Users consider Oracle EBS R12 upgrade as Premier Support for 11i ends

Premier Support for Oracle E-Business Suite11i ends Nov. 30, and end users must decide whether to move to Extended Support, which brings fewer features and higher maintenance fees, or do an EBS R12 upgrade.

Premier Support on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i ends Nov. 30, and end users are still struggling over whether they should do an EBS R12 upgrade.

Oracle bought users some extra time to make their decision after waiving the 10% maintenance fee for the Extended Support package through November 2011. But users moving to Extended Support will still lack certification with most new third-party products and face new minimum patching baselines for E-Business Suite 11i. Users must meet these new patch requirements by the time they move to Extended Support on Dec. 1 in order to have access to new bug fixes.

Even though E-Business Suite 12 has been out since 2007, economic challenges have still held users back, and adoption has been slow. But according to a survey this year of hundreds of Oracle database administrators and IT staff, 31% plan on upgrading E-Business Suite in 2010. And with Oracle’s Extended Support fee waiver, this is likely to grow even more into 2011.

Oracle E-Business Suite 12 was one of the main topics of discussion Monday at the New England Oracle Applications Users Group conference at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.  While the majority of users have yet to move to EBS R12, many are interested in learning about its features and implementation options as they begin their upgrade planning.

In his session titled, “Why do I need R12?” Stan Korwin of the consulting firm DARC Corporation highlighted various reasons Oracle users should upgrade, such as avoiding higher maintenance costs and keeping on the path to Fusion Applications. Korwin also spoke about the new features in EBS R12, calling Financials “the big change area.”  New R12 Financials features include subledger accounting, centralized bank transactions, multiple ledger capability and an Advanced Global Intercompany System.

Korwin showed the approximately 20 session attendees a visual of Oracle E-Business Suite 12’s new and improved HTML-based “Swan” user interface and asked who had seen it before. Only a few people raised their hands, but Korwin said this was typical of his experiences with Oracle users and R12.

“There’s a lot of talk about it, but very few people have actually been exposed to it,” he said.

 EBS R12 upgradeClick to enlarge
EBS Release Roadmap. Image courtesy of Oracle Corp.

Still, numerous users are in the planning stages. Many more hands went up when Samir Rathore of Sierra Atlantic asked the nearly 40 attendees in his session, “Oracle R12 Project: Upgrade or Re-implement,” how many were planning an EBS R12 upgrade in the next 18 months.

Upgrade or re-implement EBS R12?

Christine Capozziello, a business analyst who works in HR payroll at Yale University, said her department recently did their last upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite 11.3 and does not know when they will move to R12. She realizes they may not be able to fit this upgrade into the three-month time frame they usually upgrade in, and she was attending the conference to learn how much time they should plan for.

One factor affecting how long a move to EBS R12 will take is whether organizations choose to upgrade or re-implement R12. According to Korwin, a straightforward upgrade with no complications can be done in as quickly as three months. However, if you’re unhappy with the way business is done or want to change your company’s organizational structures, an upgrade won’t fix that. These are cases where you’ll want to consider a re-implementation, which usually takes four or five months to a year, Korwin said.

Rathore also discussed re-implementations, which he called involved processes. Re-implementations include numerous change management processes and project lifecycle steps such as training, validations, mapping and gap analysis. Rathore also provided some questions companies should ask before deciding whether re-implementation is right for them, including:

  • Has your company grown beyond the accounting structure originally envisaged?
  • Are you concerned about the volume of inter-company transactions?
  • Do you have many customizations that you are grappling with?
  • Do some of the transaction flows require a fresh perspective and a fresh solution?

Tom Dimock, a functional superuser at BAE Systems, said whether his organization chooses to upgrade will depend on if it wants to take advantage of R12’s new features. However, he noted that BAE’s plan to go to EBS R12 doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

“It could be that we re-implement one module and upgrade another,” Dimock said.

Read Part 2 to learn specific challenges end users have faced when upgrading to Oracle E-Business Suite R12.

Shayna Garlick can be reached at [email protected].

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