By many accounts, JD Edwards is a viable, sound solution for manufacturers and other companies that have the resources to deploy and operate a cloud-based ERP system and supporting technologies. However, there are valid indicators that would recommend keeping an open mind to other solutions that may offer the same or superior functionality, but which could be less complex and costly to own and manage.
Since Oracle acquired JD Edwards, the ERP solution, it has evolved and refined it along with the other offerings in its ERP portfolio. Branding the solution as JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Oracle emphasizes the product’s capabilities for supporting continuous innovation, enhanced by industry solutions.
On the Oracle Cloud, JD Edwards can integrate with Oracle’s platform and infrastructure technologies in addition to on-premises systems. Oracle has provided webinars and other guidance to help customers prepare to migrate on-premises versions of JD Edwards to the Oracle Cloud. A set of updates was released late last year, and Oracle has announced that it will continue its Premier Support for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne at least through 2030.
Reasons for caution
Observations made by ERP customers and prospects and industry experts may add nuance to our understanding of the trajectory of JD Edwards. It appears that Oracle has reduced funding and resources commitments for new development on the solution. While JD Edwards will still facilitate customers’ innovation initiatives, it may not itself see significant innovation. The user interface and user experience may remain relatively static and eventually become harder to navigate, especially given that Oracle has in recent years not introduced major user experience enhancements in the ERP system. Over time, JD Edwards may become a set of integrated capabilities on the same common cloud platform that also supports Oracle’s other ERP products.
Many analysts and industry observers would likely agree that JD Edwards today is a strong solution especially for manufacturers, distributors, and professional services companies. However, the more time passes without updates that allow JD Edwards to stay fully current with the quickly changing conditions and challenges in these industries, its effectiveness may diminish.
Also, in several important areas Oracle lags behind its software industry peers or appears to be to a degree out of step. Oracle’s cloud-based artificial-intelligence technology has not yet reached maturity, especially as regards the AI scenarios that would matter to production and distribution organizations. For companies which don’t operate at enterprise scale, resource constraints can still make it challenging to deploy and manage Oracle cloud applications. And, Oracle relies to a very high degree on systems integrators and implementers when companies’ processes require extended functionality or configuration.
It may be wise to remain open to alternatives
Some manufacturers and other JD Edwards customers are cautiously exploring viable solutions to be prepared if they ever feel that it may in their best interest to switch. For companies considering a new ERP solution, JD Edwards and the Oracle portfolio will continue to offer a high value potential. But they might also find it worthwhile to explore other technologies that may generate benefits sooner, with less technical complexity, and at a more advantageous cost.
A modern ERP solution that is often compared to JD Edwards is Microsoft Dynamics 365, which resides in the Azure cloud. In many feature-by-feature comparisons, the functionality of Dynamics 365 is at a par with JD Edwards or outperforms it. Dynamics 365 integrates with a large arsenal of analytical and business insight applications also available on Azure, and many software vendors offer proven, standardized products to bridge capabilities gaps.
What to look for in cloud ERP
Across the manufacturing industry, many companies are still finding their way to modern ERP in the cloud. Some are replacing legacy systems that have served them for many years, but which have finally become too costly or unreliable to operate, or which require hard-to-find technical skills. As you research solutions and vendors, you will want to identify a solution and implementer that meet five key criteria:
- Mature functionality and evolutionary roadmap that fit your business model and industry
- Flexible, streamlined deployment options that take full advantage of modern cloud architecture
- Purpose-built, proven solutions that can integrate with standard ERP software to meet specific business requirements
- Manufacturing industry practice and expertise to accelerate your progress from the status quo to the desired state of operations
- Strategic guidance and experience to help you use technology to act on innovation opportunities and deliver more value, to more customers
For manufacturing companies that have been used to working with highly customized systems that can demand a high administrative overhead, today’s ERP in the cloud can be part of a new beginning for streamlined and outcome-driven IT.
Sikich has worked with hundreds of manufacturers to help them adopt modern ERP, leaving legacy solutions, inefficient and static processes, and disparate systems behind. We can provide a preconfigured instance of Microsoft Dynamics 365 that already meets a large portion of most manufacturers’ requirements immediately, and refine it in collaboration with you. Contact our Sikich experts today to learn more and discuss the best next steps.