Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

6 Tips on How to Choose and Implement an ERP System

By:

Lyle Ekdahl, Senior Vice President General Manager, Oracle’s JD Edwards

Cliff Godwin, Senior Vice President, Applications Development, Oracle

The chief purpose of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is to integrate all departments and functions, such as accounting and finance, human resources, sales management, supply chain management, customer relationship management, and more, into a single computer system that can serve all of the different departments’ needs.

Although choosing and implementing an ERP system is crucial to many different types of businesses, this task can be challenging. Many businesses struggle with concerns about management, cost, and ROI. According to a survey by Panorama Consulting Solutions, the average ERP project in 2013 cost $2.8 million and lasted 16 months, with 54 percent of projects exceeding budget.

Here are six tips for choosing and implementing an ERP system to help ensure you are on time and on budget:

Thoroughly evaluate the ERP system and the vendor’s technology pace

You should seek the closest fit to your business requirements. Look beyond commodity processes at deep industry capability. Explore how aggressively the vendor is incorporating the latest technologies (mobile, big data, IoT, etc.) that create potential for a competitive business advantage for your organization.

Use sound business reasoning when choosing deployment options

Decide on your mix of on-premise, hosted, or various cloud options based on current skills, infrastructure, culture, and business appetite for investment in your organization. Some combination of these deployment options may be necessary. Your needs will change in the future so consider the flexibility of the solution and keep options open.

Evaluate the user community and how its members want to work with the ERP system

Delivering a simplified user interface is no longer just a nice-to-have, but has become a must-have. “Consumerization of IT” means that your users’ expectations are aligned with the modern user experience paradigm. Today’s users and incoming millennials expect easy-to-use, highly functional technologies that are optimized for any device.

Study the vendor’s integration approach

Most customers need multiple applications for their business, but the successful integration of all these applications can be a major pain point for CIOs. Modern integration technologies (SOA, ESB, REST, etc.) are critical for achieving both low cost and flexible interoperability. Understanding how your ERP solution inherently integrates with a diverse set of products helps with current infrastructure needs and provides insight into the vendor‘s plans for addressing application directions. Evaluate any complementary solutions the ERP vendor offers, as these solutions could play a role in how suitable the vendor’s ERP package is for your business.

Find the right implementation team and tools

Look for a partner with relevant, recent experience for your specific ERP package, products, and version. Consider industry, region and company size experience of the proposed team members. Always check references for specific individuals and especially leaders. Evaluate and leverage all applicable tools the vendor and partner provide to ensure on-time, on-budget and business-fit implementations. And don’t forget tools and process for upgrades in the future. 

Take responsibility, own your system, and crowd-source knowledge

Regardless of the software distribution method, ERP is a valuable asset. After implementation, be prepared to take the keys! Knowledge transfer is critical to successfully driving best practices and daily operations. Outsourcing all knowledge of system technology and business capability can create vulnerability. Finally, never underestimate the value of networking. Attend user group meetings that can help you discover unknown product capabilities and receive feedback on ideas and plans from those experienced in ERP. Networking provides leverage when working with your vendor on a future road map. 

Oracle offers the broadest and deepest range of ERP solutions, addressing all key business functions, including human resources, manufacturing, financial management, business intelligence, and supply chain management-all backed with Oracle's industry-leading technology. To learn more about our latest ERP offerings, visit: http://bit.ly/1rFz1JQ

Monday Aug 18, 2014

Why We Do What We Do. (Part 3 of 5 Part Series on JDE 5G Postponed)

By Lyle Ekdahl - Oracle JD Edwards Sr. VP General Manager 

In the closing of part two of this 5 part blog series, I stated that in the next installment I would explore the expected results of the digital overdrive era and the impact it will have on our economy. While I have full intentions of writing on that topic, I am inspired today to write about something that is top of mind. It’s top of mind because it has come up several times recently conversations with my Oracle’s JD Edwards team members, with customers and our partners, plus I feel passionately about why I do what I do….

It is not what we do but why we do that thing that we do

Do you know what you do? For the most part, I bet you could tell me what you do even if your work has changed over the years. 

