both currently riding high. After a long period where new sales were rare and installed customers were under attack, the market for everything out of Denver took a turn upward in 2007. Those currently using JD Edwards are no longer under pressure to justify staying on the platform. Sales to new customers have become a routine event, especially within emerging world markets and in the industries where JD Edwards has always been strong.

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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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So…you didn’t make it to OpenWorld? Or you made it and attended a great session, but wish you had the slides so you could share some hot ideas with your colleagues?

I have good news for you. Oracle’s OpenWorld web site delivers much of the content that you missed at absolutely no charge. You can watch full video footage of the keynote speakers along with the slides they presented. You can stroll through a virtual DEMOgrounds and Expo area and download the collateral that was handed out at the booths. You can even download the slides from many of the sessions.

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For the past week, those of us who attended Oracle’s OpenWorld conference have been comparing notes from the educational sessions, executive interviews, and hallway conversations we attended. If there is one thing that we’ve learned from the exercise, it’s that Oracle is making big moves on multiple fronts, and that those moves will have sweeping implications for JD Edwards users. The only problem is that it will take an entire series of articles (or even several series) to explain what’s happening inside the software giant.

To give you a sense of what I mean, check out this partial list of article ideas that we’ve scrawled on our whiteboards. When you’re done looking them over, let us know which ones interest you the most so that we can prioritize this information-dense mess.
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Last week, I mentioned that the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne team is hosting several special events next Tuesday at Oracle’s OpenWorld user conference. Not to be outdone, the JD Edwards World team has lined up its own programs for next Tuesday as well. There will be in-depth sessions on upgrading to World A9.1, user group meetings, and even a handful of focus groups.

To learn more about these special Tuesday sessions, check out the PDF file that the JD Edwards World team was so kind as to share with me. As you will note from the document, you will need to send an email or fill out a registration form to get into some of the events. I would encourage you to do it now before all the available seats (or drink tickets at the evening Networking Hour) are taken!

If you’re going to be attending the JD Edwards program at Oracle OpenWorld next week, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that the folks in Denver have assembled an incredible lineup of sessions for you. The bad news is that you may not be signed up for them.

According to sources within Oracle, it appears that a number of JD Edwards customers who are attending OpenWorld may not be enrolled in the registration system for the JD Edwards program that takes place on Wednesday and Thursday next week. At this point, it is not entirely clear why this happened. Some registrants may not have stated during registration that they want to attend the JD Edwards program. Others may have signed up for the program (which is free to full conference registrants), but were somehow not enrolled. However it happened, there is a chance that you could show up for the program on Wednesday only to find that your badge does not get you into the sessions.

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As most of you who are heading to Oracle OpenWorld later this month know, the JD Edwards team is hosting a special program for all users on Wednesday the 14th and Thursday the 15th. What you may not know is that there will also be special events for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne users on Tuesday the 13th.

Fortunately, Oracle has been so kind as to send me a PDF file about the Tuesday events that I can share with you. Click on the link above to get all the details. By the way, be aware that many of the events on this broadsheet (such as the Technology Roundtables at the Hilton and the Quest Reception at the Westin St. Francis) require you to register. Be sure to sign up so that you don’t have an unpleasant surprise at the door of the event.

john_wookey-small.jpgOver the last week, the Internet has been burning up with the news that John Wookey, Oracle’s senior vice president in charge of all applications, is leaving the company. While Oracle is making no official statements about the departure, sources close to the company are saying that Wookey has stepped down from his post and will leave the company early next year after a transitional period. That leaves us with a number of questions about what Wookey’s departure could mean for Oracle’s Fusion Application strategy and its other application products.

What We Know

According to various sources, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison released an internal memo early last week in which he announced an executive reorganization. The memo announced Wookey’s departure and said that Thomas Kurian, senior VP for the Fusion Middleware group, is now in charge of Fusion Applications as well. Kurian will report to Chuck Rozwat, Oracle’s executive VP, who is now in charge of all Oracle products. The memo also noted that Ed Abbo, the executive in charge of all Applications Unlimited products (including JD Edwards), will now report to Rozwat instead of Wookey.

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This Tuesday, Oracle’s Accelerate initiative—the software giant’s program to tailor its applications to the needs of midsize companies—got a boost in its fortunes from three events. First, more than a dozen Oracle business partners unveiled Accelerate solutions for several industries, including many offerings based on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. Second, Hewlett-Packard announced hardware reference configurations for Accelerate applications that are based on EnterpriseOne and E-Business Suite. Third, Andrews Consulting Group (ahem…that’s us) released a report that examines Accelerate and concludes that it has significant potential to make Oracle a mid-market application leader. If you want to go straight to the report to read our assessment, you can get it now from our white papers section.

As you may remember from my last article about Accelerate, Oracle gained greater visibility among midsize companies back in August when 25 of its business partners announced Accelerate applications. This week, Oracle got another lift when 13 of its partners announced 16 additional Accelerate applications. The sweet thing about those applications (at least for our community) is that half of them are based on EnterpriseOne. Here’s a complete roster of the EnterpriseOne offerings; the vendors with asterisks after their names announced their offerings this week.

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donald-daffy-w-caption.jpgLast week, a U.S. District Court judge laid out the ground rules for Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP over the alleged theft of Oracle’s intellectual property by SAP’s TomorrowNow division. Those rules are sure to annoy both companies, as neither of them got everything that they wanted from Judge Jenkins.

If I were to pick one company that is more annoyed at Jenkins’ decisions, I would have to pick Oracle. Earlier this year, the software giant told the court that it needed at least 80 depositions and an 18-month discovery period before the trial could start. That would have put the trial clear out into September 2009. In response, SAP argued for only 20 depositions and a trial that would begin as early as September 30, 2008. Jenkins sided with SAP on the number of depositions by limiting them to 20 per side. As for the trial date, he split the difference between the two companies by setting it at February 9, 2009.

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Last week, SAP unveiled an entirely new line of applications that represent the company’s first foray into the “software as a service” (SaaS) market. As the world’s largest enterprise application vendor, SAP has the potential to take the SaaS market by storm with its latest offering and challenge Oracle in a new product segment in the process. However, it will take years of work and a little luck for SAP to become a leading SaaS player.

The new applications, known as SAP Business ByDesign (or BBD for short), took four years and roughly $400 million for SAP to build from scratch. By starting from a clean slate, SAP was able to design BDD using a “no compromises” service-oriented architecture (SOA). While the applications are new, they run on SAP’s existing NetWeaver middleware platform and leverage its support for SOA. Like similar products from Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and other SaaS vendors, BBD is only available as a hosted offering.

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While some industry observers are wondering whether Oracle can keep growing at its torrid pace, the company is showing no indications of slowing down. Last week, the software giant announced quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded the forecasts of financial analysts. Oracle also reported exceptionally strong growth in sales in its applications group, of which JD Edwards is a part.

In what has become something of a tradition, Oracle chalked up financial figures last week that closed the distance between it and its archrival SAP. For the first quarter of its fiscal year 2008, the company announced that its net income grew by 25 percent to $840 million. In similar fashion, revenues grew by a strong 26 percent to $4.5 billion. By contrast, SAP grew its net income by 8 percent and revenues by 10 percent in its most recent quarterly report.

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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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 When local and regional governments put out RFPs for business software, many overlook JD Edwards applications as viable options. That, however, is something that Oracle is trying to change with EnterpriseOne. Over the last several months, the company has been quietly focusing its resources on promoting EnterpriseOne among local governments. In response, we have just published a new white paper that examines what EnterpriseOne has to offer the public sector. You can download the paper from our white papers section or from Oracle’s web site.

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