JD Edwards Jobs Trends

We are seeing a steady stream of work for both contractors and perm candidates in the JD Edwards channel. 

  • Demand is higher now than we have seen in our previous seven years as a company. Better still, clients are acting more decisively when qualified candidates are brought forward versus the "hurry up and wait" approach many companies adopted in early/mid 2017. 
  • In addition to upgrade activities, we are working with a couple of domestic clients undertaking net-new installations of JD Edwards. This is encouraging to the entire ecosystem and drives both contract and perm requirements.
  • Contract opportunities are typically covered within 48 hours. Let us know when you will be available in advance to avoid downtime. We pay our consultants every two weeks – well in advance of when we are paid by the client.
  • Lately, there has been a notable increase in requirements for Distribution/Supply Chain skill sets. We interpret this to mean companies are selling/moving their products – and that’s a good thing!

The message to both clients and candidates is the economy seems solid and lining up the right people for your team and the right role for yourself is NOW.

I have highlighted some of our JDE openings below. You can see all our current openings HERE.   Click on the links below – or simply call us at 678-730-6966 – for more information.

Financials

Distribution

Manufacturing

Development

Leadership

CNC/Infrastructure

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Rise of the Machine!

In July, I wrote an article entitled:  “Being More Human”, which talked about some of the advancements in cognitive computing, and also, about how we – as humans – need to find new ways of contributing in our increasingly machine-driven society.

One example cited was the vast computing power demonstrated by computer mastery of games like chess, where the real champion of our planet is a machine, not a man.  The World Computer Chess Championship was held November 13-16, featuring the ten strongest chess programs (“engines”) in the world.  “Stockfish 8”, an open source, purpose-built chess engine won the November tournament, narrowly beating “Houdini” with a score of 3 wins, 2 losses and 15 draws.  Stockfish also won similar tournaments in 2016 and 2014.  More information on this tournament can be found here

As a chess enthusiast, I watched as a human grandmaster played “with odds” against Stockfish in an exhibition game while this tournament was underway.  The handicap given to Stockfish was that it had to play from the beginning of the game with only one knight.  In addition to human observers, other chess engines were scoring the game, and we all watched in amazement as Stockfish intrepidly overcame the deficit of a knight to the point where accepting a draw was the welcome response of the human GM (and playing on any longer may have resulted in a loss).

Grandmasters heralded this event as the apex of chess computing.  Chess was effectively “solved” as these engines, relying on massive “tablebases” addressed both the opening moves of the game and the endgame, while deep computational power allowed programs like Stockfish to score millions of positions per second in selecting moves in the middlegame.

Then, something altogether unexpected happened. 

On December 5, AlphaZero, an algorithm developed by Google’s DeepMind division defeated not only the top programs in chess, but also similar programs in shogi and Go.

  • After being given the rules of chess and nine hours to “teach itself” chess, AlphaZero demolished Stockfish by the astonishing score of 28 wins, 0 losses and 72 draws. 
  • In 100 shogi games, AlphaZero defeated elmo (the World Computer Shogi 2017 champion) winning 90 games, losing eight times with two draws.
  • AlphaZero had similar results in Go, except this time it was matched against an earlier version of AlphaZero, which was already the World Champion of Go.

The natural reaction is to assume AlphaZero won because it was able to search deeper or faster, but in reality, it taught itself to search better.  AlphaZero searches just 80,000 positions per second in chess, compared to the 70 million per second Stockfish can evaluate, but AlphaZero compensates by using deep neural network technology to focus on more optimal variations over Stockfish's brute force approach.

Most interestingly, AlphaZero won by playing more like a human (or maybe a superhuman) – using intuition when the event horizon for brute force calculation fails.  AlphaZero often sacrificed material against Stockfish to gain persistent, but less concrete positional advantages. Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen said:  “I always wondered how it would be if a superior species landed on earth and showed us how they played chess. Now I know.”

For more info on how AlphaZero plays chess, read this article.

If computers can beat chess after only a few hours of self-study, they may be able to do many things – good and bad – if given a little more time.  How long until they develop self-awareness?

Be kind to your computer, and (hopefully) it will be kind to you.

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Enspire Partners Achieves 2017 Revenue Targets

One year ago, we committed to taking our internal staff on a trip if we exceeded last year's revenues by $1,000,000. We achieved our goals earlier this month and took our team, spouses and children to Destin, Florida from September 21 - 24.

In six years, Enspire Partners has grown from concept to one of the strongest ERP staffing firms in North America. Every customer and consultant we work with is part of our success story. 