My real question is, “Do you get excited about what you do, and are you fulfilled? Does your work deliver a sense of purpose, a cause to work for, and something to believe in?” 

Alright, I guess that was not a single question. So let me just ask, “Why?” Why are you here, right now? Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you go to work? Of course, I can’t answer those questions for you but I can share with you my POV.  

For starters, there are several things that drive me. As many of you know by now, I have a somewhat competitive nature but it is not solely the thrill of winning that actually fuels me. Now don’t get me wrong, I do like winning occasionally. However winning is only a potential result of competing and is clearly not guaranteed. So why compete? Why compete in business, and particularly why in this Enterprise Software business? 

Here’s why! I am fascinated by creative and building processes. It is about making or producing things, causing something to come into existence. With the right skill, imagination and determination, whether it’s art or invention; the result can deliver value and inspire. In both avocation and vocation I always gravitate towards the create/build processes. 

I believe one of the skills necessary for the create/build process is not just the aptitude but also, and especially, the desire and attitude that drives one to gain a deeper understanding. The more I learn about our customers, the more I seek to understand what makes the successful and what difficult issues cause them to struggle. I like to look for the complex, non-commodity process problems where streamlined design and modern technology can provide an easy and simple solution. It is especially gratifying to see our customers use our software to increase their own ability to deliver value to the market. What an incredible network effect! I know many of you share this customer obsession as well as the create/build addiction focused on simple and elegant design. This is what I believe is at the root of our common culture. 

Are JD Edwards customers on a whole different than other ERP solutions’ customers? I would argue that for the most part, yes, they are. They selected our software, and our software is different. Why? Because I believe that the create/build process will generally result in solutions that reflect who built it and their culture. And a culture of people focused on why they create/build will attract different customers than one that is based on what is built or how the solution is delivered. In the past I have referred to this idea as character of the customer, and it transcends industry, size and run rate.

Now some would argue that JD Edwards has some customers who are characters. But that is for a different post. As I have told you before, the JD Edwards culture is unique, and its resulting economy is valuable and deserving of our best efforts. 

Monday May 20, 2013

On Economics and Enterprise Software - Comparing Apples to Asparagus

Lyle Ekdahl, Group Vice President General Manager, Oracle’s JD Edwards

“Substitute your lies for fact I can see right through your plastic mac…” The Who

In recent discussions in the board rooms of some of my customers and as discussed in various media outlets from current age Twitter posts to classic WSJ articles, there seems to be a common discussion based on a fundamentally flawed premise. OK you ask, “What the devil are you talking about?” Well, maybe I should start with the basic proposition. “Why would anyone in their right mind pay a vendor $X for a good or service when they can get the exact same thing for $½X?” Why indeed? If people are handing out bowls of free money why would you not want to belly up and drink deep?

Unfortunately that is where the discussion goes awry. As your dad used to tell you, “Money does not grow on trees.” At least I hope that is what he told you. In fact, the reason why the other good or service is cheaper really falls into just a few categories – there a cost advantage, a technology applied, etc. The first category that always needs to be explored is the economic concept of substitutes. Specifically meaning, do two compared products or services have a positive cross elasticity of demand. Classic economic examples are margarine and butter or petroleum and natural gas. Now the substitutability of any two compared goods is always a matter of degrees but if one is really trying to get to the heart of the matter, again why would I pay a premium for one offer over another, you need to start with the concept of the “perfect substitute”. To define the “perfect substitute” is to say that utility is perfectly equal such that the marginal rate of substitution is constant and I would add without any loss in value or increase in risk.

“Why go through that trouble of comparison?” your CFO may say. “Cheaper is good.” That is when you pull out another old adage, “You can have cheap or you can have good, but seldom can you have both.” To put a finer point on it, try this comparison, “ A personal auto and a bus ticket are both transportation and a bus ticket is a lot less than half the price of a car, so why are there so many dang cars on the road?”

The answer of course is utility, or the total satisfaction and or value received in consuming the good or service. Now the classically trained economists are going to jump on this one as they see I equated utility with value. Please keep your Menger, Wieser and Bohm-Bawerk out of this discussion for now. We can address the higher order of mans’ needs and desires in future blog posts.

