Lenley Hensarling: JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

by Aaron Lazenby and Margaret Terry Lindquist; additional editing by Marta Bright, May 2007
It's been a busy three years for employees and customers of JD Edwards: first came its merger with PeopleSoft, and then, shortly after that, with the coming together of PeopleSoft and Oracle, JD Edwards joined the Oracle family of applications product lines. But JD Edwards EnterpriseOne General Manager and Vice President Lenley Hensarling is energized by change. With the latest release of his product line, Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12, Hensarling notes that continuous innovation has been the defining characteristic for the product suite over the past decade, and the latest release continues this trend with innovations across most modules for every industry. But more than just specific functionality, Hensarling really came to talk about the path the companies have taken to get to this point, and how customers have reacted—and benefited—from the changes that have taken place.
PROFIT: Can you tell us about the thinking behind the merger with PeopleSoft?

HENSARLING: Before the merger, we looked at what was happening in the marketplace and what would be in the best interest of both our shareholders and our customers, and we decided that being a first mover in the consolidation of the enterprise software industry was the way to go. [Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison and [Oracle President] Charles Phillips were set on this course as well, seeing the value in aggregating the enterprise software market. The aim for us was to achieve critical mass by merging with a larger company such as PeopleSoft—so we did that. But the criteria for critical mass was scaling up at the same time. Oracle started pursuing PeopleSoft to the same end, and now with the combination of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, and others, Oracle really represents that critical mass we felt was necessary in order to provide value on an ongoing basis to our customers and shareholders.

PROFIT: How has the reaction been from JD Edwards customers and employees during this time of change?

HENSARLING: What's been interesting for customers and employees is the increased opportunity at each of these points of acquisition or merger. If you look at the R&D spend and the resources that Oracle brings to enterprise software, this is something that all of the JD Edwards installed bases benefit from. And it's been good for employees, particularly on the development side, because we now have direct access to all of the Oracle technology—database technology and Oracle Fusion Middleware.

PROFIT: What's really turned the corner for customers as far as moving ahead with their technology decisions?

HENSARLING: One customer of ours used both JD Edwards and Oracle and they were thinking about automating another part of their business. They wanted to go with JD Edwards but they weren't sure we were going to continue to make investments there and they weren't sure about the Oracle Fusion future. But we talked with them and one of the things that really drove them to decide to make the investment on the next big area of their company and roll out JD Edwards (which they're in the process of doing) was the fact that we had bought G-Log. This gave them a solution to something that was staring them in the face in terms of increased transportation costs due to energy prices fluctuating, primarily upward, and they saw a lot of value in the overall strategy that Oracle has. The Oracle strategy is a combination of organic growth through our R&D investment, combined with an approach of looking out into the market, seeing where innovation is happening, doing acquisitions, and providing integrations to the existing product lines, as well as clearly defining a next-generation future where that functionality will all be under one architecture with Oracle Fusion. And when customers really started to understand that, they became very positive about Oracle and about how they could move forward.

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