At Nucleus Research, we’ve seen a lot of
interesting changes in the midsize enterprise
resource planning (ERP) environment over
the past few years. As Microsoft has extended
the capabilities of its acquisitions, vendors
such as Oracle have increased their focus on
applications that suit the budget and resource
appetites of midsize IT departments. Cost is often a big factor
in midsize ERP decisions, and companies have a lot of choices,
from vertically focused point solutions to midtier applications
to full ERP suites.
As part of Nucleus’ ongoing investigation into the ERP
strategies of growing midsize organizations, Nucleus analysts
looked into the decision process of companies that had moved
from a point or midtier application to Oracle’s JD Edwards
EnterpriseOne. We wanted to learn about their experiences,
the factors impacting their decisions, and their perceptions
about JD Edwards EnterpriseOne versus other applications. Our
findings were published in Report L33, Anatomy of a Decision:
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, which is publicly available on
the Nucleus Research Website at nucleusresearch.com. In short,
we found that there were five factors driving decisions to buy
JD Edwards EnterpriseOne: functionality, reporting, staff availability, partner and vendor support, and references.
Functionality. We found that many customers that chose JD
Edwards EnterpriseOne had previous experience with another
ERP application and, based on that experience, believed they
needed to move to a solution with deeper functionality to
support their business processes. More-applicable modules;
support for more-complex SKUs and inventory controls; and,
more generally, the ability to support future growth were all motivations for choosing JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. In fact, more
than one customer considered the investment in JD Edwards
EnterpriseOne a way to position for growth—either through
acquisition or by being acquired—and felt that having a top-tier
system was a big differentiator. Of course, those companies that
could take advantage of Oracle Business Accelerators found their
capabilities an attractive way to accelerate time to value.
Reporting. Old ERP was about recording transactional data.
Today’s ERP is about being able to analyze that data quickly in
a meaningful way to make better decisions for the business.
Buyers approach ERP with this in mind, and evaluate how they
can extract and report on data as much as on the application
itself. Nucleus found that many JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers were attracted by JD Edwards EnterpriseOne’s reporting
capabilities and the ability to rapidly build and deliver reports
on current transactional data. Having all operational data in
one system, being able to access it via the Web, and being able
to use Oracle’s business intelligence solutions on top of JD
Edwards EnterpriseOne to do even-more-sophisticated analysis
were additional reporting advantages perceived by customers.
Staff availability. Midsize firms are often challenged to attract and
retain qualified IT staff. Companies that have struggled through
ERP deployments that need to be implemented, supported, and
changed by consultants know the value of having onsite staff with
the requisite skills. JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers felt that
it was easier to source and hire effective IT professionals with
experience in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne than it was sourcing
professionals with experience in other midtier products.
Partner and vendor support. ERP does not run on software
alone, and companies carefully evaluated vendor investment
and vendor and partner support as part of their application
decision. Many felt that JD Edwards representatives and their
partners had a more professional and complete operation; were
more available for ongoing queries if problems developed;
and, frankly, did less finger-pointing when a customer had a
problem—all leading to better deployments and faster support
case resolution. An additional differentiator in the eyes of many
customers was the availability of Oracle subject matter experts
who would be accessible if they had questions or challenges
with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne or other Oracle applications.
References. Not surprisingly, we found that references played a
strong role in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers’ decision-making process. Of course, positive references are important,
but for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers they were often
helpful in validating whether functionality in products existed
for their specific industry or process, or what was available out
of the box versus what might have to be customized (and thus
be more costly to maintain).
As midsize companies grow, their enterprise application needs
and demands change. We found that companies that chose JD
Edwards EnterpriseOne gained greater visibility and control over
key business processes and that their investment made them
better positioned for the future. <>
REBECCA WETTEMANN is vice president, research, at Nucleus Research.