So now the beef or perhaps the chicken of the matter, let’s take for example the fees associated with Oracle’s JD Edwards maintenance. For theory sake, let’s just say that there were “agents” in the market that make a claim they have a perfect substitute that costs you 50% less. Again intriguing until you break down the actual offer and the utility or value received.

So what do Oracle’s JD Edwards maintenance fees buy you anyway? Well, there are actually multiple categories and layers of valuable deliverables in the offer. The most succinct list of value categories that I can find includes ten as delivered by Oracle’s JD Edwards Development and Support:

1) Future rights to product & technology releases
2) Technical Support (Trouble shooting, issue identification & resolution)
3) Knowledge Base Access (Exposure to the issues and resolution across a broad community – 1000’s of customers)
4) Updates, patches/fixes (Both new features and fixes to bugs)
5) Proactive security, data integrity, performance and scalability testing & resolutions (Yes we are watching what the “hacksters” are attempting and we have your back)
6) Tax, legal and regulatory updates (Yes we are watching what governments are attempting and we have your back)
7) Upgrade Scripts (So that you can exercise your rights)
8) Certifications with New Oracle Products (Oracle buys lots of stuff)
9) Certifications for existing third party products and versions (Have you noticed the rate of change in browsers?)
10) Certifications for new third party products and versions (Yes technology marches on)

A pretty impressive list if I do say so. However, there is one additional factor that needs to get on the table. To oversimplify a bit, JD Edwards’ products come in two chunks– that which is non-compiled and that which is compiled. I bring this up to make sure you are aware that certain functions in the list of ten can ONLY be performed at the factory, so when assessing value and making a comparison be aware of what is and is not possible.

For example, if you are willing to take the 50% off pitch you should be prepared to freeze your technical infrastructure. So to paraphrase Seinfeld’s infamous Soup Nazi, “No new browser for you,” even if it becomes the corporate standard or plugs a security hole.

More later, but for now I will leave you with this thought: have you ever asked yourself what is the difference between a can of chicken purchased at your local grocer conveniently located down the canned meat aisle and that which you can find five rows over in the cat food section? Looks to me like a can of chicken designed for your family’s cacciatore is about two times more expensive then the chicken you put on the floor for Fluffy - Caveat Emptor or perhaps I should say, Bon Appétit.


Tuesday Jan 24, 2012

12 for 12 – a Flag, a Gun and a Duck (REDACTED*)


By Lyle Ekdahl, Oracle JD Edwards Group Vice President General Manager

Well it is that time of year for predictions. Ok maybe I am a few weeks late but frankly I like to read all the other prediction posts before I stick my neck out. Here are my 12 predictions for 2012:

#12 In late January, early February the biggest ever (bigger than the first two) Oracle JD Edwards Summit will occur with over 500 in the JD Edwards ecosystem converging on Broomfield, Colorado. With  80% confidence, over 90% of the people attending will be interested in getting product updates and building business, not the skiing. Good news since the real snow won’t start till mid-February this year.

#11 Absolutely no one will make a net new ERP acquisition decision based on whether the underlying architecture is OMG model driven. However over 5 0% of all ERP purchase decisions will be made based on mobile device access, UI and or TCO.

#10 Technology acquisitions in the mobile, collaboration and social networking spaces will occur both before and after the US Presidential Election in November.

#9 EnterpriseOne Tools 9.1 will be one of the most successful tools release in the history of JD Edwards with >50% of the customer base updating to this release in the next 12 to 18 months.

#8 Riding on the heels of JD Edwards on iPad and Tools 9.1 release, in calendar 2012 you will see continued major developments and innovation for JD Edwards, of course I cannot tell you what or when given rules of revenue recognition. But by Oracle OpenWorld plus or minus half of the JD Edwards community will recognize the unfolding brilliance of our six year plans.

#7 The Ramones will not do a reunion tour for various reasons, including the fact that several members are no longer with us, but The Conference Room Pilots will cover one of their songs at Collaborate 2012.

