Decisions, decisions, decisions?
Your business has concluded that a move to Release 12.1 would be the most sensible course for the future and has eliminated a ‘wait and see’ approach’ based on Oracle Fusion Applications becoming available sometime in the future.
Notwithstanding all the tasks that need to be accomplished to bring the current production system to readiness for the move, there is still the “small” matter of what type of move the organisation wishes to pursue.
Broadly speaking, there appears to me to be two classes of migration:
Upgrade: ‘Straightforward’ migration of data, structures and processes.
Re-implementation: Taking advantage of new functionality.
The Upgrade Path suggests to me the following advantages:
Leverages existing investment in 11i.
Minimizes potential cost and risk.
Limits changes to business processes and documentation
Less need to change existing setup in modules.
Quicker end-to-end project time span ~ 6 month’s (optimistic estimate).
Could implement new functionality at a later date.
The disadvantages that immediately spring to mind are:
Lost opportunities to use new functionality.
Upgrade process can take several days downtime.
Risks will increase if the upgrade does not have a clean 11i base.
I am sure that there are more pros and cons, particularly when a business team looks at this option in relation to their own company. Decision making times, availability of staff, training requirements, communication strategies, level of customizations, personalizations etc will all play a part in implementing this option.
Lastly, I would strongly advise anyone looking at the upgrade option to talk to users who have followed this path, particularly, to understand the level of complexity behind what seems to be a “straightforward upgrade” process.
Looking to the Re-implementation Path, I see some real opportunities, principally as my own experience and that of others suggest that it takes a number of years before an organisation understands the capabilities and strengths of its own Oracle EBS systems.
This leads me to suggest that this path could be the ideal time to re-engineer key business processes. Naturally it is important that the business cases are evaluated and included in the final project assessment. Together with risk assessment and competitive advantage analyses.
This approach is going to cost more money than a “straightforward upgrade” but the project could also use team skills to gain efficiencies in a range of existing processes, as well as implementing new functionality.
The re-implementation project could be closely linked with an enhanced Business Intelligence initiative to drive business efficiencies.
Existing business security strategies could be implemented through Multi-Org Access Control.
New or replacement modules could prove beneficial e.g. Advanced Collections or Projects Suite.
Naturally, certain tasks such as creating a clean 11i installation will still have to done. (Although, the downtime for the cutover to the new system is likely to be less than an upgrade.) Also, the same considerations for decision making times, availability of staff, training requirements, communication strategies, level of customizations, personalizations etc will still apply.
“There are over 1,500 new features in Release 12, with significant new functionality in the Financials area.” Further enhancements have been added with subsequent Release Update Packs (RUP). If a business chooses to ignore the benefits that these features could bring then there could well be opportunity costs associated with that decision.
Furthermore, if the organisation envisages remaining with an Oracle ERP system past Q3 2013 then a move to Fusion Applications will be an even bigger jump from both a technical and functional perspective.
In the final analysis, the decision as to which route to take will depend on the Cost–Benefit analyses and the assessments of future competitive advantages of the two options.