Transcript from How to Prepare for a JD Edwards Upgrade video
Questions to Ask Before a JD Edwards Upgrade
So let’s talk about how you plan for your JD Edwards upgrade. There’s a lot of reasons why people are upgrading these days. Some general questions that you can ask in order to determine is it the right time to upgrade, are we doing it for the right reasons? You think about what would make that upgrade successful and what are some of the driving factors behind that. And in thinking about that, what do your users really like about JDE? What do they think could be better? What areas could improve their jobs? Can you give them these UX One features and they would be happy with all of those capabilities without really needing a major process improvement? Think about how much time does your IT department spends supporting the business doing non-strategic tasks. And then what kind of upgrade are you looking at, technical, functional, or is it more of a transformational type of upgrade?
Additional questions. Do you need to stay current because of any security, or compliance, or regulatory changes? Are you upgrading because of the roadmap and all of the enhancements and features that are being offered? And then, how capable is your team? Has your team been around since the original implementation or are you guys on maybe your second upgrade and the folks you have in the business or in IT have been through this before? Because if they have, you’re not going to need as much support from a partner.
Planning Your JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Upgrade
So the initial planning steps are pretty basic, you want to start with your business case or the business drivers behind the upgrade. You really want to define that project, which includes your scope, your timeline and take into consideration anything that might restrict the go live date. Is it a busy season? Is it the potential of an acquisition? Once you have some of those things identified, you really want to define your team. And it’s more than just putting some roles down on paper, you need to put names next to those roles so you can envision those resources being taken away from their day jobs to contribute to the project.
Anytime you start planning for an upgrade, it’s a good time to start looking at your licenses. Depending on how far back your version of EnterpriseOne goes, you’re probably going to need to license some new things like the Oracle Tech Foundation. Or are you currently running WebSphere and you need to move to a WebLogic environment? You should also take a look at your architecture and decide if there needs to be any changes there. Do you want to continue to keep things on premise? Are you going to go for a platform change? Maybe you’re running on the I series and you want to move to a Linux Oracle arrangement. Or you’re on Windows and SQL and you want to move to Oracle Linux. Maybe you want to go to the cloud. There’s a lot of hosting options where you can go with Oracle’s infrastructure as a service or other hosted providers that takes the whole day-to-day management of all of that architecture off your hands and puts it in the responsibility of someone else.
And then finally you want to determine that upgrade type. Are you going to go with a like for like upgrade? Take the features and functionality and the customization that you’re built into your system today, move those into 9.2 and then position yourself to go into a continuous improvement roadmap where you leverage new features incrementally as they’re released. Or you take time to eliminate modifications or optimize processes.
The next thing to consider is, how customized are you? As a general rule, you want to avoid customizations, unless it’s a real business differentiator or provides you with a competitive advantage. We all know that customization costs time and money every time you need to take an update because those customizations may need to be tested again, regression tested or retrofitted. If you know you’re going to have to take some of these customizations forward, it’s a really good exercise to catalog and prioritize them so you understand the scope and importance of each one and you can build that into your upgrade plan.
Along with customizations, usually includes integrations as well. These integrations can be everything from EDI to interfaces with third-party products or other third-party products. Like maybe you’re a Create Form user, and you need to make sure that the latest version of EnterpriseOne works with your version of Create Form. Maybe you have a data collection system that you need to take into consideration. So do some analysis on those integrations, make sure they’re still supported. Will they work in a web-based environment? One of the recommendations that we see a lot is if the integration will work as is in the new version, the upgrade may not be the excuse to change it. If it continues to function the same, you can focus on other value-add areas versus introducing a new failure point or risk by completely rewriting an integration.
And then finally, is part of your reason for upgrading part of a bigger plan of a digital transformation, which may include now the use of business services in JD Edwards or some other service-oriented architecture or SOA platform that you want to incorporate into your enterprise applications?
From a data perspective, we want to take a look at how much data you have because it will take time to convert that from whatever release you’re on into 9.2. Depending on how far back you go, that may include a Unicode conversion as well, which introduces a little bit more time in the conversion and also increases the size of your data overall. So in order to truly understand the effort there, you want to run multiple practice conversions during your project, that gives you the timing of what’s needed at go live weekend. And it’s also a good time to visit any data policies that you have around archiving and purging. If you have none and your data goes all the way back to 1996, and you’ve never purged your archive, now might be a good time to start taking a look at some of those opportunities to trim down the data prior to your JD Edwards upgrade.
Testing. One of the most important parts of the project. You can’t really test without making sure you have all of your processes documented and that then you use those as inputs to your test scenarios. You’ll want to run multiple tests in various styles. A unit test just takes functionality at face value and ensures it’s working. Integrated testing is more of an end-to-end where the input from one department or the output from one department is the input to another, and you want to see those transactions flow all the way through. And then of course, a user acceptance test for the business is saying, we agree that the amount of testing we’ve done is sufficient on this new version for us to go live.
I also recommend putting someone in charge of a testing audit, which means not just the project team coming up with scenarios and processes that they need to test, but someone from an outside view. Maybe it’s someone from a management or an executive position, just double-checks the scenarios and the processes that are being tested and provides some feedback to make sure nothing was missed.
And then of course you can’t go live without training and making sure you answer these five questions around who needs to be trained, what topics do they need to be trained on, where are these resources located, therefore, how will we train them, and when does it make sense to conduct that training? If you do it too early, they may forget, unless they remain involved in the new version until the go live. If you do it too late, you run the risk of running out of time. So working with your partner to really position the training at the right time within the project plan makes the most sense. We’ve seen a lot of success in training for upgrades focus mostly on the navigation and the new UX One features, and that can be conducted several times because it’s probably a two or three-hour training at most. It doesn’t take much for users to recognize the screens they’re in once they’ve learned how to navigate through the new user interface in EnterpriseOne 9.2.
So with that, that sort of concludes the how to get started or plan for your JD Edwards upgrade. I covered quite a bit in a short amount of time with demoing some of these features and sort of running through what you can do to get started. If you want to learn more about JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and even schedule a one-on-one demo that goes into even more depth and overview of the UX One features.