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Planning Your Oracle E-Business Suite Upgrade to Release 12.2

By Team OATUG posted 09-21-2020 16:27


Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 Delivers Value Now and into the Future

Oracle rolled out Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) 12.2 in Fall 2013, delivering Online Patching along with new and enhanced business functions and UI modernization across the suite. Since then, Oracle has provided a steady stream of functional and UI updates to 12.2, as well as automation to optimize Oracle EBS environments running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI.)

Oracle introduced Enterprise Command Centers in Fall 2018, continuing a pattern of innovation on 12.2. Increasingly, users can start their Oracle EBS sessions with discovery-oriented dashboards that bring together diverse operational data from across Oracle EBS. With “information-driven navigation,” users can browse and drill on key indicators, charts and graphs and leverage consumer-like search and filters to quickly identify, and then act on, their most important transactions.

Figure 1. Enterprise Command Centers

Continuous Innovation on Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2

In 2018, Oracle announced a Continuous Innovation release model for Oracle EBS 12.2, committing to ongoing applications and underlying technology stack updates for 12.2 without requiring a major upgrade. We also named 12.2 as the long-term support release for Oracle EBS, with Premier Support for 12.2 pledged through at least 2031. Customers running Oracle EBS 12.2 have the peace of mind that Oracle will continue to support their business for years to come.

Customers Need to Move Beyond Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1

Oracle EBS 12.1 is moving from Premier Support to Sustaining Support at the end of 2021. Oracle Sustaining Support does not provide new fixes, updates or security patches.

Figure 2. Support Timeline for EBS Customers

If you are running Oracle-EBS 12.1.3 and plan to move to 12.2 or to Oracle’s SaaS applications but cannot complete the transition prior to January 1, 2022, you can use Oracle Market-Driven Support for Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1, offered by Oracle Advanced Customer Services (ACS), to bridge the support gap. Available for 2022 and 2023, the offering includes the following service components not available with Oracle Sustaining Support:

  • Critical fixes and/or workarounds for newly-discovered product issues resulting in Severity 1 and 2 Service Requests
  • Periodic critical security patches and updates
  • Legislative and regulatory updates, as well as payroll-tax updates for selected countries

Upgrading to Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2: Key Planning Considerations

Many Oracle EBS customers have completed the upgrade to 12.2, and many systems integrators have gained substantial experience guiding successful 12.2 projects. Based on their experiences, we have identified key upgrade planning considerations, several of which are highlighted below.

Decide Between a Minimal, Technical and a Full, Functional Upgrade

The standard upgrade moves Oracle EBS from 12.1 to 12.2 with the same setups and functionality, plus Online Patching, which is delivered by default.

You can simplify your 12.2 project by performing a minimal, technical upgrade, accepting default 12.2 setups and functionality. Alternatively, you can maximize your ROI by combining the technical upgrade with the implementation of new 12.2 functionality.

Regardless of how you adopt 12.2, it contains hundreds of new features – described in Oracle E-Business Suite Release Content Documents – that can help you further automate business processes and reduce customizations. You can analyze new 12.2 features and implement them at your own pace at any time after the upgrade. Free 12.2 Transfer of Information training available on-demand from the Oracle E-Business Suite Learning Center can help you scope your implementation effort.

Determine Your Project Time and Effort

You may be wondering, “How long will my 12.2 project take?” There is no single answer to the question, as a wide range of variables specific to your circumstances will determine your project time and effort. For example:

  • Is your current Oracle EBS system heavily customized, requiring you to expend significant time and effort on inventorying custom code, evaluating 12.2 impacts on custom code, and then remediating that code before applying it to 12.2?
  • Are you combining your 12.2 adoption with other systems projects, such as upgrading your hardware, operating system, or database?
  • Are you performing a minimal, technical upgrade, or are you implementing new 12.2 functionality to your target level?
  • How big is your project team, and how much of their time will be dedicated to 12.2 adoption?
  • Is your technical team prepared to adapt to 12.2 technology changes, which include Online Patching and WebLogic Server?

Consider consulting with an experienced systems integrator to estimate the time and effort your 12.2 project will require.

