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Volume 12, Number 3 -- February 14, 2012

Oracle Ships Smartphone Apps for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

Published: February 14, 2012

by Alex Woodie

Oracle recently delivered three smartphone applications that extend its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP suite in the areas of purchase order approvals, requisition requests, and sales reports. The applications run on Apple iOS, Google Android, and RIM Blackberry devices. However, the new apps require the WebLogic application server, so they aren't supported by "Blue Stack" EnterpriseOne shops that run IBM WebSphere as part of their ERP infrastructure.

The three JD Edwards EnterpriseOne mobile applications unveiled by Oracle in late January include Mobile Requisition Self Service Approval, Mobile Purchase Order Approval, and Mobile Sales Inquiry applications. The software is available now, and pricing starts at $600 per application.

The names of the apps are pretty self-explanatory in terms of the business functionality delivered. Each of the apps use business logic contained in specific EnterpriseOne ERP modules, so users must have a license to the underlying module to use the new smartphone UIs. For example, users of the Mobile Purchase Order Approval app must have the EnterpriseOne purchasing system, which goes by the full name of Procurement Subcontract Management System.

The new UIs were designed for smartphones, and are not scaled down versions of the Web or Windows clients, or even the iPad client that Oracle introduced for EnterpriseOne last year, says Bob Monahan, senior director JD Edwards strategy and product marketing.

"These apps were specifically built with the UI of the smart phones," he tells IT Jungle. "We did not try to take the standard Web client or Windows client and [retrofit it]. They were purpose-built for smartphones, and have very intuitive UIs."

The new apps will be useful for times when managers are on the road and don't have access to the full EnterpriseOne client or the iPad client, but could still benefit from accessing certain functions or data within EnterpriseOne, Monahan says.

"If I was a sales rep or an account manager, and about to walk into a customer [site], and I was sitting in my car, I would be able to use my smartphone to see what are recent orders with this customer, what are the current open orders, what's the availability of product to deliver, what's the pricing information. All that information can be delivered on a smartphone."

The three apps are the first in a series of smartphone apps that Oracle will unveil in the coming months. The first three are primarily "read only," although Mobile Purchase Order Approval does allow a manager to approve or deny POs. Future mobile apps will enable more interactivity and data-entry capabilities, Monahan says.

Oracle developed the new apps with a Fusion middleware component called Application Developer Framework for Mobile, which allows the company to write a UI once and then deploy to multiple mobile device platforms, like the iPhone and the Android phones.

Unfortunately for EnterpriseOne Blue Stack customers--which encompasses nearly all of the dwindling number of customers who run EnterpriseOne on IBM i--that ADF for Mobile functionality is tied to Oracle's WebLogic server, a key component of Oracle's "Red Stack" infrastructure, along with the Oracle database and Solaris.

That means EnterpriseOne customers who use the IBM WebSphere Web application server--a key part of the Blue Stack infrastructure, along with DB2 and IBM OSes like IBM i and AIX--won't be able to partake of the new smartphone apps, at least without migrating some or all of their Blue Stack infrastructure to Oracle's Red Stack.

That's the situation now, but it could change, Monahan says. "WebSphere is something we're currently evaluating," he says. "Based on demand, that may be a future offering."

And what about World, the other JD Edwards application that runs exclusively under IBM i? It already has a Web interface (to go along with the cool retro green one), so could it too be glammed up a bit with glitzy new smartphone apps?

"That is something we are evaluating. It's not being released this week, but it's something we're looking at," Monahan says. "Now that we have the front-end UI for many of these apps, instead of pointing at the business logic for EnterpriseOne applications like sales order inquiry we can basically leverage the same UI on the smartphone and point at the business logic on World."

The new smartphone and iPad apps require a minimum of EnterpriseOne version 9.0 applications and EnterpriseOne Tools version 8.98.4. Both of those are several releases old, so that means users don't have to be on the latest release to use the new mobile interfaces.


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