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Innovation Week: Drive Transformation with JD Edwards Technology

Quest Forum Digital Event

During Quest Forum Digital Event: Innovation Week, Jeff Erickson, Senior Director of Product Management at Oracle, presented how to drive transformation with JD Edwards technology. Erickson also brought together a customer panel to share insights into modernizing your JD Edwards platform. There’s no better time than the present to re-imagine your platform as a catalyst to operational transformation. Current JD Edwards customers are adopting JD Edwards technology updates to Orchestrator Studio, Extensibility Framework, 64-bit computing, Cloud, and Platform rationalization to capitalize on investments that reduce complexity and cost.

JD Edwards Product Strategy

JD Edwards product strategy involves simplifying, optimizing, and transforming your JD Edwards ERP. The goals are to:

  • Simplify and Automate: Efficient run and maintain, enterprise-class infrastructure, and continuous innovation and deployment)
  • ERP Optimization: Customer-driven productivity, extending existing business processes, and regulatory compliance)
  • Digital Transformation: Process automation, low-code/no-code user interface, integrations, and extensibility)

There are three primary challenges with that customers face with efficiency and maintenance:

  1. There are time-consuming manual system administration activities.
  2. IT resources are focused on supporting systems instead of innovation.
  3. System maintenance interrupts business processes and activities.

Some solutions to these challenges include:

  • Simplified System Admin: Automation of repetitive system upkeep requirements, Reimagined Server Manager
  • Automated Problem Detection: System self-monitoring and DevOps technologies for simplified troubleshooting
  • Lower System Admin Costs: Automation and simplified tools for package build and deployment of JD Edwards

The image below shows the continuous stream of enhancements for more efficient run and maintain:

Driving Transformation with JD Edwards Technology

Planned Enhancements Requested by SIGs

Quest is home to many special interest groups (SIGs), one of which is the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Technology SIG. SIGs often group together to discuss challenges, solutions, and enhancements that they would like to see in their JD Edwards system. The E1 Technology SIG has come up with several enhancement requests in the past, and some of them have made their way onto the JD Edward technology roadmap.

One of the planned SIG requests is the simplification of the Development Client. One aspect of this would be to thin Development Client with a centralized database. It also involves reducing the Development Client footprint and making access changes available from any client. In addition, the request includes eliminating mandatory check-in and backup and a significant reduction in client package build time.

An additional planned SIG request involves automated troubleshooting for Kernel failures. It will streamline interaction with Oracle Support and improve overall system stability. In addition, it will reduce time and effort to triage customization issues.

Another SIG request is for 9.2.4 to have 64-bt future-proof architecture for Deployment Server support. There would be no need to manage both 32-bit and 64-bit artifacts. Therefore, you could save time and resources on activities like package build.  You are able to future-proof as database, operating systems, and third-party vendors stop supporting 32-bit solutions. Once converted, you are able to deliver the ability to purge all 32-bit artifacts from the database and file system.

Virtual batch queues with enhanced report management for EnterpriseOne 9.2 was another request from the SIG. The key drivers for this are the efficient use of server resources based upon batch processing volume, providing high availability and failover of batch processing, and supporting fluctuating business demands. The value solutions are load balance batch processing based upon workloads, enabling batch queue properties across multiple servers, supporting all batch job submission methods, and output centralized to a repository for anytime/anywhere access.

Upgrade simplification is another planned SIG request. This would remove time and effort and will include simplifying provisioning 9.2 environments. It will also include code current targets (Apps and Tools) and reducing retrofitting, moving to OCI, and upgrading in a single process.

An additional SIG request is simplifying the process of staying current.  This will involve updates in Object Usage Tracker and Impact Analysis from 9.2.2, Customization Object Analyzer from 9.2.3.4, and New Merge Tools from 9.2.4.

The final SIG request mentioned in the presentation was UX One Framework improvements in Tools 9.2.4 and 9.2.4.3. There are five key areas being focused on within this request:

  1. Form personalization with base form security will serve as a standard layout without customizations.
  2. Form extensibility and associating Orchestrator with grid records will simplify and avoid many redundant manual tasks while manipulating grid records.
  3. Simplifying access to commonly used pages to increase productivity will allow the user to define their favorite E1 pages to display.
  4. Enforcing business processes with tailored E1 pages for specific business units or roles allows for specifying a query and personal form to be run executed in Menu Designer.
  5. Streamlining navigation in the iPad container will allow a new capability to add task folders to E1 pages.

Another feature already being planned is the Oracle Autonomous Database for JD Edwards.  It will be self-driving (automates database and infrastructure management, monitoring, and tuning), self-securing (protects from both external attacks and malicious internal users), and self-repairing (protects from all downtime including planned maintenance).

Challenges of Enterprise Class Infrastructure

There are several challenges with Enterprise Class Infrastructure which include:

  • Dated system architecture practices
  • The need to size for peak workloads
  • Disruptive and costly system refreshes
  • Difficulty of implementing HA/DR
  • Running an outdated or unsupported platform that requires proprietary skills

There are also several solutions to these infrastructure challenges:

  • Automation and proven system architecture automate best practices for architecture and migration from on-premises to cloud.
  • Elasticity and “pay for what you use” provide workload and policy-driven scalability at all layers of the architecture.
  • Cloud Infrastructure is cutting edge and is a high-performance, majority platform with managed infrastructure at a low TCO.

