Oracle has added some impressive features to Oracle E-Business Suite R12. If you are planning to upgrade, avoiding unexpected downtime will be the focus of the transformation activity. We have identified some of the key challenges that organizations usually face in the Oracle EBS R12 upgradation.
7 Key Challenges While Upgrading to Oracle EBS R12
1. Determining the Upgrade Path
It is important to verify whether the existing IT environment is eligible for a direct upgrade to the latest release or if it needs to be upgraded to an earlier release before transitioning to the target release. Moreover, organizations face the challenge of predicting the complexity of the upgrade activity, especially the number of modules to be implemented, the nature of customizations needed, the count of integration points, the type and number of interfaces, and the total sum of scripts. Finally, it is vital to determine the cost and metrics associated with each step of the upgrade. Each consideration must be made based on an upgrade assessment.
2. Ensuring Accuracy and Completeness of Data
Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of data could be a challenge while preparing for a successful upgrade. The IT personnel need to be abreast of the standard practices for handling duplicate records, ensuring data integrity, and maintaining the health of the data. During the pre-upgrade phase, a well-defined process should be in place to determine if the best practices are followed or need to be created to ensure relevancy and reliability of the data. This is a key step in the upgrade process to ensure the availability of high-quality data for effective table conversions as well as seamless operation of the Oracle E-Business Suite solution post upgrade.
3. Preparation of Your Technical Environment
Organizations need to make key technological decisions to avoid impacting the ongoing projects. Certain releases would mandate changing the architecture depending on the version of the existing applications. Modifying any element of the architecture increases the complexity of the upgrade project. This requires meticulous planning to determine the right time to make the changes as well as the technical work required for this activity.
Further, some organizations face performance-related issues at go-live, especially if a full performance test is not done before the go-live date. This action ensures fine-tuning the system, deriving maximum throughput from available resources, and minimizing glitches at go-live. It is best practice to go for an assessment in the initial phases to mitigate uncertainty and allow the IT team to maximize their attention on the critical upgrade activities.
Organizations are often perplexed while taking decisions on whether to upgrade the platform, middleware, and non-production hardware.
- Platform: Most organizations prefer to continue their operating system, existing hardware, and database architecture through the upgrade. While some prefer taking advantage of the upgrade timeframe to revamp their hardware and switch to the latest support versions. However, the decision to upgrade the platform needs to be made early in the process, as the platform usually drives all the software utilized.
- Middleware: This is one of the most crucial decisive stages of the upgrade process. As Oracle supports both Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Application Server 10g, choosing the appropriate middleware platform needs prior planning and knowledge of the licensing requirements to avoid contractual issues at a later stage.
- Non-Production Hardware: Organizations are mostly focused on the production environment and at times inadvertently ignore the performance criticality of a test environment. However, low-grade performance during the critical phases of testing cannot result in a bad experience for users but also affects the upgrade timelines by hampering the timely completion of testing and eventually delaying the system deployment.
4. Determining the New Hardware Sizing
Gauging an accurate sizing for your new architecture becomes important to decide whether to stay with the current hardware, deploy additional hardware resources, or upgrade one or more servers. Given the complex nature of the upgrade activity, sizing requirements for the upgraded solution can be impacted by various factors such as Oracle EBS product functionality, technological change, future use of applications, and scale-up of modules. With proper performance and load testing, determining the right requirements for hardware can optimize the upgrade process.
5. Identifying Custom Code & Scripting
An integrated custom code can usually be impacted while upgrading the Oracle E-Business suite. The IT personnel not only need to identify these retrofit efforts but also track their progress during the project. It is important to register any customization as a custom application by the System Administrator. Additionally, a supporting directory structure needs to be created on the application server. These steps will ensure that all customizations that are registered as custom applications will not be tampered with during the upgrade process.
Moreover, comprehensive testing of all customizations including form customizations, all interfaces, customized reports, and descriptive flex fields is required to the integrity of APIs or tables in the upgraded software.
6. Training & Knowledge Transfer to End Users on The New Solutions
When a new system is implemented, end users need to be trained from the ground up on the correct procedures and protocols for using the new application solution. Ensuring proficiency of the project and support teams becomes vital in the smooth functioning of the latest solutions. Moreover, team members should have complete expertise in the new architecture and best practices. Performing an assessment to reconcile the skills is mandatory to support the maintenance and development of the new release.
The other benefits of implementing a well-defined training plan are to reduce the number of issues during the upgrade process. Imparting the right training will help end users distinguish between true issues and intended changes. More importantly, planning the training session before the go-live timeframe will ensure better retention of knowledge.
7. Implementing a Rigorous, Automated Testing Process
A rigorous testing effort is one of the key steps to ensuring a successful upgrade and deploying the new release. Developing a mindset to consider the testing elements of the upgrade as a major software update will ensure success in timely implementation. Moreover, extensive integrated testing, which includes performance testing and user acceptance along with including all the business processes that will be used in the organization will help eventually. It is a best practice to opt for automated testing tools to cater to the intricate complexities of the upgrade process.
How Can Organizations Ensure a Seamless Upgrade to Oracle EBS R12?
Upgrading an existing IT environment does come with its own set of complexities. The cascading effects of a non-successful upgrade can significantly impact an organization’s projects, costs, and SLAs. Thus, it is recommended to seek the assistance of Oracle EBS Upgrade Partner who is proficient with the upgrade process. Suneratech is a platinum partner for Oracle that can ensure the best experience in your upgrade journey. Talk to our experts now!