Oracle rolls out updates to JD Edwards ERP applications

Analyst: Despite their age, the JD Edwards lines are still selling strongly

Oracle on Monday rolled out what it called major upgrades to its JD Edwards line of ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications during the Collaborate user conference in Las Vegas.

The JD Edwards line is one of a number of high-profile acquisitions Oracle has made in the past 10 years, along with PeopleSoft and Siebel. While Oracle recently launched its long-awaited, next-generation Fusion Applications, the vendor's Applications Unlimited program pledges support and new updates for the acquired legacy product lines for many years to come.

One announcement on Monday concerned JD Edwards World A9.3, the latest version of a system that runs as a pre-bundled suite for IBM i platforms.

While planning the upgrade, Oracle "looked at a mature set of customers and thought about how we could improve their productivity," said John Schiff, vice president and general manager of JD Edwards World.

Improvements focus on sub-ledger accounting; better tools for producing slick product catalogs and invoices; accounting features that help make it easier to do business in the European Union; improved direct shipping processes; and integration with the Vertex Payroll Tax Q Series product.

JD Edwards World 9.3 also features finer-grained security and governance capabilities, including "work order activity rules that provide an additional layer of control over how and when changes are made to the status of a work order," according to a statement.

In addition, the software now has localizations for 18 countries, Oracle said.

Oracle also announced the availability of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 on Monday.

A highlight of the release is OneView reporting, a set of nearly 180 prebuilt reports that pull data from across the EnterpriseOne landscape and allow end users to tap into them without help from IT, according to Oracle. "What we really did was build out a bunch of super-inquiries that take some of the obscurity out of the data model, so they don't have to deal with that," said Lyle Ekdahl, group vice president and general manager of JD Edwards, in an interview.

EnterpriseOne's user experience also got an upgrade, including a predictive "auto-suggest" search function and the ability to "hover" over parts of a screen to reveal more data without leaving the page.

The release includes industry-specific improvements as well, including tools that allow project manufacturers "to review all related supply orders impacting an end customer order to help ensure the project stays on track," Oracle said.

Oracle has more reasons than steady annual-maintenance revenue streams to keep updating the JD Edwards products.

Despite their age, they are still selling well, even outpacing Oracle's other ERP lines, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

"We see double-digit growth," with the strongest uptake coming in emerging markets such as India and Brazil, Wang said. "Asset-intensive" industries, such as oil drilling and mining, with the need to manage and track the cost of many pieces of expensive equipment, are particularly evaluating JD Edwards, he said.

JD Edwards customers are also benefiting from some of the advances brought by Oracle's Fusion Middleware, such as mobile applications, without having to be dependent on the full, expensive and complex software stack, according to Wang.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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