Hello everyone! After a bit more than 2 months, it’s finally time for my first Pythian blog post. In addition to getting accustomed to the “Pythian way” of doing things and learning as much as I can about my clients, I’ve really been enjoying getting to know the smart group of people that comprise our ERP team. It’s fitting, therefore, that my first post is “crowdsourced,” in that it grew out of several conversations with my teammates. We’ve been talking a lot about Fusion Apps, the upcoming release of E-Business Suite Release 12.2, and what it all means not just for our clients, but for us as Apps DBAs. One of the topics that’s been on our minds recently is:
The clock is ticking down on Apps 11i. What does all the new stuff coming down the line mean for those customers in the next 12-18 months?
Oddly enough, the answer to that question is:
Not very much. At least, not yet.
As technical practitioners, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in the promise of new, shiny things (Fusion Apps) and major improvements in the way we work (e.g. online patching in EBS 12.2). Believe me, we’re chomping at the bit to dive into these technologies. We can’t wait to start playing with Fusion Apps, despite the incredible resource requirements. We’re excited to see how Edition-Based Redefinition is going to enable online patching in EBS 12.2, so we don’t have to deliver huge maintenance downtime estimates to our clients. We also recognize, however, that IT Managers and CIOs have a broader obligation to make sure that transitions to new technologies are smooth, well-planned, and digestible by their users. And if your organization is still running Oracle Applications 11i, you don’t have much time to wait for the next big things, no matter how game-changing they may be: Premier Support for 11i ended a year ago, and you may find that spending two more years on Extended Support will start to feel a bit limiting. At the very least, you’ll start to get tired of having an upgrade recommendation appear as the first response to your SRs.
Embrace the change…don’t let it crush you!
The transition from Apps 11i to Release 12 represents a pretty big change from a functional perspective. End users and business analysts will need time to adjust to some UI and process changes, and to explore new features. Organizations running Oracle Applications 11i owe it to themselves to get an R12 system in front of their business stakeholders (power users, managers, analysts) as soon as possible, so they can start kicking the tires and assess how users’ workflows are going to change. The technical pieces of the upgrade, by contrast, are straightforward, but even some of those familiar technologies (OID, SSO, Discoverer 10g) are nearing the end of Premier Support [Middleware Support policy, PDF].
When Fusion Apps were announced, there was a temptation to see if it would be possible to move directly from Apps 11i to Fusion; we have since learned that the deployment strategy for Fusion Apps is not a full upgrade, but co-existence. While upgrading to EBS 12.2 is going to be more straightforward, we don’t know when EBS 12.2 is going to be released. Even if it’s soon (one or two quarters from now), you can’t afford to stall your 11i upgrade project to see what the upgrade path looks like; you need to be exposing your users to R12 now. Even if 12.2 is released next week, you probably don’t want to be in the vanguard of customers working through the implementation details of the new release. You will have enough on your plate; count on it.
This is not a new message, but it bears repeating. Oracle has been pretty clear about its recommended upgrade paths for E-Business Suite customers. Conversations at Oracle Openworld and in recent Apps Technology webcasts have reinforced the message: if you’re on version 11i, get to R12 as soon as you possibly can, and right now, that means version 12.1.
If you’re already on R12, of course, you can probably afford to be more relaxed, though Release 12.0 is also nearing the end of Premier Support (January 2012), so there’s some benefit to getting to 12.1.3 soon. Presumably, this will make the transition to 12.2 or Fusion Apps easier, and in the interim should make it easier to get timely support.
Need help figuring out your next steps?
Are you still in the planning phases of your upgrade from 11i? In the middle of executing your plan, or even in the late phases? If you want help with that planning and execution, I know some really smart people that you can talk to about that.
Are you an R12 customer working on or considering a move to the latest version of 12.1? We can help with that, too.
If your EBS environment has a lot of moving parts (integrations with other Oracle products, etc), and you’re concerned about the support status of the various components, we can help you to sort out those dependencies.
Finally, if you’re interested in seeing how things are going to shake out with Release 12.2 and, eventually, Fusion Apps: So are we. Watch this space. You’ll be hearing more from us.