Is the effort and risk of upgrading your Oracle Applications holding your organization back from reaping the benefits of latest technology advances?
By keeping your software investments current with the latest release, your organization benefits from the most up-to-date applications and features and allows you to keep pace with today’s competitive marketplace.
Oracle is following a “Continuous Innovation” release model for Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2, delivering ongoing applications and underlying technology stack updates for 12.2 without requiring a major upgrade. Additionally, 12.2 is the long-term support release for Oracle E-Business Suite, with Premier Support for 12.2 available through at least 2031. This helps maximize the return on investment for Oracle E-Business Suite applications.
Following are the reasons for Oracle EBS Upgrade:
- Support ever-evolving business requirements, processes, vision, and strategy
- Move away from unsupported versions of operating systems, databases, and applications
- Interoperate in technological and business platform ecosystems
- Extending the life of and ROI from Investments in the core ERP
- Leverage new modules such as Enterprise Command Centers which are available only from 12.2.4
- Leverage ADOP for updating standard Oracle Apps and Database Objects with Online Patching
- Access to latest Oracle Technology Ecosystem such as Oracle Analytics Server/ Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle SOA Suite / Oracle Integration Cloud
- Implementation of collaborative applications such as iSupplier
There are several areas to consider as you examine your upgrade options, including application functionality, technological enhancements, operational considerations, user support and change management, and ongoing support availability. Oracle E-Business Suite customers historically have adopted new versions of the technology stack together with a new applications code level via a major release upgrade.
Continuous Innovation release model separates technology stack updates from applications code updates, allowing E-Business Suite customers to use latest technology while retaining their current applications code level.
Another important development in the last couple of years is the widespread migration of Oracle EBS to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure with Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Model.
Upgrade options depend on where you are today in terms of applications, technology stack, infrastructure, your business vision, and objectives. Technical, Functional and Hybrid (a combination of both) upgrade options are possible from Oracle EBS perspective. If you are on 188.8.131.52 or 12.1.3, it requires a major release upgrade to 12.2.x. If you are already on 12.2, it requires a point release upgrade to 12.2.x release.
Many organizations are taking one step at a time approach and perform technical and infrastructure upgrade first and then functional upgrade for the following reasons:
- Performance degradation of on-premises/ data center infrastructure
- End-of-life operating system, database, and application versions
- Extent of custom objects and 3rd party interfaces – CEMLIs
- Lack of adequate in-house skills at least in one of the areas – system administration, database administration, technical developers, or subject matter experts
- Lack of adequate in-house cloud expertise
- Lack of adequate bandwidth from the business team to evaluate and recommend the new functionalities and modules to be implemented
Why a Technical Upgrade?
Objectives of the technical upgrade include:
- Enhanced User Experience
- Parity with baseline functionality
- High Availability and Disaster Recovery
- High Performance
- Enhanced Security
Following schematic summarizes the infrastructure options, application versions and environments in a technical upgrade.
The scope of a technical upgrade, be it a major release upgrade or a point release update, includes:
- Upgrade Advisory and Upgrade Assessment
- CEMLIs Upgrade Services
- Three rounds of test migrations/upgrades
- A full production-upgrade
- Ongoing support during both phases of the test migration
- Upgrade Testing Services
- A month of post-production support
- Overall Upgrade Project Services
How to do a Technical Upgrade?
A technical upgrade needs to be a phased approach with clearly defined quality gates. At a minimum, the following phases are involved.
Thus, a technical upgrade goes through the following phases and activities:
Technical Upgrade assessment
· Technical Upgrade
· Upgrade Testing
· Post Go-Live Support
· Performance Optimization
To fulfil the objectives of the technical upgrade, an initial assessment is needed to baseline
- Business processes
- Applications performance
- Test assets, suite, scripts (if automated)
- Functional and technical documentation
Critical components of technical upgrade are re-platforming and CEMLIs retrofit. Based on the target application version and deployment (cloud, on-premises) pre-requisites like operating systems version, database versions are set up on infrastructure that ensures at least baseline performance.
Then, baselined CEMLIs are retrofitted into the target version to the extent needed, i.e., after excluding the obsolete objects, unused objects, and objects that became standard in the latest version.
Upgrade testing is performed over 3 iterations for Dev, Test and Pre-Prod environments in CRP1/ Unit testing, CRP2/ System Integration Testing and User Acceptance Testing.
User adoption is key to the success of the upgrade and involves at least the following activities:
- Communication about the upgrade
- Training on the new system; same functionality as in the past, modified/ deleted functionality from the past, new functionality
- Role based and Day in the life (DITL) trainings
- Participation of key users in testing
- Usage monitoring and reporting
- UAT and post-production support issues analysis and reinforcement training based on user segments or modules for the knowledge and data issues reported
Best practices, templates, tools, and delivery mechanisms must be packaged into discrete services and workshops that support each unique project. Services must support the full project lifecycle with independent or collaborative remediation for optimal effectiveness.
From our experience of Oracle EBS upgrades, each customer situation is unique. Choice of the upgrade options is determined by this situation. We will have a trilemma in each of the situation:
Target Environment: 1) Oracle Fusion SaaS, 2) Oracle EBS 12.2.x on OCI, 3) Oracle EBS 12.2.x On-premises
Upgrade Option: 1) Technical, 2) Functional, 3) Hybrid
Whatever be the option, following are key considerations and critical success factors for the upgrade:
- Proactive Risk and Opportunities Assessment
- Smart handling of CEMLIs in terms of automated identification, remediation, and testing
- Ensuring User Adoption
- Leverage the opportunity to improve the maintainability, supportability, performance, security, and enhancements
We will be covering more about resolving the trilemmas in subsequent blogs.
Gurava Reddy Induri
Chief Strategy Officer
IG Reddy is a seasoned IT Professional with experience in solutions engineering, product management, product consulting, enterprise applications implementation and offshore delivery. He has traveled to many countries and served clients in all continents. He is a staunch practitioner of industrial engineering with focus on value creation and resource optimization.