Oracle Works On Project X, Updates JD Edwards World

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Oracle is making good on another Applications Unlimited promise with the general release of an updated JD Edwards World application next week.

The company will talk more of this news and of its big-bang Project X applications integration road map next week at Collaborate 07.

Project X is expected to get more common business processes running across Oracle's rather, ahem, diverse application portfolio. By sharing more and more code and business processes over time, Oracle's game plan sounds not at all unlike the successor to Microsoft's old Project Green ERP convergence road map. Project Green was rolled out with much fanfare a few years ago, then soft pedaled subsequently.

Check in later today for more on "X," but in the meantime, back to JD Edwards World. The fact that Oracle has come out with what it calls the first major update in a decade to this venerable AS/400 (er, iSeries) lineup is significant.

In fact, several JD Edwards partners over the past year have told CRN that they're getting more face time and responsiveness from Oracle than they ever saw from PeopleSoft, which was in the process of buying JD Edwards when Oracle swooped in to buy them both three years ago.

JD Edwards World A9.1 sports a new, optional, Java-based graphical user interface for those who want point and click and move off the venerable green screen (which also remains.) There's also a new SOA layer to ease integration with IBM WebSphere or Oracle Fusion middleware, says John Schiff, vice president and GM of JDE World.

"World" remains strong in manufacturing and distribution and now adds a new services and warranty module, and lets customer better manage returns and repair processes he said. It's not like it's winning net new customers, but the universe of IBM AS/400/iSeries users remains large. And loyal.

"World" is JD Edwards original AS/400 product and this is the first major release in a decade. It adds an optional Java-based user interface (the green screen remains if you want it) and a new SOA layer to ease integration with IBM WebSphere or Oracle Fusion middleware, said John Schiff, vice president and general manager JDE World.

There are also new downloadable tools to help legacy accounts analyze existing reports and applications, to determine which have been idle and can be archived and which need to be updated. "We help them understand where they have obsolete code, and this helps ease the upgrade," Schiff said.

Also here's a good little tidbit. Oracle is about to get a good deal close with former archenemy IBM, sources say. Of course, pragmatism forces congeniality, with Oracle stewardship of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, a good portion of Oracle apps users are also Big Blue accounts. Birdies tell me that IBM is about to do a lot more selling of Oracle wares, and we're not just talking about IBM Global Services here.

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