This is The ERP Advisor.
Today's episode: Legacy software review. Oracle PeopleSoft and JD Edwards.
Juliette Welch: Shawn Windle is one of our speakers for today. Shawn is the founder and managing Principal of ERP Advisors Group based in Denver, Colorado. Shawn has over twenty years of experience in the enterprise software industry.
Quentin Dewitt is our guest today. Hi, Quentin. Quentin is a director at ERP Advisors Group and has been in the Information Technology business for more than twenty years.
On today's call, we will discuss Oracle PeopleSoft and JD Edwards and examine when it's worth maintaining a legacy system, and when it's time to start evaluating a more modern ERP solution for your needs.
Welcome Shawn and Quentin. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Quentin Dewitt: Hello, thank you.
Juliette: Yes, yes, I just want to mention, too, if anybody has any questions throughout the presentation, if you want to throw him into the chat, we'll do our best to get to them, if not, we can send you a response after our call, but just let us know.
Today we continue our series review of legacy software, and just as we mentioned last week with Oracle E-Business Suite, it's been around for decades, a very long time, and both PeopleSoft and JD Edwards have been around for quite some time as well.
Through the years, they've added some different tools to make it more adaptive to different businesses but wondering if it's maybe come to the end of its road, so to speak.
So, if we could just dive right in Shawn, I think I'll start with you. Can you begin by just covering a little bit of the history of Oracle PeopleSoft and JD Edwards and how they got where they are today?
Shawn Windle: Yeah, I definitely can, and I will as always say that we're very willing to be corrected. We're not one of these firms that will stand up there and say, “we know everything, and this is the way it is.” We know a lot and have some very practical and pragmatic experience, that's why we do these calls. But as we talk about these topics, we're giving you the best insight that we have today and as Quentin will talk about especially on PeopleSoft side, things change every year.
So, it's really important that you're going out there and doing your own research, but with that being said, I can give you a little bit, like you said, a little bit of color in the background, in the history and I actually do have a little bit of context because I was with JD Edwards and then PeopleSoft from the late 90s into the early 2000s.
Juliette: OK, so you have first-hand knowledge.
Shawn: More like 15,000-hand because there were a lot of people that were at JD Edwards together at that time.
So, let's go back. I think it is important to understand — because both these products are awesome — some of the world's top software is what we're talking about today.
So, starting with PeopleSoft, when you hear PeopleSoft, you think people. I was actually implementing PeopleSoft in the mid 90s when I was with a large management consulting firm and that stuff was going like hotcakes, you could not get enough PeopleSoft at that time. Global organizations, Fortune 500 companies, were moving from their customized mainframe systems onto ERPs — that had started in the 80s and even earlier.
When I started my career was during that time where the ERPs were just booming. Especially PeopleSoft was very hot, and as the name sort of insinuates, the focus was around HR, but they also have financials and really good financial software, and they targeted certain industries, higher education, services kinds of companies. Not so much on the inventory side, which I'm going to come back to in a minute.
Then you had JD Edwards, which was written and built by Ed McVaney, a gentleman from Nebraska. Now of course, in Denver he actually just recently passed. And as a little side note, we're always trying to figure out what's going on in the market and some of his folks and his family and several other hundred people have started a new business called Nextworld. So, you had OneWorld, now you have Nextworld.
Shawn: So, add in his partners, the J and the D, the Edwards, the other gentleman and him wrote the JD Edwards package on the midrange database and operating system, I won't get into a lot of technicalities, but really focused around manufacturing.
So, we had all manufacturing, inventory, bill of materials, routings, all this stuff that has to do with manufacturing and then financials.
And so, both PeopleSoft and JD Edwards were public. And it was interesting because in the late 90s there was a shift — I could tell several stories, we don't have time for that for now, if you want to, I'll do it later – but, ultimately what happened was there was a really nice compliment of the customer segment and the products between PeopleSoft and JD Edwards.
I'll never forget the then CEO of JD Edwards describing this and basically saying “yeah, we both do financials, but that's really about it.” And that was really true. There was maybe a little bit of overlap, too, but those segments made sense to bring together, manufacturing, inventory, product-based companies, services-based companies, nonprofit, government — both applications actually had pretty big government, local, state and federal customers.
