Oracle Overhauls JD Edwards ERP Applications

Oracle adds productivity, reporting, and compliance updates to a
Oracle announced Monday a long list of upgrades to its JD Edwards enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio, including productivity improvements, new industry-specific functionality, global compliance features, and a new self-service reporting module. And that list adds to a bunch of other JD Edwards upgrades of late.

"We've delivered more product and innovation in the last 12 months than in any other 12-month period in the 37-year history of JD Edwards," claimed Lyle Ekdahl, Oracle's group VP and general manager of JD Edwards.

Over the last six months alone, additions have included an iPad app for the flagship EnterpriseOne ERP suite and modern, browser-based end-user interface personalization and rich interaction capabilities such as hover-over text and type-ahead search. The legacy JD Edwards World ERP suite, which has its roots deep in the green-screen era, has also seen upgrades, but more on that later.

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Building on rich-Web personalization capabilities, the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 release introduced Monday adds an Automated Voucher Match feature that uses business rules to spot exceptions and fetch related documents that would help resolve the exception condition. For example, the feature matches purchase orders to invoices when it spots billing-related exceptions.

"Instead of taking these steps manually with a bunch of accounts receivables clerks, you build out rules and set tolerances so you can focus the attention of limited resources on just the exceptions," Ekdahl said.

Oracle also added intelligent work-order management capabilities whereby tolerances, filters, and rules can be used to handle large subsets of transactions instead of dealing with each transaction individually. In an asset management scenario, for example, users can now apply a consistent maintenance and lifecycle management regime to a subset of equipment, such as pumps or motors in a factory. Instead of dealing with each pump or motor with individual work orders, you manage them in unison as a group.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 introduces new industry-specific functionality for real estate management, revenue forecasting features for project-oriented businesses (such as construction), and new blend-management features for food and beverage manufacturers and a pay-on-proceeds feature for managing agricultural operations.

The release also supports advanced Seiban manufacturing approaches used heavily (and globally) by Japanese manufacturers. Seiban translates to production number, and it entails the ability to track orders and every part and piece in a bill of materials from procurement through the entire manufacturing process and on to fulfillment. The approach brings traceability and trackability to supplier performance, process efficiencies, quality, and customer satisfaction.

To better support global compliance with import and export regulations, EnterpriseOne tracks country of origin of commodities, parts, and components across a bill of materials. The JD Edwards Financials module has also been integrated with Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management to offer deeper financial controls.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting is a new self-service reporting tool for transactional information within the ERP system. Ekdahl said the tool, which is based on Oracle's BI Publisher, lets business users create ad hoc and prebuilt reports without assistance from IT or deep training on the complexities of data models.

On this last front, Oracle has been integrating all its applications with Oracle BI and Hyperion performance-management capabilities, so it's a step already taken within the Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft suites. Despite the recent introduction of its modern Fusion applications suite, which can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, Oracle has committed to keeping existing applications (and their revenue streams) going for the long haul.

A good case in point is Oracle's JD Edwards World ERP suite, which is the legacy system that runs exclusively on IBM Power I Servers (formerly Series I and previously AS/400). The World suite has an upgrade list of its own with Monday's release of version A9.3. Bringing green-screen style interfaces into the Web era, Oracle has embedded URL links that enable system users to look up deeper customer or product information on the Web when browsing ERP data fields.

The JD Edwards World security model has been extended to better detail roles, and the financial module has been upgraded to better support cost allocation in manufacturing environments. In a feature improvement for distributors, JD Edwards World A9.3 supports direct-ship automation. The feature lets distributors control and track direct, third-party shipments.

With IBM preparing to retire some of the oldest versions of the Series I operating system, Oracle said the latest JD Edwards World release has been brought up to date with all the latest IBM Power I operating systems. The idea is to extent the operating life of this already long-serving ERP system.

All the products announced on Monday are available immediately.

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