The image below shows the continuous stream of enhancements for JD Edwards’ enterprise-class infrastructure.

JD Edwards on OCI

The anatomy of a JD Edwards Migration to OCI includes four aspects:

  1. Utilizing the Terraform Infrastructure Automation scripts from OCI Marketplace
  2. Reference Architecture Automation creates subnets and security lists, provisions storage, compute and database, and installs software
  3. The One-Click Provisioning Tool consumes a base configuration of JD Edwards from Terraform Infrastructure Automation
  4. Utilization of migration utilities to move data and configuration details

Elasticity is your system’s ability to balance your ever-changing processing requirements against the system resources needed to manage your workloads.  There are four main points in regard to JDE on OCI Elasticity:

  1. You pay for what you use and only what you use.
  2. It is workload driven with OCI auto-scaling.
  3. It is an Autonomous Database.
  4. JDE Server Elasticity has docker containers for quick spin up or down.

Continuous Adoption Challenges

There are four primary continuous adoption challenges, which include:

  1. High effort to upgrade
  2. Time and effort to retrofit customizations
  3. Ongoing cost to validate
  4. Impact on business processes

Upgrading, extensibility, and validation will all contribute to meeting these challenges. Simplified upgrades reduce the time and effort required to get code current and retrofit customizations. Retiring customizations will help business analysts tailor user experiences and processes on the glass. Continuous testing will allow focus testing on only impacted business processes.

Benefits of UX One

There are several benefits of leveraging the UX One Framework. It is a new approach that drastically reduces the time for delivery, and there is a reduction in the skillset requirement. In addition, there is both a reduction in the maintenance cost and in resource time.  There is less dependency on IT because UX One eases continuous adoption.

Leveraging Orchestrator

Orchestrated process automation provides three main challenges which include:

  1. Repetitive transactions are a burden to human users.
  2. Humans make mistakes.
  3. ERP data is missing, erroneous, or late.

It is important to use the tools you have and use orchestrations as automated transactions. It is also important to simplify and eliminate because a single orchestration can encompass many manual steps. You should also invoke orchestrations from RPA tools, schedulers, chatbots, and JDE forms.

The redesigned Orchestrator Studio, which was the result of a SIG request, is simple, graphical, and intuitive. The improved user experience is for both technical and non-technical users. The graphical flow allows easier visibility to steps, and there is top-level access to all orchestration components. You can add, move, or delete steps with ease. You can also run orchestrations for testing within the same interface. This redesigned Orchestrator Studio enables improved orchestration management and simplified management via AIS Server. ADF Server is no longer required.

JD Edwards users are also now able to call a business function as an orchestration step, which provides another option to invoke efficient, direct access to JD Edwards logic or custom business logic. In addition to “Groovy” and “Java” options, you can now select “Business Function” as the type for a custom request. This enables you to pass inputs into the business function and receive outputs back, depending on how the BSFN was written. You can run synchronously or asynchronously. This results in faster, more direct logic than using a form request or data request.

The new Orchestration Debugger feature available in Tools 9.2.4.3 enables users to view the step-by-step execution of an orchestration and quickly find why an orchestration ends in error or produces an unexpected output. The new “Debug” button on the Run Orchestration page lets you follow the path through rules and inspect and manually change the values of variables at each step. You can set breakpoints or click step-by-step and see the final output built at each step.

One planned feature is the Assertion Framework for orchestrations, which allows users to use orchestrations as test cases. The challenges include:

  • End-to-end validation of a business process can be complex
  • Business needs assurance that critical processes are functioning and producing correct data

However, the Assertion Framework will enable users to:

  • Use the tools you have: Use orchestrations as test cases to validate business processes
  • Ensure that data is valid: Define the expected values (“assertions”) for test cases and investigate deviations
  • Simplify capture of tests: Use the Orchestrator “Record a Process” feature to create tests and expected values

Integration and Extensibility

In regard to JD Edwards integration and extensibility, extending JD Edwards has many challenges. Some of the challenges include:

  • Time to deliver solutions
  • Unique skillsets required
  • Changing technology
  • High cost to maintain

Utilizing personalization, removing proprietary tools, and using REST services will help address these challenges. Utilize personalization to empower the business analysts to simplify the end user experience to increase productivity. Common tools reduce the cost of development and enable future technology trends. REST services use future-proof integrations by leveraging industry standards.

To learn more about how to drive transformation with JD Edwards technology, check out Erickson’s Innovation Week presentation and additional resources attached below.

Additional Resources

It’s all new, all digital this year for INFOCUS 20! Dive deep into JD Edwards learning, chat with the experts, connect with other users, and meet the solutions providers. Join us online from October 19-22, 2020, and be sure to register before October 5 to take advantage of Early Bird pricing!