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Heavily Modified Wilbur-Ellis Upgrades to 9.2 in 6 months!

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Quest had a chance to speak with Ankur Goswami, Lead Developer, at Wilbur-Ellis about the company’s upgrade to 9.2 and the tools they used to plan and implement their upgrade.

  • Wilbur-Ellis upgraded from 9.0 to 9.2 in 6 months using the Simplified Upgrade process
  • The company identified a 39 percent reduction in modifications
  • Wilbur-Ellis plans to use the Decustomizer Analysis report to identify customizations that can be replaced with personalization

About Wilbur-Ellis

Wilbur-Ellis, which was established in 1921, is one of the largest family-owned companies in the world. The company is an international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, specialty chemicals, and animal feed ingredients.

The company’s corporate headquarters is in San Francisco, California. Wilbur-Ellis is a $3 billion business and has a presence in 20 countries on three continents – North America, Asia, and Australia.

The company first implemented JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Xe in 2003, and upgraded to release 9.0 in 2011, then finally release 9.2 in November of 2018. The upgrade from 9.0 to 9.2 took less than six months minus planning time using the Simplified Upgrade process.

Wilbur-Ellis has 2,000 users running on an IBM iSeries on-premise with one instance for North America and Asia.

Visit Wilbur-Ellis’ Website

Why did you decide to upgrade to 9.2?

We wanted to stay within the JD Edwards support timelines since 9.0 premier support was ending in November of 2018. The fact that 9.2 premier support was extended to 2028 and now 2030 really sold the upgrade! We also wanted to stay current on the JD Edwards toolset.

Another factor was the benefit we would receive from the new features in the release such as Orchestrator, AIS, User Interface, UX One, and mobility. Also, the Simplified Upgrade option was key since we had a lot of customizations.

How many customizations did you have in your system?

We had 3500 customized objects that needed to be retrofitted.  More than 2,000 were big customizations and around 200 were very complicated. We had many India localization customizations from third-party vendors since Oracle did not have a good solution in 9.0.

Were you able to obsolete some customizations?

We sold the upgrade as a technical upgrade, so we did not have the time to evaluate all the customizations. However, we did enlist a partner, DWS, to analyze the customizations, and assist with retrofitting, QA, testing, and the project plan.

By partnering with DWS, we were able to identify a 39 percent reduction in our modifications. We were also able to standardize the India localizations using the new functionality in 9.2, so we cleaned up a lot of old code and retired third-party integrations. After the analysis, we, with the help of DWS and their tools, retrofitted 2,500 objects ahead of schedule.

Going forward, we will be looking closely at our customizations to determine what we can obsolete and how to use more standard functionality.  We plan on using the new Decustomizer Analysis report, which identifies customizations that can be replaced by personalization.

With your 9.2 upgrade, are there any best practices to share with other customers?

You must plan for the upgrade. Planning was important for selling the upgrade case, as we were able to show management rough numbers.

If you do not have the expertise or resources, hire a business partner for certain aspects of the upgrade. Testing is also very important. We, along with our partner, DWS, wrote over 730 test scripts and built 30 test queues with over 100 tests. We have so many unique scenarios that it helped to test them repeatedly. The go-live will be smoother the more you test.

Any lessons learned?

Be flexible. When upgrading, things change. It doesn’t matter how much you plan, there will always be some issues that arise that you did not plan for.  Look for opportunities, if possible, to get rid of customizations. Also, it helps to have an internal resource to work with partners and consultants.

Anything else you would like to share?

The upgrade went very well. We planned on going live on Thanksgiving weekend, but we were finished in September, so decided on a November 1st go live. Our 9.0 upgrade took 18 months, 30,000 hours and cost $1,000,000. In comparison, our 9.2 upgrade took less than six months, 15,000 hours and cost $600,000.

What are your future plans?

We want to stay current and start using the enhancements in 9.2. We are already using AIS and are in the process of learning and using Orchestrator, Mobile Apps, UDOs and the UDO management processes. The product is going in the right direction and the enhancements in 9.2 are giving the product life.

We will be busy for the next few years!

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