By Rebecca Wettemann
At Nucleus Research, we’ve seen a lot of interesting changes in the midsize enterprise resource planning (ERP) environment over the past few years. As Microsoft has extended the capabilities of its acquisitions, vendors such as Oracle have increased their focus on applications that suit the budget and resource appetites of midsize IT departments. Cost is often a big factor in midsize ERP decisions, and companies have a lot of choices, from vertically focused point solutions to midtier applications to full ERP suites.
As part of Nucleus’ ongoing investigation into the ERP strategies of growing midsize organizations, Nucleus analysts looked into the decision process of companies that had moved from a point or midtier application to Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. We wanted to learn about their experiences, the factors impacting their decisions, and their perceptions about JD Edwards EnterpriseOne versus other applications. Our findings were published in Report L33, Anatomy of a Decision: Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, which is publicly available on the Nucleus Research Website at nucleusresearch.com. In short, we found that there were five factors driving decisions to buy JD Edwards EnterpriseOne: functionality, reporting, staff availability, partner and vendor support, and references.
Functionality. We found that many customers that chose JD Edwards EnterpriseOne had previous experience with another ERP application and, based on that experience, believed they needed to move to a solution with deeper functionality to support their business processes. More-applicable modules; support for more-complex SKUs and inventory controls; and, more generally, the ability to support future growth were all motivations for choosing JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. In fact, more than one customer considered the investment in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne a way to position for growth—either through acquisition or by being acquired—and felt that having a top-tier system was a big differentiator. Of course, those companies that could take advantage of Oracle Business Accelerators found their capabilities an attractive way to accelerate time to value.
Reporting. Old ERP was about recording transactional data. Today’s ERP is about being able to analyze that data quickly in a meaningful way to make better decisions for the business. Buyers approach ERP with this in mind, and evaluate how they can extract and report on data as much as on the application itself. Nucleus found that many JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers were attracted by JD Edwards EnterpriseOne’s reporting capabilities and the ability to rapidly build and deliver reports on current transactional data. Having all operational data in one system, being able to access it via the Web, and being able to use Oracle’s business intelligence solutions on top of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne to do even-more-sophisticated analysis were additional reporting advantages perceived by customers.
Staff availability. Midsize firms are often challenged to attract and retain qualified IT staff. Companies that have struggled through ERP deployments that need to be implemented, supported, and changed by consultants know the value of having onsite staff with the requisite skills. JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers felt that it was easier to source and hire effective IT professionals with experience in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne than it was sourcing professionals with experience in other midtier products.
Partner and vendor support. ERP does not run on software alone, and companies carefully evaluated vendor investment and vendor and partner support as part of their application decision. Many felt that JD Edwards representatives and their partners had a more professional and complete operation; were more available for ongoing queries if problems developed; and, frankly, did less finger-pointing when a customer had a problem—all leading to better deployments and faster support case resolution. An additional differentiator in the eyes of many customers was the availability of Oracle subject matter experts who would be accessible if they had questions or challenges with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne or other Oracle applications.
References. Not surprisingly, we found that references played a strong role in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers’ decision-making process. Of course, positive references are important, but for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers they were often helpful in validating whether functionality in products existed for their specific industry or process, or what was available out of the box versus what might have to be customized (and thus be more costly to maintain).
As midsize companies grow, their enterprise application needs and demands change. We found that companies that chose JD Edwards EnterpriseOne gained greater visibility and control over key business processes and that their investment made them better positioned for the future.
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