Oracle Applications Unlimited has provided a boost for the JD Edwards World community, as users have jumped on new functionality. In the process, user community interaction with Oracle has grown and allowed the company to use that input to provide more value. “It’s been a huge success,” says John Schiff, vice president and general manager of JD Edwards World. “It’s given us a road map for working in the customer community.”
To many customers Oracle Applications Unlimited has meant the delivery of improvements in productivity and functionality in JD Edwards World. “We’ve been seeing strong uptake of the latest release—much stronger than anticipated,” says Schiff, adding that this is not a user base that has traditionally kept current with hardware and software changes.
This success has led directly to a vibrant and supportive community around the JD Edwards World upgrade. In response, the JD Edwards organization has instituted a World Upgrade Consortium designed to support the flood of interest. “Across the board, customers are getting a lot of valuable information—what approaches other companies have taken and how those approaches have delivered,” says Schiff.
The JD Edwards World section of oracle.com is also a terrific source of information for many customers. “There’s a huge amount of information to be found on oracle.com—it’s always the latest source of information,” says Schiff. The Quest user group is another important informational conduit, as it conducts monthly meetings that Oracle taps for input. “It’s a very vibrant community that is not shy about giving feedback on future directions and providing opportunities for us to listen to each other,” says Schiff.
The ongoing conversation has also helped Oracle to accurately target and deliver new functionality. “It’s really driving us around how we deliver the product,” says Schiff. “Applications Unlimited has given us a strong framework to deliver on our promise of more productivity and value and functionality for the software, and ensuring strong customer ownership as we work on new releases.” Some of that will come from integrating the functionality from new members of the Oracle family of products, such as the tools from Demantra. “In fiscal year 2009, we plan to integrate the JD Edwards supply chain with Demantra’s demand and forecasting modules, giving customers access to some sophisticated tools,” says Schiff.
In addition, IBM’s new IBM Power servers help customers protect their long-term application investments by making it simple to upgrade from previous-generation servers. Current applications can run unchanged on new server technology and clients can realize the performance, cost savings, and energy efficiency of new hardware technology. IBM’s supporting Power Systems platform (formerly System i) has also been refreshed with the IBM Power servers, giving users economies of scale and increased functionality with capabilities that allow customers to run multiple operating systems concurrently. “It’s a huge advantage from the Oracle point of view,” says Schiff. “Having the server for World and EnterpriseOne be operating system-agnostic means that all the Oracle technology stack can run on it. It’s a strong value proposition for JD Edwards customers, allowing them to expand the footprint of Oracle Applications without having to worry about more servers.”
The JD Edwards World partner community has also proven to be a vital part of the product ecosystem. “It’s really a market revitalization that we see—not only for Oracle but for our customers and business partners as well,” says Schiff. “We see new revenue flowing into the business environment and customers getting more business value from the software.”
Finally, Schiff sees value in helping companies talk to their end users about how JD Edwards World can help streamline and optimize business processes. “We’ll be talking about this at Oracle OpenWorld,” he says. “We’ve seen companies embrace the Oracle User Productivity Kit, deploying it as part of the go-live process, and we think it will help forward not just the technology but how companies can help customers train key users on the business processes that JD Edwards World supports.”
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