Friday Apr 10, 2015

Preparing For Your Journey to ERP Cloud

Karen dela Torre, VP of the ERP applications business group at Oracle, offers practical ERP Cloud deployment advice in her recent Forbes OracleVoice post, Safe Passage to the Cloud: 5 Best Practices for Cloud Implementation.

"Much has been written recently about the benefits of moving ERP to the cloud, and CFOs are embracing the cloud in growing numbers," writes dela Torre. "Yet the move also presents challenges, and there are only a small number of vendors and system integrators with experience in this area."

#3 on her list is Embrace Standard Best Practices Already in the Application. Based on her extensive experience working with ERP Cloud adopters, dela Torre advises,

"If all you want is to migrate your old, on-premises processes to the cloud, then you’re not really getting all the benefits of a modern ERP cloud. Of course every company will have some unique processes, and you should look for a vendor that can provide the tools you need to personalize your cloud."

Oracle provides extensive free resources-including thought leadership, how to advice, customer experiences-to help your organization adopt Modern Best Practice.

Get started by exploring Modern Best Practice for Finance:

Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Oct 29, 2014

Fin, Feather, & Fur Outfitters Chooses Oracle to Drive Digital Transformation

How does a hometown sporting goods retailer compete with specialty big box giants? The answer is: you exploit their weaknesses. Ohio-based Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters has averaged 30-40% year over year growth since 2010 by doing what the big guys can’t.

Shawn Gilronan, CIO at Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters, was recently an executive customer speaker in an Oracle OpenWorld session devoted to strategies for adopting Modern Best Practice in high-growth organizations. Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by emerging technologies—Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, Social, The Internet of Things, and Big Data—to enable organizations to achieve more, faster and with less resources.

“We have built our competitive advantage by carrying a broad selection of branded firearms and accessories that closely reflect what are customers want to see,” says Gilronan. “We also take pride in our knowledgeable sales associates who are highly trained in programs sponsored by such top tier vendors as Sig Sauer, Rocky Boots, Columbia Sportswear, and Under Armour.”

Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ executive team knew that profitable growth could only be sustained by transforming the company from a local mainstay to one that can go toe-to-toe with industry juggernauts. As Gilronan guides the company through a “Crawl/Walk/Run” Oracle deployment strategy over three phases, the company could potentially be a case study supporting this MIT Sloan Management Review research, “The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation”.

Software Selection Via the 21st Century Good Ol’ Boy Network

“We knew we needed to change,” says Gilronan. “The systems we had weren’t scalable, reliable, and couldn’t cope with the volume of transactions. We knew we needed a ERP system with deep and broad industry capabilities to build a foundation on. Plus we also needed a robust front end solution for our cashiers to get customers in and out the store efficiently.”

Prior to deploying Oracle, Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters had no enterprise wide IT platform in place—something not necessarily vital to a company with just four stores, no shared services warehouse/distribution system, and no eCommerce presence whatsoever. Many non-standard processes and procedures were in place, born out of necessity, rather than formed out of intelligent, thought driven planning. High growth quickly exposed the deficiencies in the company’s existing IT systems. The company reached over capacity on system SKU’s. They experienced frequent system outages. The executive leadership team worried that sales revenue was being left on the table.

Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ customers prefer quality brands with reputations established over time amongst their friends and peers. Brands like Carhartt, Case Knives, and Smith and Wesson. Likewise, when Gilronan sent out a growth focused RFP, Oracle quickly rose to the top based on the local reputation of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for finance and distribution as well as the industry penetration and well known ability of Oracle’s eCommerce solutions ATG and Endeca for eCommerce to support sustained growth.

“Oracle rose to the top for a number of reasons,” says Gilronan. “First, the robust distribution management capabilities in JD Edwards align well with our company growth model. Plus, Oracle offers a user-friendly application environment. And finally, our selection was based on a “best fit” approach in terms of using a local partner, the right cost, and the fact that Oracle and our partner aligned well with our company’s morals and values.”

The Outcomes of Digital Transformation

As identified in the MIT Sloan Management research, “Executives in all industries are using digital advances such as analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices as well as improving their use of traditional technologies such as ERP to change customer relationships, internal processes and value propositions.” Also, “Executives are digitally transforming three key areas of their enterprises: customer experience, operational processes, and business models.” Not by coincidence, Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ digital transformation will dramatically impact all three of these key areas.

