Authored by Alana Johnson, TeamCain
“Three upgrade types. Choose wisely.”
That’s what the ghostly man in the khaki pants and golf shirt had said to me. Now he stood there, accessing EnterpriseOne on his iPad, waiting for my answer. I was surprised he had such a good signal in the cave we were standing in but I guess that’s 5G for you.
Finding the true upgrade would mean we’d be moving forward with the latest technology enhancements, staying current with support, and re-engineering our business processes to determine where we wanted to go as a company. Choosing the wrong type… I didn’t want to think about it.
I had to break this down. Thankfully, I had the journal of a friend who had been through this before; Dr. Jean Ronnary.
There are 3 upgrade types: Like for Like (LFL), Like for Like + Low Hanging Fruit (LFL + LHF), and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).
The first is also known as a technical upgrade where you are getting to the latest release with no intention of changing the way JD Edwards is used to conduct business. Jean had included the following notes beside this one: “Recommended if you are relatively current (ex. E1 9.0) and do not see major changes that could be of benefit or you are somewhat current, but do not have the budget, energy, time or staff to do a more robust upgrade.”
The second type is more around a technical upgrade plus taking advantage of opportunities available in the newer releases. These opportunities are easy to implement and are most often smaller changes, such as implementing EnterpriseOne Pages, adding new functionality like Purchase Order approval or requisition entry, or eliminating smaller modifications. Jean had a note beside this one too: “If you are going to do a project, invest a bit more time while you are in ‘project mode’ and get some wins other than just getting current. Investigate areas of benefit before you get into planning mode for the upgrade. You will likely find opportunities that can add greater value to the upgrade project. Found that over 40% of people I spoke with performed this type during their most recent upgrade.”
The third and final type is the most complex and provides significant changes to and benefits in the way you conduct business with your ERP. While it might be daunting, it is the best way to make sure you are maximizing your investment in your ERP engine. Jean had a series of questions tied to this one: “Has it been more than 5 - 7 years since you first implemented JDE? When you implemented, was it a rush job and therefore you didn't investigate the full power available to you? Do you have significant processes running outside JDE that you want within JDE? Are you benefitting from large portions of functionality? If you've answered yes to any of these questions and if your business has changed significantly, then this is the type for you.”
On the next page, Jean had a sketch of a tablet showing the various stages of an upgrade project and the level of effort for each.
Across from it he had quotes from those he encountered on his journeys, detailing their upgrade lessons:
"Have a documented plan on addressing results of gap analysis, including funding and resources to complete."
"To have a defined policy or procedure in place to properly test changes and functionality."
"Testing. Testing. Testing. Repeat."
"Senior Management Buy In and making it a priority for everyone in the company will make it a success."
"Get a good project manager and make sure you leave enough time."
"Document your processes, enhancements and mods. If you have not already built up knowledge documents and test scripts from prior upgrades, do it!"
Despite the notes in Jean’s journal, I wasn’t any closer to deciding. The budget called for a LFL, although my senses and users kept telling me that we had to take a larger approach to the project. The man in the khaki's was staring at me. I flipped through Jean's book again and found an alternative option.
Looking Before You Leap wasn’t an upgrade but a pre-upgrade study. It was a plan for a review of our needs, a discussion of current issues and user requests, and our technology direction. It specified reviewing the upgrade documents available from Oracle or our favorite service partner. Jean’s notes included: “A solid workshop that provides you with a deliverable that can give you the roadmap and key considerations for your next upgrade or migration. The end result is a document that provides a summary of your current state, recommendations on the best upgrade approach, how to deal with integrations and interfaces, how to deal with non JDE-based solutions, reporting options, a suggested timeline, the internal and external resources that would be required, project team structure options, and high level budget numbers.”
Below all this was a symbol of three puzzle pieces. I knew who I had to contact to help me out. A project of an investigatory nature would give me more confidence to give my final answer.
"I'll be back," I told the man and left to discover TeamCain’s risk free proposition.