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How J.F. Shea used Purge-it! to successfully archive 30 years of Homebuilder data

This case study details how Klik IT developed and built a Homebuilder archiving solution for J.F. Shea using the Purge-it! Custom Module.

About J.F. Shea

J.F. Shea was started in 1881 when its founder, John Francis Shea, started a plumbing company in Portland, Oregon.  The company expanded to become a major player in the heavy construction industry and participated in 3 of the country’s top 10 construction and engineering achievements of the 20th century – the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Interstate Highway System.  The company went on to further include industries from heavy construction to commercial real estate and homebuilding, making it one of the largest privately-held construction companies in the nation.

Shea Homes is one of the top Homebuilders in the nation with over 105,000 units delivered since 1968 and averaging 3,000 units annually.  Due to the growth of the company over the last 30 years, the company has generated and accumulated vast quantities of Homebuilder data in JD Edwards.

J.F. Shea began using a World version of JD Edwards in 1990 which included a new Homebuilder module.  The company is currently on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2 and uses 6 Purge-it! modules: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Custom Module, Custom Module Extension pack, General Ledger, Purchasing.


Shortly after J.F. Shea implemented JDE World, it was decided that each division would have its own instance of JDE, resulting in 9 separate JDE environments.  In 1998, J.F. Shea purchased another Homebuilder who was also using JDE Homebuilder and consolidated their data into the existing environments.  In 2006, to prepare for upgrading to E1, J.F. Shea embarked on a project to consolidate all the JDE environments into 1 instance and create data consistency going forward.

For some years, J.F. Shea had been looking for an end-to-end archiving solution that could tackle all their JD Edwards data.

Selecting the Right Solution

  1.  J.F. Shea arranged discovery demos by three third-party organizations who work in the JD Edwards data archiving space. The J.F. Shea team benchmarked each of the archiving products against an agreed set of criteria.
  2.  The company ruled out the archiving products that required a separate server due to possible increased complexity. Products built in RPG code were also excluded as they seemed much less flexible.  Flexibility and ease of use were amongst the key selection criteria.
  3.  Purge-it! was selected because it is built into the E1 toolset and archived data can be easily accessed by users.

Getting Started

The first step was to determine a Data Retention Policy which would provide the guidelines for both Archiving and Purging of data.  J.F. Shea’s IT department sought guidance from the business on developing a company Data Retention Policy.  Further clarification was taken, by the business, from legal experts.

Considering the guidance and the fact that new homes are commonly covered by a 10-year builders’ warranty, it was decided that the data would be kept for 14 years from the community close-out date.  It was agreed upon that Communities closed over 5 years would be moved out of the production environment and into an Archive environment.

The project began with a series of meetings between J.F. Shea and Klik IT, with the clear aim of understanding, in detail, how the Homebuilder software was used by J.F. Shea.  Following these meetings, a detailed data analysis exercise was carried out on the 30 years of Homebuilder data J.F. Shea had in their system.

Safety Net for Mistakes

Out of the thousands of Communities that were moved to the archive database, 10 – 15 Communities had to be moved back into Production.

In a scenario where too much data is moved into the archive, it is simple and fast to reverse.  The data is returned to its original location in a matter of minutes, using the easy reversal functionality that is standard in the Purge-it! software.

Additional re-usable Custom Module schedules have been created for J.F. Shea to be able to reverse data from either the archive or purge databases.

Incorporating Automation into the Plan

Three schedules have been created to run annually.  These will be added to the Job Scheduler in Purge-it!

  1. Schedule 1 deletes all data in the purge database
    (The Data Retention Policy states that this applies to data that has been in the purge database for 12 months)
  2. Schedule 2 moves data, that is more than 14 years old, from the archive database to the purge database (where it will remain for 12 months)
  3. Schedule 3 archives data from production, that is more than 5 years old, into the archive database.

The Results and Timescales

The JD Edwards Users in J.F. Shea have experienced a 30% improvement in overall system performance from archiving the Homebuilder data.

The company has recorded a 90% reduction in the quantity of data in the Community Master F44H101 records from a starting point of 3244 records down to 335 records.

Next Steps for J.F. Shea

The mountain of Homebuilder data has been successfully moved.  Next, the plan is to tackle the data in the four other Purge-it! modules: Purchase Orders, Accounts Payable, General Ledger, and Accounts Receivable for Shea Homes and the rest of J.F. Shea’s lines of businesses.

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How J.F. Shea used Purge-it! to successfully archive 30 years of Homebuilder data