Software maintenance and support is a critical topic for JD Edwards World customers. Oracle estimates that 46% of World customers are still on A7.3 and A8.1, which is concerning considering that these products fell into Sustaining Support, as opposed to Premier Support, on December 31, 2013.
While Sustaining Support is a better alternative than no support at all, there are limitations to the services that are provided. Sustaining Support does provide things like technical support, access to My Oracle Support, and fixes, updates, patches, and upgrade scripts created while the product was on Premier Support.
However, relying on Sustaining Support has its risks as well, such as not providing new updates and fixes, new tax, legal, and regulatory updates, or certifications for new third-party products and product versions.
For some customers, the discussion of the cost of support leads to moving to a third party or using in-house resources for support. While there are some benefits to these options (internal support is often the least costly option, for example), there are dangers as well. Internal support requires a knowledgeable staff, which may not be realistic as a long-term solution, and third parties do not receive updates as quickly as Oracle support members would.
If your organization is still running an older version of World, you may be evaluating a move off of Oracle maintenance, but staying on Oracle maintenance is critical in order to fully protect your business. Here are some risks you could face by not maintaining up-to-date JD Edwards Support:
Risk #1: Lack of Business Continuity Protection
First and foremost, Oracle support provides business continuity protection for your organization, along with access to all the services, support, tools, and resources available on My Oracle Support and through Oracle support service requests. Even if you have been running the software for years, changing business needs may dictate the implementation of additional modules or advanced functionality that could require fixes and patches that were published while the product was on Premier Support.
Risk #2: Unable to Keep IBM i Operating System Current
If you want to keep your IBM i OS current, you will need Oracle patches to continue to run A7.3 and A8.1 on the latest IBM operation system versions. These patches are only available if you are on maintenance.
This is especially important to consider for those World users running IBM i 7.1. IBM recently announced that 7.1 end of life is scheduled for April 2018, meaning that if your version of World is capped at 7.1, you will need to update both your World and IBM i environments in order stay on Oracle support.
Risk #3: External Security Threats
External security threats have not been prevalent with JD Edwards World, but should Oracle identify a liability, it would be addressed through support. Keep in mind that Oracle typically does not communicate the nature of the threat publically to avoid tipping off hackers, so you or your third party will not have all the information necessary to secure the software yourselves without support.
Value of Staying on Maintenance
To protect your organization from these risks, your best option is to maintain JD Edwards Support by upgrading your JD Edwards system. Whether that involves upgrading to the latest version of World or moving to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, keeping your system up to date will ensure that you have the best possible support through Oracle JD Edwards.