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Using VBCS to Replace JDE Customizations

JDE is a flexible and robust platform, and Oracle is working continuously to make it even better. The evolution of the platform over the past decade is a testament to the effort and attention being paid to the JDE community. It’s becoming easier all the time for users to get what they need through personalization of existing features instead of through true customization. But some organizations are still relying on custom development to get the functionality and processes they need. Here’s what we think needs to change.

Why Customization in JDE Is Problematic

Every time you create a customization, it becomes harder to upgrade from your current JDE instance. The greater the degree of customization, the harder it is to retrofit these customizations.  And make no mistake, when you upgrade, you need to test everything you customized. This includes any apps that integrate with existing data tables and structures as well as any custom tables you’ve created. 

Beyond the time consuming cost of testing, you may need to retrofit or redevelop the customized versions you’ve created. This can turn a JDE upgrade into a 6-12 month project depending on how big of a jump you have to make to get to the current version. 

What’s the Alternative to Doing Customization Directly in JDE?

The purpose of customization is usually to build custom logic or to create a better interface. Fortunately, there are alternatives that make it fast, simple, and affordable to get what you need without worrying about future upgrades breaking what you have built.

Orchestrator: The JDE Orchestrator has removed the need for many custom programs.  Orchestrations can be used to automate existing processes and perform custom logic with the push of a button. Now you don’t have to customize, you can personalize and configure. You also won’t have to regression test these personalizations. This modular approach is much more adaptable and takes far less time to build. By reducing your reliance on customizations, you make every future upgrade easier.

Form Extensions: Form Extensions allow you to easily place new fields on screens as needed and build more of the logic that you need with little or no code.In addition, Form Extensions can be used to call Orchestrations thereby giving end users even more flexibility to enhance JDE.

VBCS: The front end development has also become easier because you can actually do it outside of JDE. This is possible through adopting the use of Visual Builder Cloud Service for mobile and  progressive web apps. With this approach, you can build your own data structures, apps, and screens in VBCS and embed those back in JDE. 

On the JDE side, you can use External Forms that point to the VBCS application. This feature passes JDE credentials to the outside application. From a UI and security standpoint, these apps are integrated fully with JDE. The app communicates through orchestrations to get and update data from JDE. External forms can also be added to CafeOne layouts or EnterpriseOne pages for additional flexibility. 

Benefits of Developing Custom Apps for JDE in This Way

  • Easy development of modern, user-friendly UX/UI for screens and apps
  • Low code/no code development of orchestrations for the workflow and logic
  • Security and data integrity inherited from JDE
  • No need to worry about things breaking during upgrades

Why Switch to This Method Now?

There is a great deal of overhead related to having customizations in JDE. We worked with one client who had over 1000 customizations in JDE. They couldn’t even upgrade to the newest version of JDE without addressing this unwieldy legacy code. They ended up replacing all of this code with fewer than 20 customizations. Everything else was replaced with orchestrations, form extensions, and other options. Now, they can do upgrades every year instead of every 5-10 years.

Does Frequent Upgrading Really Matter in JDE?

Yes, even if it seems like an expense, it has a big upside (even if your current system seems to be doing alright for now). The best practice is to upgrade JDE once a year for the features. Otherwise, you are not leveraging what you are paying for. When you switch to a modular approach to customizing your ERP through orchestrations and VBCS, you can always access these new features with ease. In fact, we find our customers that use orchestrations quickly save more than enough in greater efficiency to pay for the cost of upgrades.

Some businesses seek to save money by eliminating their maintenance contract with Oracle. They assume that if what they have is currently working, they don’t need any new enhancements. Unfortunately, this is not true. Remember that some of these “enhancements” are security patches. New risks are identified DAILY and put into updates to secure critical data and operations. Since the ERP sits right at the core of the business, leaving it unprotected is too high a risk.

Want to replace costly JDE customization with easy app development? Contact us today.

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