Many of the thousands of organizations currently operating Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) have likely heard that Oracle will be ending support of the on-premise ERP platform (EBS), as they shift focus towards cloud offerings like Oracle ERP Cloud. In this blog, we review what EBS support is now and will be offered by Oracle, when certain tiers are expiring and what strategy we recommend companies begin to explore with leadership (HINT – an ERP roadmap).
What Support Stages Will be Offered by Oracle for EBS?
For all licensed Oracle products we presume users will have access to three support stages throughout the EBS life cycle:
- Premier Support: The initial support stage, which spans five years from the Oracle EBS product’s general availability date (for all intents and purposes, the product’s “release date”). This includes general support, such as critical patch updates, security alerts and technical support, to name a few.
- Extended Support: An optional, secondary support stage wherein customers can pay a fee to experience ‘Premier-like’ support for three additional years beyond the end of Premier Support.
- Sustaining Support: The last stage of support, after Premier has ended and Extended has either expired or is no longer offered; offers technical support, access to content (e.g. critical patch updates) produced during the Premier stage, and other limited support features intended to help maintain or “sustain” a platform.
Is it Possible to Just Pay for Premier Support Forever?
The short answer is no.
EBS releases can typically be lumped into four groups when discussing support: PreR12, R12, R12.1 and R12.2
- Organizations operating on 11i or R12 releases prior to 12.1 only have Sustaining Support available to them.
- Those on 12.1 can receive Premier Support through December 2021, but Extended Support won’t be an option and they’ll automatically transition to Sustaining Support after that date.
- For the 12.2 user-base, Premier Support will be offered through December 2030. This forward-facing commitment stems largely from Oracle’s plans to improve/expand the EBS platform, as detailed in a July 2017 roadmap update.
NOTE: page 15 of the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy (May 2020) document includes a helpful table for determining release eligibility for support stages; Oracle’s “E-Business Suite Releases – Support Policy FAQ” (Doc ID 1494891.1) provides additional context regarding releases’ available support stages.
Some organizations are unsure of which Oracle EBS release they may have, but the good news is that determining the release is very easy. When logged into the EBS, navigate to Help > About Oracle Applications and quickly determine the appropriate release.
What Options Exist For Organizations Not On 12.2?
The acceleration of the decision timeline hinges on how far the organization is from 12.2:
- Pre R12: Opting for 12.2 isn’t necessarily a small undertaking, commonly referred to by IT folks as a “lift and shift.” R12 was a major advancement from the preceding 11i release, offering significant new functionality. Even though there is a direct upgrade path (being able to skip intermediate releases), transitioning to R12 should be respected as a full-blown implementation. Don’t make the mistake of deeming it a simple upgrade that a few team members can tackle over the weekend.
- R12 (e.g. 12 or 12.1): For companies already on R12, the discussion then shifts to “do I stay on the platform that appears to have a sunset date – or do we embrace a business transformation opportunity in the near-term?”
How to Choose
There are a variety of decision factors that must be weighed and carefully scrutinized to align with the organization’s technical posture. A few that typically rise to the top include:
- Does or will the organization have the team to continuously manage the needs (e.g. infrastructure) of an on-premise application?
- Is the cloud truly secure enough to trust?
- Does the next-generation version of the current ERP even fit the company profile anymore?
- Are there acquisitions/mergers/divestitures planned in the near term that should be taken into account?
- With the existing ERP platform having been customized significantly to fit the business – can a new version accommodate our customizations?
While there is a short decision runway for organizations on an EBS release prior to version 12.2, there are options. However, there is one school of thought most organizations can agree on – running the business on the back of an ERP system that is no longer being invested in is less than ideal.
Protiviti’s Oracle team is uniquely positioned to help organizations think through the next steps, whether it be maintaining on-premise systems or transitioning to cloud offerings. We would enjoy an opportunity to discuss ERP road mapping. Contact us to continue this important dialogue.