New versions of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) are regularly released to improve performance and security and to introduce new features. Upgrading Oracle EBS helps you get the most out of your ERP platform.
Ensure a smooth transition during the upgrade by following a few important best practices and avoiding several common mistakes.
Recommendations for Upgrading Oracle EBS
Review the lessons learned from previous upgrades and assess what could have done differently to add relevant steps to the current upgrade process. Utilizing the strategies below will help ensure a successful upgrade process with minimal disruptions.
1. Review your business requirements
Upgrading to a new version of Oracle EBS can change how that platform meets business requirements. New features might close existing gaps or introduce new gaps.
Take the time to review new features and capabilities to assess how well they meet the business’ needs. Review the recommended patches for known issues – functional, security and performance – and develop a framework to track issues and roll out additional patches as required.
2. Conduct a CEMLI evaluation
An evaluation of configurations, extensions, modifications, localizations and integrations (CEMLI) will help identify areas that require upgrade testing. Items identified during the evaluation should be reviewed to determine how the new version of Oracle EBS will affect the object and whether going forward without adjustments is a viable option.
3. Prepare a detailed cutover plan
A smooth upgrade is aided by a detailed cutover plan, which is sometimes called a “cookbook.” Be sure to include tasks for IT and business team members: IT (DBAs, Server Admins, EBS Administrators, etc.) and business (Accountants, HR, Supply Chain, etc.). Detailed steps with assigned resources will ensure that steps are not skipped during the upgrade process.
Thoroughly research and plan the upgrade steps required for the current environment. Minor upgrades (for example, Oracle 12.2.x to the latest version) typically have a relatively straightforward upgrade path but a major upgrade (Oracle 12.1.X to Oracle 12.2.X) results in a more complex upgrade path.
Pitfalls to Avoid When Upgrading Oracle EBS
Several common mistakes can create additional barriers when rolling out a new version of Oracle EBS. These mistakes can complicate the upgrade process, interfere with user adoption of new features and result in additional costs that could have been avoided.
1. Excluding business stakeholders
Reach out to key stakeholders before installing an Oracle EBS update, including clients, partners and the IT department. Any department that will be affected by the update should be informed in advance and throughout the upgrade process.
Applying an EBS update without proper communication about new features and potential outages will make the change more disruptive than necessary. A lack of communication can cause stress for users, a loss of confidence among customers and inadequate support from IT. Additionally, once the upgrade has been rolled out, valuable feedback from the users may be missed.
Proper change management practices are critical before, during and after implementation. Don’t underestimate the need to communicate about the benefits of the upgrade, answer questions and provide the training necessary to leverage new features when applicable.
2. Overlooking the importance of technology requirements
How well does the current technology platform meet the requirements of the upgrade?
Be sure to research the architectural requirements of the upgrade and identify any changes or investments necessary before rolling out the new version of Oracle EBS. One often overlooked item is other software products utilized with EBS. Be sure to research all software products being utilized in conjunction with EBS and verify that they are supported and compatible with the new version.
3. Failing to plan the testing process
The lack of a coordinated upgrade testing plan can expose your company to important business and technical risks.
Create a detailed testing plan to prevent bugs and other issues from disrupting key processes when the update is rolled out. A thorough testing plan should include coordinated business testing, tests for the cut-over plan and individual tests for key processes and functionality.
Ensure key business processes have been thoroughly tested, including month-end close, financial reporting, invoicing, payment processing, and remember to verify critical technical processes including environment cloning, patching, backup/recovery and disaster recovery.
4. Not considering the disruption of business processes
Enlist the help of an interdisciplinary team of stakeholders to understand how upgrading Oracle EBS will disrupt their daily tasks. Establish an acceptable outage time frame and a preferred day and time for the outage based on business requirements.
Minimizing the disruption caused by the update will help reduce costs and ensure a smooth transition.
Upgrading Oracle EBS helps maximize the platform’s benefits thanks to new features, capabilities and updates that improve performance and manage risk.
Keep these key recommendations and common pitfalls in mind to ensure that the upgrade process is smooth with minimal disruption.