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Continuous innovation

Well, here it is October ALREADY, and so much has happened in the JDE arena this year.  Collaborate, Partner Summit, InFocus, Open World…and Tools Release 9.2.3.4!  So much going on, and Oracle continues to enhance JDE regularly – right now, the commitment is through 2030, and perhaps beyond.

All of these conferences and releases and new stuff show the JDE community that JDE is far from over!  But for those of us that have been around a while, we *do* need to change the way we think about JDE; specifically, how we upgrade JDE. “Continuous Innovation” is the current terminology we are all hearing, but what does that mean?  Well, I recently assisted my colleague Colin Dawes in a webinar series, addressing that very term, and I’d like to explain a bit more in this blog…

Continuous Innovation is exactly what it sounds like: a regular cadence of enhancements, improvements, and all around cool new stuff from Oracle for JDE. They come out regularly, without waiting for a big dot release bang, and with a minimal amount of fanfare. Make no mistake; CI will upgrade your JDE system, taking it to the next level.  “But wait!” I can hear you saying, “Upgrades take years of planning and testing and budgets and consultants and…”  WRONG.

So what does this approach require?

1. Honest Analysis of where you are and where you want to be

Did you customize a form because someone wanted the tab order changed?  Are there reports that could be replaced with Watchlists?  Can you use BI Publisher to burst, rename, and email out reports?

Take a hard look at some of this low-hanging fruit, and identify areas where you can apply personalization and configuration options to replace customization. Ask tough questions – Do people still use that report? Is that custom application or table still required?

Run Impact Analysis on ESUs, to see what objects are affected, and decide if retrofits will be required. Are you SURE? Could those customizations become personalized forms instead?

Be relentless.

2. Determine the benefits aka "What's in it for us?"

Learnjde.com is your best friend when you are trying to see what the latest release will grant you.  Both the technical catalog and the application features catalog will allow you to compare releases, and even generate a nice PDF summary of new enhancements.  This will help you or your JDE Steering Committee** decide if a particular tools release or enhancement pack is worth it to the company.

Easy-to-use tools like these will help you determine the people cost of innovation, and they will also identify the benefits to the business and organization as a whole.  Then you can determine if the payout is worth it.

**If you don’t have a Steering Committee – GET ONE

3. Planning (yes, there is some)

Timing – When’s the best time to apply enhancements?  Is there a business need that either dictates deadlines or mandates a blackout period?  Do you need the latest Orchestrator release to do something specific by January 1? Is there an integration project that will require some of the newest JDE features?

Synergy – Are there other things you can/should do at the same time?  For example, does this release require an update of hardware, or database version, or OS?  Should you take a look at security while you are at it?  Is there menu cleanup that you could do, once you identify all those reports that no one has run in 3 years?

Resources – Do you have the resources in-house to tackle the CI updates, or do you need to consider some help?  Even if you have the technical/CNC update handled, you might find other areas that need a little love.  If you identify a good amount of retrofits, it might be worth it to have some development assistance.  Or perhaps you would like some training on UDOs and UDO Security?  Either way, make sure you have the internal resources you will need assembled, or reach out to a partner to supplement.

In the past, an upgrade made the business groan at the thought of all the testing effort and made IT cringe as they tallied up the cost.  I know, I was both that Accounting Manager power user AND that Business Systems Analyst in my past lives.  But I hope you’re starting to see how Continuous Innovation is changing all of that… and for the better.

If we shift our view away from traditional upgrades and into the Continuous Innovation mindset, we start to see a more agile-like vision for JDE.  One in which we can take specific new features without losing our customizations, where customizations can be replaced with personalization and configuration, and where new features can have immediate impacts on business processes.  At the risk of sounding corny – let’s go innovate!

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Partner: Syntax

For over 40 years, Syntax has been providing comprehensive technology solutions to businesses of all sizes throughout North America.

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