“Our customers’ experience will be enhanced by Oracle’s state of the art POS system, optimized inventories, and online purchasing options,” says Gilronan. “We’ll be adopting modern best practices for our industry with Oracle’s out of the box capabilities and standardizing training across all operations. Our business model will be radically enhanced by developing a compelling online presence and by tripling our number of stores and moving to building a modern warehouse and distribution facility.”

Gilronan expects dramatic ROI as the each of the three phases are completed. For the first time, managers will have integration between sales, inventory, and financial management. Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters has succeeded by accurately matching their inventory to their customers’ preferences but, without modern inventory best practices, that has resulted in high inventory carrying costs. With the adoption of Modern Best Practice for inventory management they’ll be able to perform detailed analysis to determine profitability at a more granular scale such as store square foot allocation by product and the carrying cost of products at the store level. Gilronan expects to reduce inventory levels by 30-40% even as they continue to grow dramatically.

“Our digital transformation will allow us to continue our organic growth model,” says Gilronan. “We’ll be opening many new locations and exploring new-to-us concepts without being impeded by technology. We’ll be a more formidable and direct competitor with larger big box stores.”

Thursday May 08, 2014

Simplifying Hybrid Cloud

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

My favorite brain game on is “Train of Thought”. The idea is to make sure every train engine arrives at the right color-coded station by flipping switches at track intersections. The better you get, the more stations you manage and the more trains are in play at once. It gets stressful pretty quick. 

Quite a bit of research lately predicts the rise of hybrid cloud adoption—a blend of on premise, private cloud, and public cloud IT solutions. Growing companies don’t want to rule out a potentially best-fit option based solely on deployment model. Thus, if you want all the good stuff now, you’re probably going to end up with a hybrid model.

That can translate to lots of moving parts—trainloads of information seeking the right station. Even a public cloud solution needs some attention. With a best of breed, hybrid strategy, it’s possible to have a dozen or more systems that need to talk to each other.

In this report, “Cloud for Business Managers in Midsized Organizations: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” 76% of respondents say their ability to innovate using their cloud apps has been hindered and the main hindrance is a lack of integration (54%). That can be especially challenging for midsize companies with no IT staff or just a handful of employees dedicated to IT. 

The good news is that Oracle and its partners know how to manage all the moving parts. For example, Denovo started out as a traditional IT consulting and services company and, in 2009, began building a robust hosting and managed services practice for Oracle JD Edwards customers. Denovo has the expertise to connect their customers’ private ERP clouds with other on premise and public cloud solutions, from Oracle and other vendors. 

“Our customers want to leverage technology from the driver’s seat,” says Paul Herbka, Director of Enterprise Hosting, Cloud and Managed Services, at Denovo. “Not the other way around. They recognize that cloud is about more than just cost savings. It’s about speed of deployment, flexibility, elasticity, and agility. They want all that without having to manage all the moving parts.” 

Since Denovo started hosting with a strong consulting practice already in place, they have the know-how to build one-of-a kind ERP ecosystems for each customer. They understand how to pull or push information from one application to another, whether on premise or cloud.

“It’s all about being smarter, faster, and cheaper,” says Herbka. “It’s imperative for our customers to visualize their IT strategies through a single pane of glass. That’s why we offer a simple but comprehensive private enterprise cloud. Our clients run their own core business. The let us take care of the chore of delivering that software and infrastructure and concentrating on the technical details.”

Herbka will be presenting a live webinar, “ERP Cloud Benefits - from Chore to Core”, on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 from 9:00am - 10:00am PST. He’ll be covering:

  • Ways to increase agile cloud-enabled business solutions
  • How business leaders are leveraging cloud solutions to drive innovation
  • How to gain support for your own cloud projects and initiatives
  • About success stories of cloud technology that reduced IT cost by up to 18%

Click here to register.

More on this topic:

Building a Hybrid Cloud: Five decision criteria for evaluating and selecting hybrid cloud solutions”, by Irfan Saif is a principal and leader of the postdigital enterprise initiative at Deloitte & Touche, featured in Oracle’s Profit Online magazine.

Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013

Get a Number…Give A Number. I give Oracle “7”.

by Jim Lein | Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director | Oracle Midsize Programs | @JimLein

There’s a game currently making the social media rounds in which one friend assigns a random number –let’s say, “twelve”—to another friend. The assigned friend then shares twelve little known facts about themselves.

