Syntax Vice President Talks JD Edwards, Fusion and Protecting Your ERP Investment

Gary Shaffran, Senior Vice President at Syntax, talks about the unique aspects of working with JD Edwards in today’s ERP marketplace.

Syntax has been providing small, medium and large businesses across North America world-class IT solutions for over 40 years. Specializing in JD Edwards ERP implementations, upgrades, training, cloud computing and managed services, Syntax offers its customers a high-performance IT environment for their core business applications.

Why JD Edwards?

Oracle’s JD Edwards brings a unique value proposition to the table. Shaffran says, “JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is one of the few platforms—maybe the only platform on the planet—that scales so seamlessly between smaller organizations and large ones. It offers more choice of databases, operating systems, and hardware to allow organizations to expand and adapt their IT solutions to meet business requirements.” Shaffran has been with Syntax for over 30 years, and has held many positions with the company. He currently oversees Syntax’s JD Edwards consulting practice and the company’s relationship with Oracle.

JD Edwards delivers over 80 application modules to support a diverse set of business processes and key industry solutions such as Consumer Package Goods, Manufacturing, Asset Intensive, and Projects & Services. “What these organizations may have in common, besides industry specialties, is that they require the ability to perform the ‘MULTI’s’: multi-company, multi-location, multi-currency, on top of other business requirements that many other platforms may struggle with.”

With a long history of helping customers implement and upgrade their JD Edwards software, Shaffran adds that what makes JD Edwards so distinctive is its inherent architecture.

“It truly is built to be changed over time,” he says. “Through its flexible table structure you can make configuration changes that don’t require the business to stop in order for you to make processing adjustments or respond to external challenges.”

Since JD Edwards was acquired by Oracle in 2005, there have been 21 releases of the software, including 6 JD Edwards Enterprise One application releases, 11 JD Edwards EnterpriseOne tools announcements, and 4 JD Edwards World releases.

How does JD Edwards respond to the mobility demands of today’s businesses?

JD Edwards has seized the initiative in multi-platform mobility computing for ERP. JD Edwards was the first ERP application to run entirely on an iPad, with specialized modules that run exclusively on the tablet.

“Very shortly you’re going to see integration of the iPad camera and mapping capabilities with EnterpriseOne. JD Edwards’ mobile solution investments will continue to benefit customers for years to come.” says Shaffran.

How does Oracle Fusion affect JD Edwards?

In 2010, Oracle officially announced its open-standards-based Fusion Applications. Shaffran explains that JD Edwards customers can benefit from these applications through integration options to specific modules offering functionality that may not be supported in JD Edwards.

“At the same time, JD Edwards investment protection is there for the very, very long term,” says Shaffran. “Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, has recently emphasized the company’s strong commitment to the JD Edwards product line. There is already a development and support roadmap for the software that goes out to 2025. And with its thousands of satisfied customers, it is clearly a strategic solution for the future.”

A Focus on Training

“We believe that an investment in training is one of the core elements in protecting your investment in your ERP software,” Shaffran says. “If you don’t have a program to properly train your users, not only at the beginning, but to continue training them over time, you risk having the value of your software asset depreciate.”

In Shaffran’s experience, it is not uncommon to see users forget capabilities, in some cases, even forgetting that they own entire modules. He strongly advocates having a training program which guarantees that users are kept current on the capabilities of the software.

Syntax is an Oracle University Education Partner and offers several types of training programs, some of which can be held directly at customer locations. “We design unique training programs for each implementation or upgrade and build a plan to protect our customers’ long-term investment.”

Shaffran also strongly encourages his customers to implement tools such as Oracle’s User Productivity Kit (UPK). UPK, a content development, deployment, and maintenance platform, can provide automated training in your environment the system will not only train users, but then test them, report on their scores and report on how much use they’ve made of the training material. It can also lower ongoing support costs through its just-in-time, in-app, ‘Do It’ assistance capabilities.

Why JD Edwards customers are upgrading their software

Shaffran says, “It’s a very exciting time for JD Edwards customers who can continue to upgrade to take advantage of new functionality, strategic reporting and overall greater visibility and control over key business processes.”
Shaffran states that customers protect the initial investment they made in JD Edwards and expand on the return on that investment by taking advantage of the new functionality and new technology that comes into play. “When you buy JD Edwards, you pay maintenance every year, as you do on all ERP applications. Those maintenance dollars entitle you to benefit from the continuous enhancements that Oracle provides.”

Syntax has been a JD Edwards reseller for over 15 years and recognized early on that the process for upgrading had to be easy for customers and cost-controlled. “We’ve been working hand in glove with Oracle to communicate to customers upgrade methodologies and strategies for containing costs and achieving predictable outcomes in very reasonable periods of time. In fact, we deliver, on Oracle’s behalf, the 100 Day Upgrade Workshop, where JD Edwards customers deep-dive with us for an entire day on how you accomplish this. ”

Thinking about upgrading?

Syntax’s experienced team of JD Edwards specialists can give you critical guidance, training and an upgrade methodology specially tailored to your organization’s unique requirements. Learn more about how Syntax can help you get the most out of your JD Edwards upgrade investment.

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