Vita Group Harness JD Edwards 9.2 On Premise, To Automate Business Processes And Improve Productivity.
Vita Group is a publicly listed, leading Australian retailer, with more than 1,600 employees spread over more than 120 locations, and annual revenue of $753.7M (at 30 June 2019).
Their goal is to enhance their customers’ way of life through the two key industries in which they operate; information and communications technology (through their more than 100 Telstra retail stores and business technology centres and their own proprietary Sprout accessories brand, stocked in more than 300 retail locations Australia-wide); and skin health and wellness (through their Artisan Aesthetic Clinics brand and network of non-branded aesthetic clinics).
For the IT team, their job is to deliver connectivity, information and a solid IT foundation that underpins and supports the success of this diversified business.
THE JD EDWARDS UPGRADE PROJECT
Vita Group have been using Ndevr’s services for over two decades, and this is the second major JD Edwards upgrade project delivered by Ndevr for the Vita Group business.
Long time JD Edwards users, 9.1 has been supporting Vita Group’s business, on premise, for around 10 years, however both the ERP and hardware had reached “end of life” and were in need of upgrading.
“It’s been around a decade since Ndevr delivered the last major JD Edwards (9.1) upgrade for Vita Group, and thanks to the new continuous delivery model of JDE 9.2, we have the option to keep the platform up to date going forwards at a pace that suits our business, and we avoid the need for major upgrades”
UPGRADE OBJECTIVES AND RUNNING JD EDWARDS ON PREMISE
Vita Group run their JD Edwards system on-premise because it better suits their business. JD Edwards 9.2 can be run in the environment of your choice (Cloud/ On-Premise/ Hybrid) while still enabling you to easily take advantage of the continual update and enhancement releases from Oracle.
This was a ‘like for like’ upgrade as far as possible, with the upgrade enabling Vita Group to standardise their JDE Architecture.
The key objectives of the upgrade project were to:
- Upgrade JDE Application 9.1 to 9.2 Update 3
- Upgrade the JDE Tools Release from 18.104.22.168 to 22.214.171.124
- Upgrade of 3rd party ancillary systems
- Standardise Vita Group’s JDE architecture
- Synchronise credentials implemented (JDE security integrated with Active Directory)
JD EDWARDS ORCHESTRATOR FEATURE ENABLING AUTOMATION
“Clearly if you can automate a time consuming, complex, or routine administrative task in your day, then you’re going to increase the overall productivity in the business, and happiness within your team” said Michael Mortensen, Enterprise Solutions Manager at Vita Group.
“There are significant technology enhancements in JDE 9.2 that will enable us to increase the levels of automation across our business, which is something our people have been eager to do for quite some time.
The Orchestrator and CafeOne features of JDE 9.2 are simple to use, and that it is going to enable real citizen developer type activity, allowing our people to streamline all those processes, and implement business improvements for themselves, without adding to the IT teams general workload said Michael.
Ndevr has trained Vita Group’s team on how to use the new tools, including how to automate processes for themselves. “Next it’s just a matter of lining up all the automation ideas and projects the business has been asking for and executing them. We are certain that as we start automating and improving processes, more and more projects will come out of the woodwork, so we’re very excited to get this level of citizen development in place,” said Michael.
Clearly if you can automate a time consuming, complex, or routine administrative task in your day, then you’re going to increase the overall productivity in the business, and happiness within your team”
ON THE UPGRADE
ERP upgrades typically have a major impact on operations which is felt by most business end users, but this simply wasn’t the case.
Daryl Revell, who is the Vita Group ERP Project Lead, explained, “we’ve been working with Ndevr for many years, and they understand that business impact is clearly something to be avoided. As they’ve done an upgrade for us before, and delivered several 9.2 upgrades for other customers, they were able to provide a clear upgrade path with complete risk mitigation. They understand our business and the software really well, so, we went into the project with confidence that disruption would be minimised.”
Delivery was phased and commenced with the design and establishment of project infrastructure; ‘bubble’ networking and JDE install; the conclusion of in-progress work and the initial JDE upgrade and retrofit. This provided the platform for the retrofit of configurable changes in the application; retrofit of JDE modifications and 3rd party applications; and the transfer of the inflight development work into the upgraded JDE system for further development.
Multiple data conversion trials were executed resulting in a proven process which produced reliably converted data into the new system. The plan was refined in readiness for execution at Cutover.
After System and User Acceptance test phases were completed, the majority of readiness for cutover to Live was able to take place ahead of schedule.
“This was a ‘like for like’ upgrade as far as possible; however, there was a distinct need to continue with certain integration work and transfer this to the new JDE version at the appropriate stage, explained Daryl.”
“We’ve been working with Ndevr for many years, and they understand that business impact is clearly something to be avoided. As they’ve done an upgrade for us before, and delivered several 9.2 upgrades for other customers, they were able to provide a clear upgrade path with complete risk mitigation. They understand our business and the software really well, so, we went into the project with confidence that disruption would be minimised.”
“This has been a fantastic project for us. Despite the obvious scale and complexity we have needed to navigate with the Ndevr team, the overall change management impact to the business was minimal. Other than those directly involved with the project, whose efforts are very much appreciated, the transition was frictionless, and we are now experiencing all the benefits of the latest technology.”
“The team at Ndevr were, as usual, great to work with. We’ve been working with Ndevr for over two decades now, so they understand our business and our people really well. We find them to be experienced, very diligent and detailed and they know the software like the back of their hands.”
The Future And Taking Advantage Of The Benefits
JD Edwards 9.2 has a clear ongoing support roadmap from Oracle out to 2031, through Oracle’s applications unlimited policy, which ensures that Vita Group will be able to keep using the solution in the way that suits their business for the foreseeable future, and possibly longer.
Vita Group’s on-premise deployment model is no barrier to the business being able to take advantage of the continual product enhancements that are rolled out by Oracle 3 or 4 times a year.
Justin explained, “Oracle’s continual, incremental enhancement delivery model for JDE 9.2 ensures our ERP strategy and investments are secured into the foreseeable future, and with help from Ndevr, through their Continuously Code Current Service, we have the option to apply those updates and maintain currency to a time table that suits our business, without having to undertake major ERP projects again.”
The ability to automate and streamline processes means that the business will become more productive, and able to achieve more as we go forwards into the future.