We work in a very competitive and dynamic marketplace.  This year, we've seen many changes, but we are committed to this space for the long haul.  Whether we are able to help today, or if it takes longer to find just the right fit for you, we will continue to work hard to match good clients to good consultants.

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

Dinner at The Crab Trap

Dinner at The Crab Trap

Oracle's Execs Working Under Highly Leveraged Bonus Plans

 

Oracle is moving its CEOs (Hurd and Katz) and Founder/CTO (Ellison) to a 100% results-based incentive program.

http://www.businessinsider.com/larry-ellison-no-new-equity-unless-oracle-stock-80-dollars-2017-9

Their bonuses will be dependent upon raising Oracle's stock from $50 to $80 and quadrupling Cloud sales this year. (Oracle’s fiscal year ends in May.) These are people who want to get paid – a lot, so you can expect that they will do everything possible to achieve these targets.

The easiest way to achieve this would probably be to do the second thing first (i.e. blow out their Cloud sales), because by doing this, the stock price will automatically rise.

Pushing Cloud is not a new thing for Oracle, but I think we can expect Oracle to offer even stronger incentives for customers to move to Cloud even on a temporary basis to pump these numbers. 

We already are seeing one way they are growing Cloud participation is by offering deep discounts in traditional offerings (like JD Edwards or EBS) for clients who buy Cloud as an add-on.  (These discounts are available even to use Cloud on a limited basis.)

 

Me or We?

I heard a comment today on sports radio that made me think.

Tom Herman is the new football coach at the University of Texas. He was hired to turn around the Texas program which used to be one of the strongest in the country, but has underperformed for several years. 

On Saturday, Texas lost their first game of the season to Maryland 51-41. After the game, Herman said: “If we thought in nine months that we were going to sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think we’ve arrived, we were wrong.” To be sure, he was frustrated with the results, but by implication, he was throwing his players under the bus, by saying he couldn’t perform miracles with the crappy players he had inherited. 

Urban Meyer, who is a much more accomplished coach than Herman (and was his boss when Herman coached at Ohio State), took issue with Herman’s “pixie dust” comment and said Herman should stop making excuses as the head coach of the team.

The truth is, we all get dealt certain hands in life. One day, you may become the dealer and can change your game, but today all you can do is play the hand you are dealt the best way you can.

Most of us work in jobs where we depend on others and others depend on you. Some of you are very good at your job, but working well with others becomes a force multiplier.

Being a good teammate and a good leader involves taking responsibility for what you can do – within the team setting – to make things better.

Being a good teammate and a good leader involves taking responsibility for what you can do – within the team setting – to make things better.

AT&T Agrees To Move Large Internal Databases Into Oracle Cloud

Oracle and AT&T have announced AT&T will be moving thousands of AT&T's databases into the Oracle Cloud platform. 

Read their press release HERE

This is part of AT&T's plan to virtualize  their Wide Area Network. "The company’s goal is to virtualize 75% of its core network functions by 2020, hitting 55% by the end of 2017."

Historically, there are two major challenges to address with virtualization:  

  1. Security - Is my data safe?
  2. Functionality - Is the software robust enough to meet my core business functions?

This represents another check mark in the column for the future of Cloud-based systems.  If AT&T trusts their data to the Cloud, maybe your company can, too. 

Now, let's see if it helps them get the cable guy to my house on time.

Content Available at JDEdwardsERP.com

Everyone interested in updates on JD Edwards trends and technology should sign up for the newsletter and whitepapers available at www.JDEdwardsERP.com.  (Their About statement indicates this site is not managed by Oracle, but it is accessible through Oracle.com site.)

I downloaded PDF documents on their "2017 Guide to the State of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne" and the "ERP Technology Value Matrix".  I found them to be both informative and objective in highlighting features and benefits in JD Edwards and other enterprise-level platforms.

This site provides articles on a variety of topics, including industry-specific applications.  Some examples include:

  • "Manufacturing Industry Shaken Up by Servitization"
  • "Food and Drink Industry Is Going Digital"
  • "Commodity Traders Make Better Deals with ERP"

Whether you are looking for content to validate ROI to your executives, specific feature whitepapers, or information for personal growth, I recommend this site to you.

 

New Jobs Search Feature

Today, we are rolling out our improved Careers search engine and job listing.

You can see our openings through our Careers page or you can click HERE.