But you brought that together and you had this really nice mix, and it was interesting because the cultures were very different.
You had a Pleasanton, CA based company and a Denver, CO based company, so the cultures were a little bit different, but it worked, and then, Oracle came in and swallowed them in maybe 2013 or 2014.
And so that was that was how PeopleSoft and JD Edwards came together first in what I would consider to be a very — I experienced with my own eyes that it was a very deliberate process. How do we do this? How do we do that? How do we keep employees? How do we keep offices?
And then Oracle sort of solved — I think my view was solved this happening. Craig Conway, who is the PeopleSoft CEO. I remember he and a gentleman from Oracle, the CEO there, were having interesting public exchanges about how much they disliked each other.
Juliette: Oh, interesting.
Shawn: So, Larry Ellison ended up winning that one. But anyway, so then Oracle ended up buying PeopleSoft, which had just bought JD Edwards.
So, the idea there was that Oracle was going to fuse all the good parts of all of these apps together in a product called Fusion, and that basically has led to what we now call Cloud ERP at Oracle.
So, sort of taking best practices and different chunks of code and logic and all kinds of methodologies and stuff that all three firms, all three companies, had learned and tons and tons and tons of customers put it all into one. Now that's called cloud ERP.
So, there's a little bit of the history and so now you've got Oracle as people saw, JD Edwards, Oracle E-Business Suite like we talked about last week, and then the Cloud Solutions, Cloud ERP, Cloud HCM, several others, EPM, it goes on and on and on — transportation management, many different applications that Oracle has purchased over the years, but that's sort of the history in a nutshell, with PeopleSoft and JD Edwards.
Juliette: So, because I don't know that much about the software, it sounds like JD Edwards was created to make up where PeopleSoft left off and then when Oracle came in, they just took it to the next level. Is that right? To simplify it? If it can't be?
Shawn: Yeah, I think it's a good question.
You really had two completely separate companies. You had JD Edwards that had first written their application on the AS 400, which was not a mainframe but a midrange server, and this, the midrange server, those things are like tanks, they never go down. But then JD Edwards sort of realized they needed to write a product onto client server — sort of Microsoft based operating system – so they wrote OneWorld so you had world, which is the green screen. Then you have OneWorld which is more of their more recent client server base. The guy named Axel Allgeier was the lead principle on that. He was my boss at one point.
So great product and this is sort of 90s timeframe. So, you have all of this development and all the marketing partners, implementation partners — I think some of the implementation partners even signed up for this call, so text us if we're telling us what we're doing wrong or saying wrong, please — But you started this product that was being built for mid-sized businesses throughout the country, even the world, lots of customers.
Same thing on PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft was focused more on Fortune 500. So, we had — I was on an HP account for a while, many other bigger organizations were running PeopleSoft, their HR as well as their financials.
But remember at the end of the 90s we had this thing called Y2K where basically all the mainframes were going to die, the water was going to start pumping, was going to stop pumping, air conditioners were going to shut down and it was going to be cats and dogs raining, and all that stuff. So, there's this big movement towards ERP.
There was actually a big financial movement to pool these software applications together, so that they would be stronger as a more formidable competitor in the market. Because you got JD Edwards and PeopleSoft together could take on an SAP or even an Oracle.
So, they were totally separate, brought together and said, “Hey, now that we have two products. Let's share what we can between them, and then we'll go to market with whichever product sort of makes sense for each vendor.” That's way too much detail, but — so think of as two separate things that came together.
Juliette: OK, that is a great explanation, because it's a lot.
Shawn: Yeah, I know I just touched on a teeny-tiny bit, and I probably got a little bit of it wrong, but there you go.
Juliette: So, Quentin, you have some experience with PeopleSoft. In terms of what the current scene looks like for existing customers right now, can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Quentin: I absolutely can.
The current scene, what does that look like? Well, to sum it up, it's pretty stable, it's a great platform, it's been there for a long time. People that are on it are able to use it, but it's not going anywhere. It's been not going anywhere, particularly for many, many years, and so there's a little bit of uncertainty where the end of the path lays, where it's going to go in the end.
