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Thursday, 27 April 2017

ERP analytics post go-live, what can we learn?

Recently a client of mine went live on 9.2.  Everything has gone swimmingly and I like to produce an infographic on the success of the project.  I’m able to farm various metrics to give a unique perspective on the go-live from a technical point of view.

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I put a good quality version here, https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B30UFGvbR-EjNmhRc2hsMzB1UG8

Once again, it all looks good until we look at the page load time, this has increased on average from .8 seconds to 1.2 seconds – this seems to indicate that we have some work to do with our web logic setup.  It’s interesting to point out that this was not an increase that was picked up by the user community.  This was not an issue that the project was looking at, but now they are.

ERP analytics has been able to show a real difference in the interactive performance, which will now be addressed and also this will be quantified with analysis of this data.

The following  shows more details that ERP analytics can give you, which shows that the majority of the additional time is in the server responding (3 times slower).  the network speed (page download time) is about the same.  The average page load time is higher, which means that the browser is taking the balance of the time to render the pages.  So – is JDE sending more complex pages to the browser in 9.2 as compared with 9.1?

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For this particular issue, we are going to focus on the web servers initially and try and get back some of the time there.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

More information about continuous delivery

It comes in a number of permutations and combinations, continuous innovation, continuous change, constant innovation… it all means one thing to JD Edwards, Continuous Delivery.

I’ve been trying to track down the official content relating to this announcement from oracle, and I’ve come up trumps with the following MOS (https://support.oracle.com) article.  Important Change to Oracle's Lifetime Support - Extending Premier Support for JD Edwards Latest Releases (Doc ID 2251064.1)

This contains 3 things that you need to read:

1.  An FAQ on the announcement.  You need to read this.  I’m not taking any credit for this, just list out what is in the announcement PDF.  I would urge you to go to the source documents too, as they might change.

Q: What are we announcing?

A: We are extending the Premier Support period for the latest releases of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World. We will review annually the support time line and extend Premier Support based on market conditions, customer activity, and release activity against that code line.

Q: What are the new support dates?

A: For JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2: Premier Support is effective through October 2025 and Extended Support through October 2028. For JD Edwards World A94: Premier Support is effective through April 2022 and Extended Support through April 2025. Oracle Lifetime Support Policy for Oracle Applications

Q: Why are you making this change now?

A: In conversation with customers, we became aware of situations where they were delaying the decision to upgrade to the EnterpriseOne 9.2 release because it would result in a relatively short Premier Support window (The previous Premier Support end date for EnterpriseOne 9.2 was October 2020). In addition, customers are interested in a solution that provides a solid upgrade ROI; a release with a significantly longer Premier Support horizon than 2020 delivers that ROI. Oracle wants to reassure our JD Edwards customers that they can continue to run the current release of JD Edwards applications with ongoing support and enhancements through at least April 2025 for World Release A9.4 and through at least October 2028 for Release 9.2.

Q: What if I’m a customer who has already upgraded to 9.2?

A: Our discussions with existing EnterpriseOne 9.2 customers show that they have increased confidence because they now have an expanded support window for 9.2 and will be able to adopt new capabilities via easier-to-adopt updates.

Q: Does this mean you will no longer deliver enhancements for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne?

A: Absolutely not. We have a very active product roadmap and will continue delivering enhancements regularly, along with maintenance, legislative, and technology improvements. Given the changing market needs and consistent feedback from our customers that they need enhancements sooner and in easier-to-consume models, we will be delivering these as feature packs and updates on the EnterpriseOne 9.2 code line. We are referring to this approach as Continuous Delivery. This should be nothing new to our existing customers who are on the EnterpriseOne 9.2 release. We have delivered five releases (in the form of feature packs and/or updates) for the 9.2 code line since the general availability of EnterpriseOne 9.2 in October 2015. See JD Edwards Product Roadmap

Q: How about JD Edwards World?

A: JD Edwards World Release A9.4 will follow a similar model. Any new enhancements, legislative/regulatory updates, and technology improvements will be delivered on the A9.4 code line.

Q: Will you deliver another major release?

A: Yes, that is in our plan and roadmap. We are not communicating a specific year for that next major release at this time and will be focusing on delivering new release enhancements along with maintenance on the 9.2 code line. The move to a Continuous Delivery model is driven by the needs of our customers and the existing market conditions. We will continue to monitor a number of factors to make the best decision for our customers. For example, a very large functional or technology change that cannot be delivered effectively as an update or feature would lead us to consider a new code line split and a major release.