The default listing is our Featured Jobs by reverse date order.  Once in the Featured Jobs page, you can search for Jobs by Keyword, Location or Job Type.  

Note: Our search engine does not allow you to filter jobs by "Open" or "Remote" locations, but you can use these terms in the Keyword search to see what we have available.

You can apply for a specific position by completing a simple form and attaching your resume, or you can email your resume to us (without filling out a form) from the Careers page.

Check back regularly for updates on our openings as we cover the spectrum of ERP roles (Technical/Developer, Functional/Applications, Technology/Systems and Leadership/Project Mgt) most of the time.

Being More Human

I recently read “The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us about Being Alive” by Brian Christian, a very interesting book recommended by a friend.  I learned some things about cognitive computing, but more importantly, it made me think about the unique values we bring as humans in the digital age.

Alan Turing, widely regarded as the father of artificial intelligence (and portrayed in the 2014 movie, “The Imitation Game”), postulated by 1990 a machine would be able to mimic the intelligence of a human so well that at least 30% of human judges could be convinced the machine was indeed a human. The Turing Test evaluates a machine/computer’s ability to “exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human” (Wikipedia).

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In 1991, the annual Loebner competition was created to determine which computer would be most humanlike as evaluated by a set of judges in a five minute chat. To create a control group, human “Confederates” would also be paired with the judges in chat sessions. Judges then would vote on whether the entity they were chatting with was human or machine. The machine receiving the most “human” votes would win the Loebner Prize.  The Confederate receiving the most “human” votes would be declared “The Most Human Human”.

The author of the book was selected to be a Confederate in the 2009 Loebner competition.  The book explores his preparation to distinguish himself as Most Human when compared to fellow Confederates and their computer competitors.

The overarching question is: “What makes humans unique?” and interestingly, we find that machines not only can do the things we do, but they can do many things better.  When we say World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen “plays like a computer”, we are complimenting the human that he is approaching the precision of a machine. 

But, being “like a computer” used to mean something different entirely…

In the infantile days of computer research and the development of algorithms, the best “computers” were not machines at all...they were humans (and usually women). In early code breaking attempts at Bletchley Park, the Allies employed small armies of human “Computers”. In fact, if a machine was found in some way to come close to the ability of a human, it was declared to be “almost as good as a Computer”.

How times have changed when the device in your pocket has magnitudes more computing power than the best mathematician! 

To be sure, one way to be more human is to make more mistakes, after all, "to err is human..." Machines in the Loebner competition often were programmed to make typos (or curse) to appear more human.  Conversely, Confederates with in-depth understanding of certain disciplines were commonly regarded by judges as too “booked up” to be real.

Next, the author delved into the philosophical differences between humans and machines.  Descartes famously said: “Cogito ergo sum”, translated, “I think therefore I am”.  A distinctive between humans and machines for decades has been in the ability to associate value in things, not just count them.  But, alas, we find today’s computers also are better at valuation than are we. One example is the systems used to evaluate the stock market. Today, only a foolish investor would put money behind a human analyst whose recommendations lacked solid computer data!

One remaining bastion where machines have not yet surpassed human ability is in the field of creative art.  While a machine can be built to render a copy of a work of art better than a human, building a machine with the genius to create (or learn to create) an original masterpiece which could stand up to professional scrutiny is a challenge we haven’t yet solved...and that is probably a good thing!

If the author asked me, I would say an area where humans continue to be "more human" than machines is in understanding and managing relationships. Indeed, people like you – reading this very blog – are an extension of my personal human network. Of course, some machines now are being taught to act as "virtual counselors".  These go far beyond the automated response lines we all have encountered; some are being used in suicide prevention lines (!) and are programmed to use methods a psychologist might employ in treatment of patients.  (Honestly, this gives me reason to doubt the Psychology profession more than it makes me believe computers are better at relationships than people are - although some of us are better at relationships than others!)

This article doesn’t give me the time to give you the full CliffsNotes summary of the book, and if you read it, some parts may resonate more with you than with me, so I would encourage you to do so.  You should look into whether a machine has successfully passed the Turing Test or not...and don’t use Google! (Because what if the machine is lying to you?)

In a time when everyone from our best trained analysts to fast food workers may soon be replaceable by machines, we would all do well to think of ways we truly are unique - and better.   

An interesting side note is that Hugh Loebner, the benefactor who funded the Loebner competition, previously had been victim of a scam, when for six months he had romantic correspondence with a Russian woman, who later was revealed to be…

A computer. Of the digital kind.

TonyF