Is it going to end up on support? Or is there really going to be a 9.3 version for PeopleSoft? It's been stuck on 9.2 since 2013, June 2013 around there. And they announced that 9.3 was going to come out in 2016, and then they delayed that. And then maybe it was 2018, and now they've just taken 9.3 off the road map. It doesn't exist. There's no release date for it. They're not saying when they're going to release it, and so that's where customers are today. They’re on this platform, it's pretty stable, so they're like “OK, do we change? Do we not change? What do we do with this?” But it's working so they stay on it.
But some of the problems with that are that it's in the older support and maintenance model. They've got large fees to continue to maintain this, but they aren't necessarily seeing that value of an ERP with the new version, new functionality and big changes in architecture that we're seeing a lot of other ERP platforms, so that's the feel of it, and even some of these clients are on, say, contracts that scale with their revenue, so even if they aren't getting any value, if they grow, they're going to have to pay more. They have to pay for more licenses based on their revenue and then more support and maintenance fees even if they don't grow by any employees, and even if they contract, some of the cases they have a high watermark in their contracts, meaning that if they were doing really well in 2018 and the revenue was way up, they were paying for that. But if it went down substantially, even by half, they still have to pay the same amount that they were paying in 2018 today, and with the pandemic that has potentially increased by two or three-fold what they could be investing in their ERP, they have to invest that and they're not getting the value out of it. So, that's the downside that some of these clients are living with is that they're kind of stuck, they're just on the platform. It's not that that's bad — the functionality is good — but where do they go? What does the future look like for them? And so, they have a lot of uncertainty and they're — from a financial perspective — they're very stuck and they're paying for something and the value proposition is just not there anymore.
So, I could go into quite a bit of depth on that and what that turns into from a — what functionality are we going to need? Are there patches? Are we going to get a new feature that corrects this problem? Maybe you have to go to bolt-ons and they're having to invest in bolt-ons to connect to their ERP to get the functionality they need at a greater cost, and they're not getting the functionality out of the ERP that they need so, that being said, it's a good platform, but it's not so much on the functionality that exists in the tool today, it's where is it going and how do I mitigate that cost and how do I mitigate that functionality expansion that our technology needs of today demand? So, I think that's a good point on where they're at today and maybe some clients are great, they're in good shape they’ve got what they need, they've been on it for ten years, and they went from 9.1 to 9.2, so they're OK.
They went to a different model for updates between 9.1 and 9.2, so 9.2 has this incremental update. Their images — they can get some functionality and oracles been rolling out, like minor functionality, things that are supposedly innovative approaches to what they're doing.
But they have a chat bot. OK, that's great. We can chat and maybe that's very important, but it's not the automation and AI that you're getting some in some other platforms. So, it's little value but it can be useful in some cases, so Shawn, you may have some things to say about that as well.
Shawn: I think you're spot on. Juliette, it’s just like Quentin said, it's a tough position to be in. It's like if we go to the house analogy — which are terrible or whatever — if you live in a house that has asbestos or mold, you're screwed. You have to get it handled. And that’s not the case with PeopleSoft or JD Edwards, not even close. These are good products.
Just like you said, Oracle has said “we're going to support these products into the future.” And I was actually just looking on Oracle’s site to try to get the most up to date — and JD Edwards, for instance, latest update was looking at 2032 according to Oracle.com US assets lifetime support applications, which is a ginormous document out there. So, 2032? You have plenty of time.
SAP is sort of trying to keep comparability with these sorts of these dates also with their legacy products — I think we're going to talk about them in another call, so tune in for that.
So, you don't have to get off these things. They're supporting. And even — we had another client that was on an older version of an Oracle product that isn't going to be supported — And even then there's some good options in the market and third party support companies out there that'll say, “hey, you just pay us to do it and we'll do it.” And they're pretty cost effective, so it's not like you have to get off these things. It's not like they're a ticking time bomb. They're not. They're definitely not.
But when you start digging, and my wife loves it when I do that.
When you start digging underneath the bark and you start looking within there, it's exactly like you said, where it's like a lot of our clients want to extend their value to their vendors, their customers, their partners, whatever. And sometimes these tools don't have those types of integration capabilities to the next level. They just don't. Sometimes they don't have feature functions within them to do really complex things that have been solved with a more modern, whatever kind of application. But oftentimes you can find what you need, so it's not like the ticking time bomb, it's more like slowly going through life and at what point — we know there's a point in the future where support stops — but Oracle says we reserve the right to move it out. So, I think they are being customer driven. And that's good.