Q: How have customers responded to this change?

A: Very positively! This change has given them even more choice and control. They like the added flexibility this gives them in terms of when to adopt new (update) releases, the expanded support window, and a simpler approach to maintaining their JD Edwards environments. Customers also like not having to budget or plan for a major upgrade. They can choose and control when to add new functionality, and it is easier, less disruptive, and faster to implement and adopt.

Q: What are the key advantages for customers?

A: Continuous Delivery gives our customers a tool to better align IT and the line of business organizations they support by scheduling the adoption of updates based on how they best serves the business rather than on an end-of-support date.

Q: Will Oracle end support for EnterpriseOne in 2028 and for World in 2025?

A: No. We will evaluate the support dates annually and determine when it makes sense to extend the Premier and Extended Support time horizons. Other Oracle Application lines follow a similar model. To be clear, this is the longest support timeline published by any ERP vendor.

Q: How often do you plan to deliver new feature and function packs?

A: We plan to deliver new updates or feature packs two to three times per year for EnterpriseOne 9.2, and as needed for World A9.4.

Q: Do you still plan to deliver the next major release of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (e.g., 9.3) in 2018 (approximately 3 years after the GA of 9.2)?

A: No. Because we have significantly enhanced our software delivery tooling and processes, we are no longer bound to delivering enhancements in major releases. We have already been delivering enhancements as updates to the existing EnterpriseOne 9.2 release: This approach allows our customers to take up enhancements when they meet specific business needs without the cost and disruption of a major upgrade. We plan to continue following the model of delivering updates on the 9.2 code line; our customers are also moving towards this model as a standard method for adopting new technology and feature/functions. However, as stated above, we will continue to monitor the need to deliver a major release.

Q: Why is the support timeline for World A9.4 shorter than EnterpriseOne 9.2?

A: This decision was driven by the needs of our customers and the current market conditions. Based on discussions with our World customers, most of them are considering migration to the EnterpriseOne product suite with a possible mix of additional Oracle products. Given the large footprints of several of our World customers, they need a longer time window to plan and execute this transformation. We will continue to monitor this migration and will make revisions based upon the needs of our customers.

Q: Can customers simply upgrade to EnterpriseOne 9.2 and forget about it for the next 5 - 8 years because it will be covered by Premier Support until at least 2025?

A: As a best practice, we recommend that customers maintain their environment and stay current on the 9.2 code line by taking regular updates. Using this methodology will make software updates routine and predictable, if or when customers need a new enhancement to support their line of business or need a technology uplift, for example to support a new browser or database version. However, customers still have the choice and control over how frequently and when they get code-current based on their business needs and cycles. The Continuous Delivery model will require a shift in how customers maintain their JD Edwards environments, and we have a variety of purpose-fit tools that allow customers to evaluate and adopt these updates. See the Analyze Your Installation Before Upgrading section on the EnterpriseOne Upgrade Resouces page on LearnJDE.

Q: What is Continuous Delivery?

A: Continuous Delivery (CD) is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time. It aims at building, testing, and releasing software faster and more frequently. The approach helps reduce the cost, time, and risk of delivering changes by allowing for more incremental updates to applications in production.

Q: Why is Continuous Delivery the right approach for JD Edwards customers?

A: Customer expectations have changed in terms of how they consume new versions of software. These expectations are based upon their experience with cloud-based applications and consumer devices such as smartphones. With Continuous Delivery, customers get timely JD Edwards product innovations to respond to their business needs, without the cost and potential disruption of a major upgrade. Customers no longer want to wait several years to get a new set of features. Our customers’ business world is changing so rapidly that they cannot afford to wait multiple years to receive updates to their enterprise software. These incremental updates are easier to consume, enabling customers to shorten time-to-value cycles.

2.  Product Road Map (pretty light, but you get the picture)… 

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3.  Oracle lifetime support policy for Oracle Applications (support matrix)

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

JD Edwards 9.2 to live on… and on… and on…

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Collaborate inspired content

The announcement, incase you missed it, is that we are going to have JD Edwards 9.2 until 2028.  Wow, the propaganda that went with the delivery was pretty awe-inspiring, but honestly what does this really mean?

Is oracle trying to squeeze out the last bit of life from JD Edwards for the smallest investment possible?  We were very used to the traditional major release model, that is https://shannonscncjdeblog.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/jd-edwards-release-datesmakes-me-feel.html every 3 or so years we were getting a major applications release.  This was good, it kept clients on their toes, kept everyone informed of the latest updates.  It was a self promotion and marketing exercise at least, as all partners went out to their clients and told them why they needed to be on the latest release….