#6 More ERP deployments will feature use of tablet devices led by the iPad. This will cause the proponents of the, “it’s only about the business and not technology” school to begin taking anti-depressants.

#5 Moore’s law will not be broken, but several vendors will be cited for attempting it in a cheap marketing stunt.

#4 There will be a growing number, approaching 12%, of new JD Edwards private cloud deployments in every region of the world.

#3 I will be involved in cheap marketing stunts at both Collaborate and Oracle OpenWorld potentially involving a flag, a duck and a gun.

#2 The world WILL NOT end on December 22, 2012 – however an increasing number of World customers citing a lesser known vision of Quetzalcoatl, will begin to move off A7.3 to the 9’s.

#1 The 2012 lists of colossal ERP failures and related lawsuits will continue to feature (>70% of the list) the same vendor that those lists have featured for the last decade. Maybe someday selection committees will do their homework and “zombie” CIO’s will wake up but unfortunately it won’t be in 2012.

So there you have it – my 12 for 12. In 2013 let’s revisit and see if I have a career option in prognostication.

*- Oracle blog policy prohibits executives from making specific forward-looking statements. The Editor.

Tuesday Jan 17, 2012

Lyle's New Year’s Resolution

By Lyle Ekdahl, Oracle JD Edwards Group Vice President General Manager

My New Year’s resolution is to post more short blog entries.

Wednesday Nov 23, 2011

Sea Monkey Sales & Marketing, and what does that have to do with ERP?

Tier One Defined

By Lyle Ekdahl, Oracle JD Edwards Group Vice President and General Manager 

I recently became aware of the latest Sea Monkey Sales & Marketing tactic. Wait now, what is Sea Monkey Sales & Marketing and what does that have to do with ERP? Well if you grew up in USA during the 50’s, 60’s and maybe a bit in the early 70’s there was a unifying media of culture known as the comic book. I was a big Iron Man fan. I always liked the troubled hero aspect of Tony Start and hey he was a technologist. This is going somewhere, just hold on. Of course comic books like most media contained advertisements. Ninety pound weakling transformed by Charles Atlas in just 15 minutes per day. Baby Ruth, Juicy Fruit Gum and all assortments of Hostess goodies were on display. The best ad was for the “Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys – The real live fun-pets you grow yourself!” These ads set the standard for exaggeration and half-truth; “…they love attention…so eager to please, they can even be trained…” The cartoon picture on the ad is of a family of royal looking sea creatures – daddy, mommy, son and little sis – sea monkey? There was a disclaimer at the bottom in fine print, “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia.” Ok what ten years old knows what the heck artemia is? Well you grow up fast once you’ve been separated from your buck twenty five plus postage just to discover that it is brine shrimp. Really dumb brine shrimp that don’t take commands or do tricks.

Unfortunately the technology industry is full of sea monkey sales and marketing. Yes believe it or not in some cases there is subterfuge and obfuscation used to secure contracts. Hey I get it; the picture on the box might not be the actual size. Make up what you want about your product, but here is what I don’t like, could you leave out the obvious falsity when it comes to my product, especially the negative stuff. So here is the latest one – “Oracle’s JD Edwards is NOT tier one”. Really? Definition please!

Well a whole host of googleable and reputable sources confirm that a tier one vendor is large, well known, and enjoys national and international recognition. Let me see large, so thousands of customers? Oh and part of the world’s largest business software and hardware corporation? Check and check JD Edwards has that and that. Well known, enjoying national and international recognition? Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is available in 21 languages and is directly localized in 33 countries that support some of the world’s largest multinationals and many midsized domestic market companies. Something on the order of half the JD Edwards customer base is outside North America. My passport is on its third insert after 2 years and not from vacations. So if you don’t mind I am going to mark national and international recognition in the got it column. So what else is there? Well let me offer a few criteria.

Longevity – The JD Edwards products benefit from 35+ years of intellectual property development; through booms, busts, mergers and acquisitions, we are still here

Vision & innovation – JD Edwards is the first full suite ERP to run on the iPad as just one example

Proven track record of execution – Since becoming part of Oracle, JD Edwards has released to the market over 20 deliverables including major release, point releases, new apps modules, tool releases, integrations….