We talk about a lot of vendors on our calls, right? And I always say something where I'm like, “Oh, I probably shouldn't have said that.” So, I'm thinking, “should I say this?”
But here's the thing about Oracle, Oracle's about making money and by serving customers, providing great software that's solid blah blah blah all that stuff. But if there's a market, if there's customers that are willing to pay for support, Oracle is going to take it, because they also know there's other partners that will, too, but they're listening to their customers and the economics make sense. That's where things start to go off the rails is where the economics don't make sense. And let's say Oracle starts getting a huge adoption on their newer product, tons of customers. And they have to put more resources towards that than these other products that aren't necessarily being even positioned primarily in the market.
You can still buy them for partners, but when I talk to Oracle reps, they're selling us Oracle cloud or NetSuite, because that's the other piece of this equation is that Oracle purchased NetSuite which has tons of growth and is expanding like wildfire. So, does that start sucking more of Oracle’s resources away?
But it's still a small portion, frankly, of the overall Oracle picture. And then there's all kinds of other products, all kinds of transportation management and tons and tons of Oracle products. Not to mention their infrastructure that they've got a whole other side of the E-Business — we don't get into it that much, but there's storage and operating stuff, operating systems sort of things, and data center strategies.
So, the bottom line is, it's not a ticking time bomb. But, when you start digging underneath the covers and you start talking to users, they might not know what they don't know. “Oh, I want to have more flexible analytics and reporting right out of the app.” They might not say those things because they don't know that more is capable in say, a newer product. But you'll start to see indicators, so watch the indicators on your team on the software to determine, is there really major problems or not? Enough said.
Juliette: Well, so first thing, some companies may find that there isn't value in paying that money to keep it going. But then other people, their data is there, they're the people you know, their business runs on these software platforms, and it might be easier to just pay the money and keep it going for as long as possible, right?
Shawn: That is the fundamental issue. And Quentin and I can talk about this till we're literally red in the face because we do that every day, multiple times a day. Don't change if you don't have to. So, if you're running JD Edwards 9.3 or PeopleSoft — well, JD Edwards Enterprise 19.3 I think is the most recent version. And then PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.2. If you're running one of those products, you're on the most recent version, you're getting some enhancements, you’re getting updates. If you're paying for your support, security patches, regulatory updates, those kinds of things like they're coming through, then you really do have to say, “OK, is it worth the risk of switching? You would think that an ERP advisory firm would say that you should definitely get off, but we are the last ones to say that because we're the saps, not SAP. But we're the guys and gals that are stuck with the clients Darth Vader-ING us through their zoom like, “How could you have done this to me? This is the hardest project in the world.” Exactly, see it worked.
I saw that on — little meme — on LinkedIn yesterday about Darth Vader through zoom. It was quite cute, but it's true. And it's our necks that are on the line, so we really hope clients figure out what's the right thing to do.
But a third-party support provider — we've talked to a couple companies recently, both great firms — But they're like, “oh, you know, it's terrible with Oracle.” You really need to get these guys on a platform that we can support them, and it makes a lot of sense. They can save some money.
So, everybody’s got an angle. Oracle — one of our other clients just reaches out to us yesterday and was like, “You know, Oracle saying they got to pay off this back support in order to da da da.” — I'm like I don't know if that's true. I don't know. Let's negotiate. Everything’s a negotiation. But you really do have to look as we talk about — Juliette's probably more of an expert than Quentin and I on this because she's heard it so many times — you've really got to figure out what you need first and then look at the options and even see what the real options are because you might not be able to.
Juliette: Right, so with that said, you mentioned that the Oracle said that they would support these platforms through 2032. Well, with the option to push out if they're required to or needed to or beg to, what have you. So, what would your recommendations be if a company was doing great on these platforms and it's doing everything they need it to do? Would you recommend they stay and just cross their fingers and hope it's extended, or would you urge them when it gets closer to 2030 to really start digging and seeing about moving to a more modern ERP. What are your thoughts on that?