The “Get a Number…Give A Number” game reminds me that I might not know some of my friends as well as I think I do. It’s a rare occasion when I meet someone who doesn’t have opinions about Oracle. Ask yourself—what do you really know about the second largest software company on the planet? To that end, I have randomly assigned the number “seven” to Oracle (seven is a lucky number and every writer knows list-based posts must have an odd number of items just like all landscaping projects must have an add number of shrubs).

Here are seven facts you might not know about my company:

  1. My home state of Colorado ranks third in the nation for concentration of tech workers in the public sector (8.7%). Oracle is a major contributor to that statistic, having inherited multiple Colorado campuses via acquisition including JD Edwards (Denver Tech Center), Sun Microsystems (Broomfield), and BEA Systems (Boulder).
  2. More than two thirds of Oracle’s customers are midsize companies .
  3. Oracle headquarters in Redwood City occupy reclaimed tidelands and the 66 acre site was originally Marine World/Africa USA.
  4. My first boss at Oracle was a guy who I had met years before when we worked on the same floor at JD Edwards. I didn’t know what his job was back then but we had pleasant conversations at the copier (remember those things?). But I digress…
  5. Oracle wins numerous awards for philanthropy including being ranked #7 in the Silicon Valley Business Journal Corporate Philanthropy Awards.
  6. Oracle OpenWorld ‘96 (the first) featured 420 sessions and 17,200 visitors at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Many superstar acts have performed over the years at the Oracle OpenWorld Customer Appreciation Events including Elton John, Sting, Billy Joel, and (my favorite) Counting Crows but the farthest back anyone could remember was Oracle OpenWorld ’98 at which KC and the Sunshine Band, Dave Wakeling (of The English Beat fame), Asleep at the Wheel, and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies performed.
  7. Oracle’s smallest customers run the same applications as our largest customers. For example, Land o’ Lakes (14B USD, USA) runs Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and so does Felsineo (<100M USD, Italy). And Ingersoll Rand (14B USD, Ireland) runs Oracle E-Business Suite and so does PressureJet Systems (<100M USD, India). And Skanska AB (60,000 employees, Sweden) runs Oracle Taleo Talent Management and so does Be The Match (875 employees, USA). You get the picture.

If you haven’t yet guessed, this post is a thinly veiled attempt to get you interested in learning more about the kind of company Oracle is today. This is not your father’s Oracle. Today Oracle has 120,000 employees and many of us honed our skills and gained experience prior to joining Oracle at such great companies as JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Primavera, Siebel, Taleo, Eloqua, and Hyperion . That’s where we’ve been but now our heads are in the cloud. So get to know us better. If you’re not an Oracle customer now, odds are—you may soon be one.

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Industry Best Practices + Flexibility

By Richard Garraputa, VP of Sales & Marketing, brij

Richard joined brij in 1996 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with degrees in Information Systems and Accounting. He directs brij’s overall strategies of both the business development and marketing departments.

Companies looking for new ERP systems spend so much time comparing features and functions of software products but too often short change the value of their own processes.  Company managers I meet often claim that they are implementing a new ERP system so they can perform better and faster.  When asked how, the answer is often “by implementing best practices”.  But the term ‘best practices’ is frequently used to mean ‘doing things the way everyone else does them’ rather than a starting point or benchmark to build upon by adding your own value.

Of course, implementing standardized processes across an enterprise is an important step in improving operational efficiencies.  But not all companies are alike.  Do you ever tell your customers “We are just like our competition and have no competitive differentiation”?  Probably not.  So why should the implementation of your business processes be just like your competitor’s?  Even within the same industry, companies differentiate themselves by leveraging their unique expertise and approach to business.  These unique aspects—the competitive differentiators that companies use to thrive in a crowded marketplace—can and should be supported by the implementation of business systems like ERP.

Modern ERP systems like Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne have a broad and deep functional footprint designed to integrate a company’s core operations.  But how can a company take advantage of this footprint without blowing up their implementation budget?  Some ERP vendors claim to solve this challenge by stating that their systems come pre-configured with ‘best practices’.  Too often what they are really saying is that you will have to abandon your key operational differentiators to fit a vendor’s template for your business—or extend your implementation and postpone the realization of any benefits.