Solid, focused functionality with a flexible, interoperable, extensible underlying architecture – JD Edwards offers solid core ERP with specialty modules for verticals all delivered on a well defined independent tools layer that helps enable you to scale your business without an ERP reimplementation

A continuation plan – Oracle’s JD Edwards offers our customers a 6 year roadmap as well as interoperability with Oracle’s next generation of applications

Oh I almost forgot that the expert sources agree on one additional thing, tier one may be a preferred vendor that offers product and services to you with appealing value. You should check out the TCO studies of JD Edwards. I think you will see what the thousands of customers that rely on these products to run their businesses enjoy – that is the tier one solution with the lowest TCO. Oh and if you get an offer to buy an ERP for no license charge, remember the picture on the box might not be the actual size. 

Tuesday Nov 01, 2011

Dawn of the Dead or Zombieland…A thought on ERP competition and Halloween.

By Lyle Ekdahl, JD Edwards Group Vice President and General Manager

It’s a tired line repeated by countless competitive sales representatives in the market. They utter the words to long time Oracle’s JD Edwards customers and prospects alike, “Oh JD Edwards, that product is dead.”

Really? Dead, like in deprived of life, dead? Or is it that they are implying JD Edwards no longer has commercial relevance, or technical significance? Hmmmm, last time I checked there were thousands of customers successfully running their businesses every day on JD Edwards products. And they are joined every year by hundreds more. That seems to define commercial relevance.

The strategy? Repeat something often enough and maybe, just maybe it becomes reality or at least convince enough to believe so that there is a perceived reality. Willful deceit, perhaps but hey who needs facts when you have the mantra. Besides facts can just lead to logical decision making and who does that benefit? Like a line from the 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead,

Dr. Millard Rausch, Scientist: We must think logically. We must deal with his crisis logically. With a calm and unemotional response! We have to remain rational. We have to remain logical.
TV Commentator: Scientists like you always think that way. That's not how people think.
Dr. Millard Rausch, Scientist: We've got to! We've got to remain logical. There's no choice. It has to be that. It's that or the end.

What about these facts? Let’s talk about over 20 releases of software including major releases, minor releases, technical releases, new modules and integrations all from JD Edwards in the last six and a half years. Does that sound deprived of life? How about last month’s announced support for Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne on iPad along with newly developed gestures specifically for ERP navigation – does that sound technically irrelevant? Also note that there is a full roadmap shared on My Oracle Support and at major conferences that shows years of continuing investment. Oracle’s JD Edwards dead? We are thriving, thank you very much!

Ever notice how in zombie movies at some point in the plot the living are pointed at by a member of the undead as that creature makes some hideous screeching noise. This is the clarion call for all zombies to attack. But who are the zombies in this reenactment of a horror film classic, those that continue to produce innovation and satisfied customers or those who mindlessly repeat a mantra without basis in fact?

Zombies by all accounts are brain dead. No longer able to think, they point, shriek and attack those who are actually living. On the other hand, we are the living. Yes there are more of them constantly trying to feast on the flesh that is the IT budget – taking many of their victims down in a veritable gore-fest of cost overrun, failed implementation and lost economic productivity. But we are the protectors of the living. We have been to the mall. We have stocked up on the ammunition of innovation, low TCO and complete flexible solutions. Remember the words from Zombieland,

Tallahassee: My mama always told me someday I'd be good at something. Who'd a guessed that something'd be zombie-killing?
Columbus: Probably nobody.

Don’t forget to double tap!

Oh and Happy Halloween.
About

Welcome to the JD Edwards Blog. Post are contributed by the JD Edwards strategy and development teams, covering a broad range of topics. The goal of the blog is to create opportunities for information and idea sharing, to engage JD Edwards customers/users, partners, and Oracle employees in conversation, the spirit of improving the experience and effectiveness of all that participate in the community. Both EnterpriseOne & World products are fair game for blog topics. Topics will cover functional, technical, business topics,but it is not the intent of this blog to provide "support" activities and those discussions will be best served via My Oracle Support or Oracle Mix. We invite your comments and feedback, and look forward to lively conversation.

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