Shawn: Yeah Quentin, do you want to take that?
Quentin: Yeah, I can talk to this a little bit.
So, I think what it's doing by having that continued support is it's keeping the option open for organizations that are on it. It's giving them a road forward, but that road is a dead end. They're going to continue down this road and eventually it's going to hit a dead-end.
But it is affording them the opportunity — maybe it's now, maybe it's in five years — to look at their options to do that analysis of what their current needs are and to do a thorough selection and a proper migration and implementation of a new path. And at some point, Oracle may come back and say, “you have to. We're going to end up like these things.” Although they'll give you that road again, the dead-end road.
They are going to end of life at some point, and they're not going to invest tons and tons and tons into these new versions of these products when they have their go forward platforms that are not JD Edwards and not PeopleSoft.
That being said, the time to look is now actually it's to start looking now at what your needs are, not necessarily to move.
But, as Shawn was saying a little bit about the negotiation, your end contracts — there are maybe a couple options — but Oracle is not really interested in renegotiating these contracts because it's only going to lose money for them. And with that road debt ending in ten years, or potentially you know rolling ten years.
They have the option open to — well, if they lose a little bit of income here, that's OK, but they're not really renegotiating. We've talked to them a little bit. We've talked to other organizations that are on these platforms and Oracle’s, just like, “well, you're in the contract. That's what it says. You're going to keep it up that way up.”
So, it's time to look now. I would suggest looking now, not necessarily moving right now. You have to really assess that and then you know depending upon your needs and your functionality, maybe you can stay on it for another five or even ten years. It's really if it's delivering enough today. Because it's not going to get those huge overhauls, you're not going to get like the bells and whistles of an ecommerce platform inside of these tools that really does what some others are doing today — and integration and things like that.
But it's good enough. It's great, it's stable, it can hold on if the investment is there, so if you're willing to pay those maintenance and support costs, if you're willing to have that escalation of license fee based on your contract model and the investment is sound for you, and it's safer and more cost effective to stay than to go through the costs, risks, change management of a move to a new ERP. But you can plan that very well and mitigate that over a longer time period given that you have the 10-year rolling support window.
There's a few other things, too. There is the possibility of maybe going to one of these other support agencies and cutting some costs and yet staying on the platform for another few years, such as Rimini Street. They do outside support and maintenance of Oracle, so you don't have to be on the latest version. You don't have to continue to pay the prices. You won't get any updates past this point, but if you're already on a stable platform that's providing your needs, you're in pretty good shape. And they'll continue to support you for a fraction of the cost. So, some good options.
Shawn: Yeah, you can get some security updates and some other stuff too.
So, the only other thing I would add to what you're saying, Quentin, is to remember there is a migration path, too, with Oracle and that is the Cloud ERP or NetSuite.
So yes, it's going to be a heavy lift to get from one to the other. It's different organizations that are going to sell it, and you're going to be like, “well, I'm buying it from Oracle.” Like, yeah, right. That's like you bought gas from Shell in Denver and so you go to the shell in Texas in Fort Worth and they should know you. No, it's not like that, even though it's the same name, it's totally different organizations, which is actually kind of good, because you can pit them against each other a little bit if you need to.
But that is one thing I will say that building a Fusion platform for Oracle was a very big undertaking. Billions and billions of development dollars went into building the next generation platform. It's now called Oracle Cloud ERP, HDM, all that — and there's the local cloud, OCI Integrations or CI? What is the I again? Not infrastructure. I think it's integration.
But there's a ton of tools in that stack that are next generation applications.
So, like I said, I really have a lot of respect for Oracle because they took the responsibility to say, “OK, we have all these legacy customers. We have to give them an option for something we move to.” So, there are options out there for sure, a couple really good options.
But as usual, don't do it unless you have to.
Quentin: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – OCI.
Shawn: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, exactly.
Juliette: So, with that, Shawn — and I'm going to ask this to both you and Quentin — Is there an easy way to upgrade from PeopleSoft and JD Edwards? Is the natural progression to the Fusion? Or to stay with that? Or to find something completely different? Can you speak to the different options that are available to people that are on the call today or just in general if someone wants to upgrade to a more modern ERP platform?