Thankfully for midsize companies, there is an alternative to the undesirable options of extended implementation projects or abandoning their competitive differentiators.  Oracle Accelerate Solutions speed the time it takes to implement JD Edwards EnterpriseOne solution based on your unique business characteristics, getting your new ERP system up and running faster without forcing your business to fit a cookie-cutter solution. We’ve been a JD Edwards implementation partner since 1986 and we now leverage Oracle Business Accelerators—cloud based rapid implementation tools built and maintained by Oracle. Oracle Business Accelerators deliver the benefits of embedded industry best practices without forcing every customer in to one set of processes like many template or “clone and go” approaches do. You retain the ability to reconfigure your applications—without customization—as your business changes.

Wielded by Oracle partners with industry-specific domain expertise, Oracle Accelerate Solution implementations powered by Oracle Business Accelerators help automate the application configuration to fit your business better, faster. For example, on a recent project at a manufacturing company, the project manager told me that Oracle Business Accelerators helped get them to Conference Room Pilot 20% faster than with a traditional approach. Time savings equal cost savings.

And if ‘better and faster’ is your goal for your business performance, shouldn’t it be the goal for your ERP implementation as well?

Established in 1986, brij has been dedicated solely to helping its customers implement Oracle’s JD Edwards solutions and to maximize the value of those customers’ IT investments. They are a Gold level member in Oracle PartnerNetwork and an Oracle Accelerate Solution provider.

Friday Nov 16, 2012

Goodbye, Spreadsheets and Hello Modern ERP

Signs of the resurging economy continue to sprout, with green shoots rising across different sectors and industries. With the economy on the rebound, businesses are increasing their investment in technology to keep up with growth and evolving demands; as proof, Gartner recently increased its worldwide IT spending forecast for 2012 to $3.6 trillion, anticipating a 3 percent increase from 2011 spending.

[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 06, 2012

Tap Into Tier 1 ERP


Your customers aren’t satisfied with so-so customer service. Your employees aren’t happy with below average salaries.


So why would you settle for second-rate or tier 2 ERP?

[Read More]

Wednesday Sep 12, 2012

Webcast - September 20th at 9am PT/12pm ET - Nucleus Research Report: The Evolving Business Case for Tier 1 ERP in Midsize Companies

Join us on September 20th at 9am PT/12pm ET for a webcast featuring Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President of Research at Nucleus Research, and Jim Lein, Senior Director at Oracle. Together, they’ll explore the recently published note, “The Evolving Business Case for Tier 1 ERP in Midsize Companies." Register today!

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

JD Edwards ERP Products Thriving under Oracle

Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) recently published a favorable report on Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne entitled JD Edwards ERP Products Thriving under Oracle.  In addition to a positive commentary on newly released JDE 9.1, analyst P.J. Jakovljevic cites JDE’s persistence over time as a strong customer choice. 

Click here to read the report.

Wednesday Feb 01, 2012

Oracle Partners Worldwide Deliver Expanded Portfolio of Oracle Accelerate Solutions for Midsize Companies

Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies continues to gain momentum.

Read the full press release HERE.  

Friday Jan 20, 2012

Q&A: Jim Lein, Sr. Director--Oracle Accelerate, on Practical Approaches to Cloud Computing for Midsize Organizations

Jim Lein has worked closely with hundreds of midsize organizations since joining the JD Edwards team in 1999. Now senior director of the Oracle Accelerate Program Office, he has spent more than a dozen years with a laser-sharp focus on the needs of midsize organizations—and the ways they can leverage ERP solutions to produce value for their organizations.

 Click HERE to read the Q&A in Profit Online.

Monday Nov 21, 2011

Follow Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies on Facebook

Click HERE to go our page and 'like' it.

Register for the webcast, " Modernizing Applications - The Top IT Project" Wednesday, November 30, 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET


Due to the realities of the 'New Normal' economy, many midsize companies are replacing or upgrading their legacy enterprise applications.

Larry Simcox, Sr. Director of the Oracle Accelerate Program Office, will lead a discussion on the 'why' and the 'how' featuring an impressive list of panelists: 

  • Eric Kimberling, President & Chairman, Panorama Consulting
  • Lyle Ekdahl, GVP & General Manager, Oracle's JD Edwards Enterprise Applications
  • Jeanne Lowell, VP, Oracle's E-Business Suite Strategy.

Click HERE to register.

Monday Nov 14, 2011

Oracle E-Business Suite and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne are well positioned in Nucleus Research Technology Value Matrix


 Both E-Business Suite and JD Edwards are ranked high for usability and functionality.

Download the report HERE.



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