Plan for Impacts on Applications DBAs

With Online Patching, patches to Oracle EBS 12.2 are applied while the production system remains fully online and users continue to do work. Only a short downtime is required to switch end users to the newly-patched version.

The 12.2 move to Online Patching is a significant transition for your applications DBAs, involving new concepts, terminology, tools, and operational practices. Further, your IT staff must come up to speed on Fusion Middleware 11g and WebLogic Server, which replace Fusion Middleware 10g and the OC4J application server. Ensure that your IT staff is ready to master these 12.2 technical and operational changes.

Plan for Impacts on Custom Code Developers

Plan to evaluate custom code to determine what can be replaced with standard 12.2 product functions, and what can be retired because it is no longer needed. Most systems integrators and Oracle’s Advanced Customer Services team have tools and services that can help with this exercise.

Any custom code that you choose to upgrade must be reviewed for compliance with 12.2 development standards. A required, minimal set of standards must be met for custom code to run correctly on 12.2; optional, additional standards must be met for custom code to be enabled for Online Patching (versus offline application).

Oracle provides reports that you can run on custom code to identify 12.2 standards violations and view recommended fixes. You can download and run the reports today on your current release level (11.5.10, 12.0, or 12.1), apply recommended fixes in test environments, and then re-run the reports until standards compliance is achieved. Because 12.2 development standards are backward-compatible, you can apply validated code fixes to your production environment in advance of your 12.2 upgrade project.

Plan for Impacts on Business Users

The standard 12.2 upgrade retains existing user menus. After the upgrade completes, you can update user menus to replace legacy forms with modern HTML screens. You can also deploy 12.2 Enterprise Command Centers and add new role-specific dashboards to user menus. Additionally, you can implement new business functions and new products to further automate your business processes.

The scope of UI and functional change that you choose to undertake will determine the needed user communication and training.

Plan to Upgrade to Oracle Database 19c, the Latest-Certified Database Version

If you are running Oracle EBS 12.1 on an older database version (11.2 or 12.1), consider how to accomplish the upgrade to Oracle Database 19c along with the upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2.

Any of three paths will work. Choose the one that works best for your business:

  • Path A: Complete your database upgrade in a project and downtime prior to your Oracle EBS upgrade.
  • Path B: Complete your Oracle EBS upgrade in a project and downtime prior to your database upgrade.
  • Path C: Combine your database upgrade and your Oracle EBS upgrade into a single project and downtime.
    • o Upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2 by the end of 2021 and upgrade to Oracle Database 19c by the end of July 2022 to avoid Market-Driven Support for Oracle E-Business 12.1 while staying within the Extended Support window for Oracle Database 12.1.
Figure 3. Accomplishing Both an EBS 12.2 and a Database 19c Upgrade

Separating the upgrades into two projects (Path A or B) could result in more total downtime and testing, but with less downtime and less complex troubleshooting for any one project.

Combining the upgrades into a one project (Path C) could minimize total downtime and testing, but with more complex troubleshooting as you undertake more change in one project.

There are Support timelines to consider:

  • Database 12.1:
    • Extended Support ends July 31, 2022
    • Extended Support fees are waived through the full Extended Support period for databases used for Oracle EBS
  • Database 11.2:
    • Extended Support ends December 31, 2020
    • Extended Support fees are waived through the full Extended Support period for databases used for Oracle EBS
    • Advanced Customer Services Market-Driven Support (MDS) is available for databases after December 2020

If you choose to do the database upgrade and the Oracle EBS upgrade in two different projects, there are additional considerations:

  • Database 12.1:
    • Upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2 by the end of 2021 and upgrade to Oracle Database 19c by the end of July 2022 to avoid Market-Driven Support for Oracle E-Business 12.1 while staying within the Extended Support window for Oracle Database 12.1.
  • Database 11.2:
    • Upgrade to Oracle Database 19c by the end of 2020 and upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2 by the end of 2021 to avoid Market-Driven Support for either Oracle Database 11.2 or Oracle EBS 12.2

Where to Go for More Information

See the Upgrading to Oracle E–Business Suite 12.2 Resource Guide for videos, documents, and online training focused on Oracle EBS 12.2 upgrade value and planning. Also look for ongoing Oracle EBS education and events sponsored by the Oracle Applications & Technology Users Group (OATUG).