Shawn: Yeah, tough question.
Quentin: Maybe I'll start off there.
Shawn: Well, no, that's OK. I'm just kidding because any vendor has a migration path. We're talking about a lot of those vendors this summer. And sometimes that migration path is we have tools where we can take your database and we can pull the data out and we can put it into the new apps database. Snap the fingers and it's done.
Beware of the shaking hands and it just works. Very rarely is it that easy, but there are some instances where there are tools that make the upgrades very seamless.
And then there's other instances where the upgrade is: we'll just give you a discount on the new software, but you've got to pay for all the services. So, it's not really an upgrade, it's a whole reimplementation. But they give you a break on the software calls.
So, for everybody on this call, the one thing I can absolutely say is that you actually have a lot of negotiation power when you start talking about these upgrade options with Oracle. You really, really do.
But it may make you have to go out and actually look at what some of the options are. You can't just say, “I'm going to leave, so you better give me a better deal.” They're going to say “Why? No.” You have to ask Oracle 5 times before they finally say yes to practically anything, because they know how to make money. It's just the truth which, again, I have a lot of respect for that.
But there is a path for sure, and I'm sure there's even services firms out there that specialize in taking customers from PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud or JD Edwards to Oracle Cloud, or there's connectors.
Maybe you don't even have to get off of one of these legacy apps and you can leverage cloud for something else — Our digital marketing Manager was doing some research for this call. You mentioned that — There's just some recent announcements about plug JDE into Oracle Cloud, and that's not just Oracle cloud at corporate and JDE at a branch. That's an option too, but the path to get there, there are certain things that can be done to make it easier, but it's not like I'm going to upgrade office to the next version by just clicking the download button — it isn’t anything like that. Anybody who's telling you that you need to call their bluff and say, “I don't think that's true. Put that in a contract in writing that that's what you're going to do for me.”
That’s a big message to anybody out in the area that's looking at these upgrades. It's not easy, it's not.
That's across any app, but definitely JDE and PeopleSoft up to either cloud ERP or NetSuite. It's not going to be like the Clapper. Maybe that's what we need to invent. Quentin is the Clapper for ERP.
Quentin: Great, that be great.
Shawn: And then I think your second question was sort of about options.
Shawn: There are really good options in the market. One thing we like to look at, especially for PeopleSoft customers — you can't not talk about Workday, come on, that's the folks from PeopleSoft when they left PeopleSoft, they basically started Workday, and it's a ground up pure SAS solution. Very, very modern platform, yadda yadda yadda, costs a lot of money and time, but it's doable for certain cases. It's a good product. We've selected it once this year. We're evaluating another project right now. We like that product, so it feels sort of acts like a like PeopleSoft, which is more people oriented, which is great.
So, that's definitely a good product to look at, and we've talked a little bit about NetSuite and there's other product intensive companies, the N-force solutions are really good. There's some services and apps that they have or apps for services, unit 4 for services coming up intact on the lower end for financials. There's some manufacturing specific solutions that are out there too. There's even like the the Nextworld that the JD Edwards folks are really developing a nice product from the ground up there — they're starting to get more of an install base that's exciting.
Acumatica is growing and expanding, so it's — one of my clients yesterday said something to me and I was standing in a Williams-Sonoma wearing a mask and I was actually wearing gloves of all things. I'm trying to talk to this guy and he said, “You know, I had a CIO at a large Fortune 50 company that every year he would go to market with a custom billing system that we — or no, a warehouse management system we had written – so, he would go and just talk to vendors every three years and say, “Hey, what do you got? Is it better than what we have?” And so, you sort of know at that point what's out there. And once you know, then you know.
Instead of wondering – and we've seen that at this client we're working at right now that's a billion dollars on this PeopleSoft contract that Quentin is doing a great job for them — they had talked to some vendors and they had gotten some information, but they started to realize they didn't know what was really going on out there, so they reached out to us saying, “Hey, can you just help us figure out what's going on? Take us through sort of a needs analysis and what could we do that would help? And what's in the market? And is there a case for change or not?”