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I must be honest, I’m in two minds about this announcement.  I can see a lot of positive things about it – but also negative.  I’m a half glass full kind of person, so lets start with that:

The full half of the glass:

If we can change our mindset to be one of constant change and constant innovation, this announcement is cool.  We must however make the change and bring our clients along for the journey.

I always think about this as if I’m providing JD Edwards as a service for my clients (as I do) and how I can provide them a constant platform – which includes innovation.  This IS a difficult thing.  AWS gives me some amazing ability to do green / blue deployments and to test code changes slowly and constantly – but I need to build this for JD Edwards.  JD Edwards does not do this well natively.  For instance, if I was hosting JD Edwards for a client, I could easily deploy (with them knowing) and new pigeon pair web server and app server on the latest tools release alongside the current tools release (green / blue).  I’d carefully monitor performance, issues, logs and more and eventually phase all of my users over to the new tools release and they probably would not know any difference.  This ability to do constant change is made easier with the constraint less compute environment that I’m using to host JD Edwards.

The above is a small example with a big change (tools release), but changes get MUCH bigger – think application release.  Now this hypothetically could be done in a very similar way…  But, data, my single source of truth is going to be my challenge.  I could easily write triggers and routines that would synchronise (or run TC’s inline) to keep JD Edwards running between the two releases.  Wow, imagine that.  Go live for a group of users / locations…  Test and continually improve and deploy – possible.

Read all of the above and you can see that this is actually WHAT WE EXPECT.  We now expect our programs to update automatically, we expect the latest support of platforms and browsers and more importantly mobile device operating systems!  Cloud or more specifically SaaS has completely changed our expectations of large software.  We do not want to do big upgrades and create big disruptions, we want to do small and consistent upgrades with no disruptions.  I think we can do it.

If you are internal IT or you are a managed service provider, think of your JD Edwards instance as SaaS and think how you can give your customers a consistent and contiguous environment that is always up to date…  You can!  If you make the paradigm shift mentally, you can start to think creatively about how you are going to do this.  Oracle (in making this continuous improvement announcement) have forced us to think about our ERP differently, and for the better.

You are getting an environment (well this is what it feels like), where you can more easily provide a managed service.  Wow, is that what oracle is going to do eventually – hmmm, I’d think so.

There are some repetitive tasks that you will need to get better at to ensure that you are ready for continuous innovation:

  • get better at retrofit
    • code better
    • modules, reuse and more
    • know the cost of your modifications and bring it forward if there is real benefit to the business
  • ESU’s all the time – put them on a schedule
  • Get your underlying technology ready to support continuous change
    • blue / green deployment
  • invest in automated regression testing
  • monitoring is critical (how about ERP Analytics)
  • Performance testing is important

At the end of the day, JD Edwards is going to play better as a SaaS product – though it will still need to be managed closely.

 

The empty half of the glass

We need to also think critically when we get an announcement like this too.  I had a feeling that the software was being put out to pasture when I heard that there was going to be no more major releases.  It felt like this was not a change going forward, but a change to stagnate, but that is because we all resist change – it’s natural.

We’ve seen how it’s really not too easy to sometimes run blue | green deployments with some of the releases that have come out lately.  Trying to use 9.2 tools on 9.0 apps is terrible, we really hope that things are going to be architected and released in a way that can be consumed continuously.

This is a shorter paragraph, as I think that the message is overall positive.

What they hope to deliver continuously:

These shots were taken at the partner session at collaborate, so they are completely immersed in a number of safe harbor statements.  

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Wow, so that is a lot of enhancements that are going to be delivered into 9.2 as continuous items to 9.2.  All of the above is going to be bolted onto the current 9.2 applications release.  We are going to get tools releases, but applications release will stay at 9.2.

Conclusion

If JD Edwards can continue to innovate strongly, but continuously – all we need to do is ensure that we are also ready to consume this at a rapid pace and allow our users to benefit from it. 

The JD Edwards cadence of innovation has been exceptional, they are continuing to provide the tools to enable a business to make their digital transformation to a maturity level that is appropriate for the reason that they exist.  This is a deep statement, but the level of digitalization that an organisation can achieve is governed by what the company does and the reason that they exist. 

I look forward to continuing to architect systems for my clients that are future proof, that will embrace this announcement and allow the customers to actually benefit from it now and onwards to 2028…