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8 May 2017

Sweating your Oracle E-Business Suite asset doesn't mean doing nothing.

Uptake of Oracle’s Cloud Applications is gaining momentum, causing Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) customers to re-consider whether and when they may move to the Cloud. But this blog isn’t about the benefits of that change, but rather what you, as a current EBS user, could be doing in the meantime.


EBS 12.3 is coming!

Customers tell us the reality of Cloud Applications means they expect to migrate to Cloud, or at least review their options, but they don’t want to do that now. They’re not ready for this change and delaying for a number of years enables them to sweat their EBS assets: they’ve made significant investments in EBS and its replacement is not a business priority.

This approach is reinforced by Oracle’s announcements demonstrating there’s plenty of life left in EBS. A major upgrade (12.3) is scheduled for 2019 and the current version is already fully supported for another 6 years to 2023.

“Wait and see” is an appealing approach that the support timeline makes safe and 12.3 gives yet another future option. Why commit to a decision now if it’s not required by the business? Hence, many EBS users are postponing wholesale changes to ‘sweat their EBS assets’. However, too often “sweating the asset” is synonymous with ‘doing nothing’ and that creates future problems: systems become out-of-date, failing to support a changing business, and are increasingly difficult to support as they take-on “legacy” status.

Staying active

If staying with EBS makes business sense for customers there are a number of initiatives they should consider. These can reduce costs, optimise business processes and improve the experience for users. Two stand out as positive changes to consider while ‘sweating’ EBS.

Functional Optimisation

Make the most of what you’ve got. Whether it’s improving a business process or the users’ experience, optimising your current system to ensure it continues to meet the demands of your business is crucial. Focusing attention on any of these can quickly lead to tangible benefits, most notably reduced costs and increased user adoption. For example, our implementations of Applaud Solutions for Oracle HCM make such significant improvements to users’ experiences, including mobile deployment, that system adoption and data quality materially increases.

Team Changes or Re-deployment

Ensuring you have the right people, with the right skills, to support and develop EBS is essential. Taking the decision to “sweat” EBS doesn’t change this, it’s still important to have the correct blend of technical and functional skillsets and knowledge in place to support your systems and stakeholders over the coming years.

There is a skills shortage across the whole Oracle EBS market: the skills we have are becoming rarer and more expensive. An increased rate of technological change, rapid digital evolution within businesses and lack of young professionals learning EBS means businesses must review the best and most cost effective use of skills, both inside and outside the organisation.

Businesses need to re-think the current structure and use of internal Oracle support teams.  Can you attract and retain sufficient numbers of staff with the right skills? But, more fundamentally, should you be attempting this for an aging system?

The COBOL case:

Let’s use the example of COBOL-based software to demonstrate this. Despite being almost 60 years old, many key business applications still run on COBOL. It is estimated 70% to 80% of UK business transactions are processed on COBOL and, worldwide, there are 200 times more COBOL transactions than Google searches. COBOL assets are being thoroughly sweated!

Man on Bench

But retirement and an ageing COBOL workforce has resulted in a skills shortage. That impacts the cost of supporting these applications and business’s ability to develop changes. Given the current state of the skills market, EBS could be set to follow the same path and businesses planning to sweat this asset must have a support strategy.

Staying active, whilst doing nothing

As at the start of the article, and despite the risks demonstrated by COBOL, I still believe sweating the EBS asset (while avoiding a ‘do nothing approach’) is the correct decision for many EBS users. However, I’m not convinced that going it alone is the correct way of delivering that approach.

Engaging the services of a managed service provider (MSP), such as Claremont, offers a way to deliver the benefits of this approach while mitigating the risks. This includes: maintaining and evolving your Oracle EBS system, reducing costs, avoiding the investment required for comprehensive in-house support and enabling staff to be re-deployed to deliver business change rather than business-as-usual activities.

We will help you bridge the EBS capacity and skills gaps in your IT department while helping evolve and improve your Oracle EBS system and its support. By choosing Claremont you make these problems our responsibility and we’ve proven we are very good at solving them. But we do this in partnership with our customers – we’re not an outsourcer trying to take over all aspects of our customers’ Oracle support.

At Claremont, our managed services represent something unique in the Oracle market, we offer the above benefits and more. We deliver a combination of better services and lower costs than alternative providers, and we have the statistics to back our claim:

  • In our latest customer satisfaction survey, 100% of customers rated us as “exceeded expectations and definitely recommend”.
  • In March 2017 we handled a record number of tickets (incidents, problems & changes) yet also achieved 100% SLA adherence (including for incident resolution, which most MSPs won’t offer) and record levels of customer satisfaction. Proof that Claremont has the skills, capacity and processes to deliver excellent EBS support.
  • 80% of new customers switch to us from other providers, yet Claremont has never lost a customer to a competitor.
  • On average, customers have saved 51% when moving to Claremont’s managed services.

Claremont offer the best in Oracle functional and technical managed service support. If you have any questions or if you would like further information please get in touch today.

Jonathan Stuart Claremont

Jonathan Stuart

Managed Services Director

Jonathan is Claremont’s Managed Services Director and is thus responsible for the development and delivery of our Oracle support and hosting services.

Jonathan joined Oracle Corporation in 1995 and became a Senior Consultant specialising in OracleE-Business Suite technology.