And it was very interesting going through that process because at one point I was like, “Are we really adding that much more?” Because they've had all these conversations. They know all the vendors, too, and they've talked to them all. They've gotten numbers and our numbers were a little bit different than the vendors numbers, and I just sort of realized that when you’re doing something for so long, it's just so easy to get stuck in it and you can't take the viewpoint of, “What's out there?”
We see a lot of stuff every day and it's real. We're not academic heads in the sky pretending like we know everything, sometimes we don't know. I mean every day I'm like, “Gosh I wish I would have known what I knew yesterday today.” I do know what I know today from yesterday, but I wish I knew more so I could help folks out more. And when you start seeing that view where our client was able to say, I really see that I thought my users are really happy with the product and they're happy. But there are some things going on that they could use some help with.
There is another angle on our existing contract that we can take because we can go and look at some of these other products, some of the tier two's, too, not just the tier ones. And that could really make a difference for our organization. And it's cool. That's a good conversation to start, because remember the other thing I'll say as I am yammering on and on about this topic. But one of the most important things I could say is “Look you're here, and signing a contract is here, there's a lot of steps that you can take to even decide if you should sign a contract. So, take a couple of those first steps. Evaluate. Talk to some vendors, they're probably going to bombard you. Remember all of our best practices. Write up what your needs are, get some agreement on the stakeholders, then start talking to the vendors because they hammer you. But do those couple steps up front and just start doing a little bit of research and you'll be able to figure out pretty soon, whoa, this makes a lot of sense or whoa, this is terrible. So, take those first gradient steps for yourself to get informed.” That's what I would say.
Juliette: Quentin, can you speak a little bit to that from your experience?
Quentin: You know, I think Shawn took it at the big picture approach to upgrades and migrating and what legacy software is.
I'm much more of a technical person, so I dive into what it actually takes to migrate or to upgrade these platforms.
And it's very different depending upon where you're at. If you're on PeopleSoft 9.1, upgrading to 9.2 is basically like reimplementing it. It's not just hit a button or even do a bunch of things. There's a little less data migration because the architecture is the same there's a little less risk involved with it, but it's a huge cost, a lot of resources, and it's not easy, and that's just upgrading the same platform to the new one. And that's just an upgrade.
If you're on 9.2, they've made it a little bit easier. They have the PeopleSoft update manager. They have the change management in it; it can do a comparison, but it still takes resources, it still takes those dedicated technical people to go through the process to build a virtual environment, to run all of that and then to apply the patches to make sure that everything is functional. Still, upgrading is a big deal even when they've made it so much easier, and that's been around for several years. That’s been around since 9.2 was released is this PUM, PeopleSoft Update Manager.
So that's one way, but if you're not upgrading or migrating to the same platform and you're going to something completely separate, there are a lot of options out there, but it's never easy. You can move away.
Probably your biggest area that you have to watch out for isn’t actually the platform itself — although you should select the right platform for your needs — it's the data migration side of things. So, when you're changing, you have to make sure that your data can go into the new system, so there's options out there, we didn't mention Microsoft, but Microsoft has some pretty decent platforms out there and is a good comparison. And there are paths, that aren't Oracle, for Oracle products. But again, it's a complete reimplementation to a certain degree. Options are available, none of which are easy. So, plan well, get all your ducks in a row, and make sure you have the right platform, and you know what you need, as Shawn said.
So, there's that. But maybe you don't upgrade. Maybe you don't migrate or upgrade, you stay where you are, but you change the dynamics of how you're handling your ERP, and so instead of upgrading or migrating, your options are reinventing your support, re-evaluating whether you're using it on-premise, maybe you put it in the cloud so you have a reduced technical infrastructure on site so there are some changes you can do that aren't upgrading or really changing platforms or migrating but can reduce your overhead and again, support options that can support it, even if you're not going directly to Oracle, there are things like that that are available.
Juliette: So, with what you just mentioned? Would that be an outside support company that you would hire?
Quentin: Yeah, I mentioned Rimini Street earlier and they do support not only for Oracle products, SAP, and other antiquated technology, they'll actually support PeopleSoft back to I think 7.X version. Maybe it's 7.1 up to current additions so they do older platform support, even if the organization isn't supporting it anymore.
