A Surprising Risk to Your Operations: It’s the Aging JDE Workforce

When JD Edwards launched its flagship ERP product, Jimmy Carter was president, Fleetwood Mac songs dominated the charts, and the internet was more concept than reality. The enduring nature of the software is undoubtedly a testament to its value over the past nearly five decades. However, as the ERP product has matured, the people that know most about it have as well.

Most knowledgeable product experts have been working with JDE since the 1990s or early 2000s, and they’re nearing retirement. As they matriculate, there are very few—if any—younger JDE systems admins, business analysts, developers or IT support staff coming up to fill their spots.

The aging of the JDE workforce presents a real, and perhaps underestimated, risk to companies reliant on the software. But the natural transition also provides an opportunity to prepare your organization for an eventual move to the cloud and tee up a next-generation workforce that can lead you into the future.

A pressing situation

Nearly everyone currently supporting the JDE ERP ecosystem started because they worked for a company that utilized the software or for a management consulting firm that branched into ERP implementations. They may have already been 10 or 15 years into their career when they first encountered the product, and that was likely 20 years ago. For companies using JDE, this means a couple of things.

First, your staff that works with or supports your ERP is likely in their mid-50s or even already in their 60s. They have a wealth of experience, but they’re also expensive—at least relative to a more junior person. As previously noted, your JDE experts may also be considering retirement within the next five to 10 years. To be sure, Oracle is providing another decade of enhancements and support for its JDE product. However, if you’re not on the current release, then you could end up short-staffed internally and without access to Oracle support as your own people exit.

This brings me to the second issue. As the generation familiar with JDE leaves, there isn’t a deep bench of newly minted JDE experts. Today, people considering IT and business analyst roles are focused on cloud-based products, and very few—if any— are specializing in older, on-prem ERP software systems. Oracle is also prioritizing the cloud for its R&D. So, the risk here is two-fold—maintaining your current level of internal expertise is only getting more expensive. And when that cohort leaves, you don’t have many options for new hires.

Why JDE Managed Services make sense

The risk of a less-than-supported ERP system to a company with national or global operations should be enough to keep most executives up at night. Fortunately, JDE Managed Services offers a safety net that can keep companies on JDE successfully supported while also teeing them up for a future in the cloud.

Consider that in a recent survey, IT directors noted that they spend two-thirds of their time on product maintenance—just “keeping the lights on”—and only one-third of their time on transformation projects and growth. It’s an equation that most organizations would like to reverse. With CSS’s managed service model, you can:

  • Pay for only the support you need. Fractional support options ensure that you get the level of JDE expertise and resources that your company requires without incurring the costs and constraints that come with full-time employees, such as benefits, vacation, and sick leave.

 

  • Improve your business efficiency. In addition to cost savings related to FTEs, Managed Services can also ensure you’re getting the most out of your existing JDE software. CSS experts have been working with the product for decades, and they understand how to make your system and processes even more competitive. They remain current on the software, tools, features and functionality to Oracle continues to add to JDE.

 

  • Focus on transformation and growth. With the future in the cloud, our Managed Services strategy can help you maintain your on-prem JDE now while also readying your organization for what’s next. We can help assess a JDE cloud migration path and plan for what works best for your company, whether that’s an incremental cloud surround approach that incorporates JDE, a transition made up of larger phases or even a “big bang.”

Your on-prem JDE ERP has worked hard for your company, and so have the employees supporting it. As the latter moves into their next life phase, you should consider the next logical steps for your company. Our JDE Managed Services can certainly provide the support and resources you need to maintain your operations without disruption and ensure that you’re ready for a brighter tomorrow.

Interested in learning more about how CSS Managed Services can help your company? Connect with us.

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