JDE is the acronym for JD Edwards—an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package with a history of over 30 years of success.
The name stems from the names of the three founders: Jack Thompson, Dan Gregory, and Ed McVaney. All three left the accounting firm of Alexander Grant (known today as Grant Thornton) to found JD Edwards in 1977 after a St. Patrick’s Day brainstorming session.
Starting out as a custom programming shop, the JDE team began building the core of a Financials package, which originally ran on the IBM System 3X family of mini-computers. By 1983 they realized that they had developed 29 versions of an oil and gas accounting system for their 31 customers. To cut down on all the redundant work, they developed their own “CASE” tool (Computer Assisted Systems Engineering) or “program generator” software package called “World Case I” to produce a standard application software package for financial applications.
With the arrival of IBM’s AS/400 mini-computer in 1987 JD Edwards created “World Case II” which was able to generate approximately 90% of the RPG code in which the applications were written. Dan Gregory passed away at an early age in the late 1980’s.
Distribution (Inventory, Sales, Procurement) functionality was added in the 1980s, and Manufacturing in the early 1990s. Payroll and HR modules were also added in the 1990s.
By the mid-1990’s, Jack and Ed saw that the entire world was not going to own an IBM AS/400, although about 400,000 had been sold and installed around the world, and JD Edwards ran on some 4,000 of those.
Computing technology was changing to a “client/server” paradigm in which a central server hosted the computational logic and database of an application system, and clients (often IBM personal computers running Windows) were hosting the presentation and interaction with the end user.
Jack and Ed could not find a platform to host the unique JD Edwards application code structure, and so they wrote their own, originally called One World, which preserved the unique paradigms of the JDE World Software, but also broke the tie to any single hardware platform, operating system, or database. This middle layer was called the “JD Edwards Tools” layer, and is the secret to the on-going success today of JD Edwards.
By inserting a technology layer between hardware, O/S, and D/B that could change with new advances in technology, JD Edwards was able to successfully maintain a growing set of business applications separate from the latest fashions in technology. Originally portrayed as a set of “technology shock absorbers,” this innovative approach (originally called n-tier client server) positioned JD Edwards as the only business application software in the ERP space to allow its customers to remain on a single, yet expanding, set of business applications while JD Edwards successfully implemented the most useful changes in the underlying technology. This allowed JD Edwards One World – later renamed EnterpriseOne during the 18 months that JD Edwards was owned by PeopleSoft prior to the acquisition of both by Oracle in 2005 – to gracefully navigate the transition from client server to true internet HTML processing, and to mobile (phone/tablet) computing to today’s Cloud Computing.
Along with the object oriented architecture of the EnterpriseOne application code – itself powered by a 4GL toolset contained with the JD Edwards Tools layer, the JDE Tools developers took full advantage of Oracle’s advanced Fusion Middleware (FMW) products and technologies based on services oriented architecture (SOA). The result was that JD Edwards was able to rapidly adopt Oracle’s best-in-class applications outside of the JD Edwards EntepriseOne core ERP package to include Oracle’s Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA), Oracle Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Value Chain Planning and Execution applications focused on optimizing the supply chain, and other Oracle “Edge” applications.
Other notable achievements that combine the power of the EnterpriseOne development tools and the access to Oracle FMW products include the rollout of a set of operational analytics called One View Reporting together with a “mash-up” of JDE and Internet applications (called Café One) that is capable of changing the end user experience in a matter of minutes.
On top of all that, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne still runs on the Microsoft SQL Server and Windows platforms; on the IBM mid-range, Websphere, and DB2 platforms; and most efficiently and with the most scale and cost effectiveness on Oracle VM and Linux systems including Oracle’s engineered (hardware) solutions, as well as Oracle’s latest 12c In Memory data base – all with no change to the EnterpriseOne applications. This is the most modern set of ERP applications with the most choice, flexibility, and scalability in existence anywhere today.
The future for JD Edwards only gets brighter, with all of these advantages, and with a rich and ever deepening set of industry-specific business applications spanning Consumer Products, Life Sciences, Automotive suppliers, Industrial Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Wineries, Home Builders, Real Estate Management, Heavy Construction, Mining, Natural Resources, and more. At least half the sales of JD Edwards are to companies outside of the United States, and there is more than one new sale to a new company every day of the year around the globe.
The JDE Advanced Technology team in Denver, Colorado has been very busy lately integrating exciting innovations into the JDE software.
You may have noticed that image above doesn’t mention mobile apps. JDE was the first ERP package to run native on the iPad, and has dozens of mobile apps. In fact, JDE is integrated to the Oracle mobile app framework that allows customers to easily create their own mobile apps for JDE.
Here’s a taste of the more than 50 mobile apps available for JD Edwards:
Today, JD Edwards competes extremely well against other ERP packages such as SAP, Infor, and Microsoft Dynamics.
Oracle does not release sales numbers by product line, but it is commonly believed that total Oracle’s sales of JDE software and maintenance exceeds $1B per year. There are over 6,000 companies worldwide (over 3,000 in North America) running JDE as their enterprise software platform. Growth is very strong, with hundreds of new client companies signing on every year.
For more information on JD Edwards visit Oracle’s JD Edwards home page.
Download this two page summary fact sheet, provided by Oracle. It’s really good!