Justifying the business case to update Oracle eBusiness Suite

To justify the upgrade cost needed to move to Oracle eBusiness Suite Release 12, IT departments need consider how the implementation can deliver value.

IT departments should consider how the implementation can deliver business value to justify the multi-million pound upgrade needed to move to Oracle eBusiness Suite release 12.

Oracle has said that, while its Sustaining Support service for Oracle E-Business Suite release 11.5.10 will be provided from December 2013 to December 2015, it will only provide payroll regulatory updates for the US, Canada, UK and Australia for fiscal years ending in 2014.

With less than a year before Oracle stops issuing legislative patches to eBusiness Suite 11i, users need to plan for a migration to release 12.

While Oracle has positioned release 12 (R12) as a migration path to its Fusion product family, many IT managers face the prospect of trying to budget for an expensive “technical” upgrade of their ERP suite, which may offer no business value.

"Keeping up with Oracle upgrades is very expensive," said Mike Lane, managing technical consultant at Oracle partner Claremont.

Lane will be speaking at the Keep Calm and Resolve your R12 Upgrade Dilemma event in London next week, looking at how organisations can justify the upgrade of their Oracle ERP systems.

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Computer Weekly interviewed Lane on his tips for building a business case for going to R12. He said it can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds or even millions of pounds to upgrade, making a technical upgrade hard to justify to the business, for want of direct business benefits.

Lane recommended IT managers look at re-implementing certain parts of the Oracle system to bring in real business benefits. For instance, charts of accounts are often years out of date, because the business may have evolved since they were first set up.

"Oracle eBusiness Suite supports e-commerce but your accounts system cannot keep up. Moving to R12 gives the business a chance to re-implement the organisation’s chart of accounts, and so gain a business benefit, he explained.

Lane said organisations should also look at implementing legacy Oracle Forms and Reports, which developers use to customise eBusiness Suite. Oracle’s preferred method for customisation is now based on Java 2 Enterprise edition (J2EE). Lane said Oracle offers tools that extract XML-based reports in Microsoft Word documents. This allows users to design the look and feel of the reports they want. Lane said the finished reports can then be built using Oracle’s Business Intelligence stack.

Another business benefit he suggested greater use of Oracle's functionality when upgrading. Lane said: "Half of the data you need for a new module is already available in the system." For instance, he said R12 has an Installed Base module, which enables businesses to correlate customers with the products they have bought, a function that is useful for supporting tasks such as maintenance and servicing contracts.

Lane said Oracle’s Installed Base module picks up data from Accounts Receivable and Inventory modules. In terms of business benefits he said: "This removes a lot of manual effort."

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