Quentin: Even if you want to just stay on your platform, and it’s end of life or you just don't want to pay your maintenance and support fees anymore, you can just end off on that and they'll continue to support you and they do a great job. They really know the platforms and really know how to handle these things so that there are some options even if you don't want to migrate. But again, look at it. Look at if you need to do that.
Shawn: Yeah, and there's other firms, Spinnaker I know is another one. There are a couple others out there, definitely just Oracle support and you'll find some stuff.
But the other piece, too, Quentin, is — it may even be Juliette to your question about just how do I optimize support — maybe you do decide to move your deployment from on-premise to in the cloud, meaning you go to a data center and you set up your servers there. So at least there's more physical security in place. Or you go to a partner that can do some things. Or even for a client I'm thinking of, having a partner who is a development partner that's engaged that's keeping your application fresh if users have issues and stuff, just having an external partner that can help you with your support.
So, the most important thing is just look at it understand what it is that you really need and make sure that you have it in place. It's sort of like a — all my analogies are terrible but — like a festering tooth or like an ingrown toenail, the more you leave it, the more it hurts, so stop that, knock that off. Let's really look at what's there.
There's lots of options out there for sure and just find the one that that makes the most sense.
Juliette: That's perfect. We’ll let me ask you, I think we've come to the end of our call today, our time.
But any parting words other than “don't change if you don't have to,” which should be our motto, right? Are there any parting words you'd like to share with everyone just to kind of end our call for today?
Shawn: I can start, Quentin, and then definitely take it.
Again, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft are great products. They rose from many other products that were written in the 80s and the 70s, even the 90s that didn't go anywhere. These products rose to the top for a reason.
So, they're really good, solid products and there are great partners that are providing great services behind these products still.
I was just in communication with one yesterday trying to find out what's really going on here. So, great partners out there, great support options. We've talked about a couple of them. So, you really don't have to be keeping up at night. You don't have to be keeping this problem up at night, thinking about it, don't do that. It's not worth it.
Just take a look again at where things are at, what pain points you’re actually going through, what is the most likely migration process? We got a lot of time and in five years, who knows what's going to happen?
I will tell you that the one thing you need to look at once a week is just or maybe even once a month, maybe it's even once a year is to check in with your Oracle reps, check in online, see what the new latest and greatest sort of news is so that you have some awareness. Maybe go to a conference once conferences start back up, or we can zoom I guess, but talk to other folks that are on these products.
You can always talk to us like we said, we try to keep our knowledge in real time across all the products we work with which is all of them, but we know people that know, that's the thing that we do is we know people. We can make a call or a text and say, “Hey what do we do about fill in the blank?”
And so let us know for sure — that's the thing I would say, is just be in the know with these two products, you don't have to be in like the fire, you're not in the Ring of Fire with these products yet, like you are with some of the versions of Oracle E-Business Suite that we talked about last week.
We're not there if you're on a newer version for sure with Oracle or with JD Edwards and PeopleSoft with the newer version.
So, if you're on the older version, that's another story, but just get the information so you're informed, so that you can, just like Quentin said, have a proactive plan for where your trajectory is with these apps.
Juliette: That's right.
Quentin: I would just add to that, if you are on one of these platforms and working with Oracle, talk to your Oracle Rep before you make a big change. Just talk to them. See what options you have with Oracle themselves. Maybe they are willing to negotiate. Don't just go, “Oh, they're not going to talk to us.” You may have to do it a few times. They're not just going to give you something for free if they can avoid it, but if you give them incentive, if you work with them, you may have some options there.
So maybe you do need to look at some other options, but if you talk with your Oracle Rep and you go through what your options are with them, maybe you can come up with something to not have to go through a larger migration right now, or you can at least get some better terms or something like that. So, I would just say keep the communication open, that can be helpful.
Juliette: Yep, buy yourself a little extra time when you can. That’s a lot of good information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise. As always, I appreciate it.
Shawn: You bet.
Quentin: You're welcome.
Juliette: Thank you everyone for joining us for today's call. Please let us know if you have any questions.
We're happy to help in any way we can reach out by email, phone call. Just let us know and we're happy to help. Please join us for our next call. It's scheduled for Wednesday, May 27th. We will continue our legacy software review focusing on Microsoft. Please go to our website erpadvisorsgroup.com for more details and to register.
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