Reporting from the Capgemini NL JD Edwards HQ: Maarten Stam.
Capgemini Netherlands JD Edwards Support: More than 20 years of successful Intellectual Property
At Capgemini, we have a suite of intellectual property modules that has been supported for more than 20 years and is still being actively developed!
Today JD Edwards is one of Oracle’s ERP packages, yet it was originally a product of the company with the same name: JD Edwards. The company was founded in 1977 in Colorado by Jack Thompson, Dan Gregory and C. Ed McVaney, who have lent their first names to name the company and their products. In the seventies, the company chiefly provided their customers with tailored solutions for the IBM terminals of the day, yet in the eighties, they developed their own full-fledged ERP suite. They named it JD Edwards World.
This ERP package, which is today still supported and sold by Oracle, was made for the AS/400, IBM’s terminal machine with the well-known black screens and green letters; the software of which is still able to run on the modern iterations of IBM’s systems. However, in the nineties, JD Edwards wanted to offer a more flexible suite of products that would be able to run on more than one type of machine. From this wish, JD Edwards OneWorld was born: an ERP system form Windows computers that was flexible enough to let the intensive computing necessary for ERP be done on a wide range of servers: from UNIX, Windows, to the trusty AS/400 and its descendants.
Eventually, the company JD Edwards was bought by Peoplesoft in 2003, which was subsequently bought by Oracle 2005, adding JD Edwards’s software to Oracle’s broad line-up of ERP solutions. Today, Oracle stills supports and sells both the AS/400-based JD Edwards World as the flexible JD Edwards OneWorld, the latter of which is now known as EnterpriseOne and has since outgrown its dependency on Windows computers for its user interface; being able, through modern HTML-technology and mobile apps, to also be used on Linux, iOS, iPhone, Android and a wide range of other systems.
It is also this EnterpriseOne product that is the basis for our Intellectual Property and the support it receives from our JD Edwards Support department. The intellectual property we provide our customers with can broadly be divided into two groups: general modules which can benefit any company, and our exclusive offering for local governments. This last suite of modules is our most extensive one and is known as GFS, or Geïntegreerd Financieel Systeem (Integrated Financial System). It is specially meant for the financial administration of local government offices and contains both very specific functionality, such as a module for working with land tenure, as more general functionality that has been tailored to be fit for local governments, such as modules for general ledger, invoicing and salary administration. GFS has been a success for many years. Not only do we serve some very large customer such as the city of Amsterdam, but also some very faithful ones such as the city of Zwolle, which has been our customer for more than 20 years. On top of that, we also cater to customers on the other side of the ocean, namely Aruba and Curaçao, and we also provide our products to a number of customers outside of local government, such as the Veiligheidsregio Utrecht.
Besides GFS, we also offer more general modules that can be of interest to any company. One of these modules is Bank and Cash Management (BCM); a module that is able to automatically match payments from your bank statements with your journal entries by using the interface files provided by banks and a clever self-learning algorithm. This module has proven to be quite popular with the (international) private market and can count companies like Randstad, Sennheiser and Johnson & Johnson to its many users. BCM has proven to be so popular that even our JD Edwards-competitors are selling this product to their own customers for us!
At Capgemini JD Edwards Support, we like to remain ahead of the times: we keeping improving our Intellectual Property to meet the current demands of the market, but also to fulfil the latest national and international legislation. Since 2013, we are able to provide our customers with an integrated solution for SEPA payments. Our module Advanced SEPA Management (ASM) helps our clients use JD Edwards to make actual SEPA payments and direct debits by using bank specific interface files.
A treatise on our Intellectual Property will, of course, not be complete without mentioning the people who make it happen. At Capgemini Netherlands, around 25 consultants have an expertise in a facet of the JD Edwards ERP-software and of these 25, around eight people are a part of our Support department, of which most are dedicated full time to improving our products. Our Support group can roughly be divided into two parts: our functional product experts, who use their functional knowledge to help translate the needs of our customer to innovations to our products, and the technical consultants, who actually make these innovations a reality. However, being such a small team, the distinction is not as clear-cut as that and our Support consultants try to have both a sense of technical and functional knowledge to ensure that we can communicate and work as efficiently as possible.
Of course, our dedicated Support staff could not do without the help of our fellow JD Edwards consultants, who, among other things, help us with their knowledge of financial or logistical processes and by keeping good client relations. A good example of the broader cooperation we have among our JD Edwards expertise group is the project that is already underway for 2014. For this project, a group consisting of three logistical consultants, a project lead and three of Capgemini JD Edwards Support’s technical consultants are bundling their knowledge to create a new module for our local government customers. The module will combine functionality for both procurement and contract management and will help provide our customers with a standardized approach that also remains customizable for the specific needs of the customer. Under guidance of a Scrum coach, we are managing this project using the Agile Scrum method. A methodology that will help us to continually engage our clients and to keep having their needs as our top priority.
If you’ve become curious, you can contact the Product Manager Henk Venema at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, or, if you’re in the neighbourhood, come say hi to us at the Capgemini Apeldoorn office where our Support department can be found on the third floor!