Part of my role at Claremont is to keep abreast of developments in the Oracle technologies and, unsurprisingly, this means getting my head around the Cloud. When I say Cloud I actually mean Clouds.

Over the past 12 months I’ve attended a variety of sessions run by the Oracle Partner Network and the UK Oracle User Group which have focused on the Cloud. The message from these sessions has been broadly the same- The Cloud is the future; on-premise systems are a thing of the past.

This statement may be broadly true if you extend the time-frame far enough into the future. However, it is not true today and will not be true for some time to come.

This piece is aimed at those of us who still use on-premise E-Business Suite in its many forms. I have clients (some still happily running 11.5.10) who may be becoming concerned about the future of their applications and frustrated with Oracle who seem to only want to talk to clients about the Cloud.

 

Oracle E-Business Suite Release Roadmap

So, firstly: What are Oracle’s plans for E-Business Suite?

At the UKOUG’s conference in Birmingham in December last year Cliff Godwin did a number of presentations on Oracle E-Business. One of them included the following roadmap:

If you want to read the full text that accompanies this roadmap then have a look here. The text is well worth a read. In particular the statements that show that Oracle realise there is some general nervousness about the future of Oracle E-Business:

“It has long been Oracle’s plan to deliver a major release beyond Oracle E-Business 12.2 to allow for needed periodic refresh of the technical components on which Oracle E-Business is built. However, because a post 12.2 release has not appeared in the published support timeline for EBS, there was some misperception that EBS might not be supported beyond the Premier Support period for EBS 12.2, which ends in 2023.

This updated roadmap should correct any misperception and clarify that while we are not announcing the release date of any future software, we are committing to support the next release of EBS through to 2030 at least. This should allay customers’ concerns and assist their longer-term planning.”

Rumour has it that release 12.3 will be coming out in 2019, although no firm dates have yet been confirmed for this.

Oracle has made announcements more recently reaffirming their commitment, and in fact going further by committing to a “10-Year Rolling Support” and “Continuous Innovation” for Oracle E-Business.

The fact is that Oracle is keen to point out that E-Business isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

 

Our Clients’ Oracle E-Business Suite Experience

From working with our existing Oracle E-Business install base customers we find that whilst a few are open to talk about moving to Oracle Cloud Applications, the majority don’t wish to make that move right now. Having made significant investments in the Oracle E-Business product, most of the install base is looking to secure maximum return on that investment. They want to talk to the technology vendor about the future of that product and how they can further use it to support their businesses going forwards. Unfortunately, Oracle’s sales focus on Oracle Cloud Applications and away from what some Oracle sales folk have described as “vintage” Oracle E-Business. This has jarred somewhat with customers in this camp.

 

Oracle’s realisation

Having listened to Cliff’s presentations and various Cloud sessions run by OPN and others you’d be forgiven for thinking that these people don’t work for the same company. Bear in mind that Oracle has been developing E-Business Suite for the past 30 years.

To be fair to Oracle, I think they’ve started to realise that they could do better in this area. We’ve heard recently that Oracle UK have hired sales people targeted at selling on-premise licenses. Oracle may have also realised that the take-up of the Cloud applications amongst the customer base hasn’t been quite what they’d hoped for. Their recent announcement that they will change the way they report on Cloud sales in the future prompted some interesting responses from analysts (one describing the analyst conference call as ‘testy’) and a predictable response from the share price.

At the recent UKOUG Cloud Day when a room of 100+ people were asked how many where already on the Cloud, four put their hands up. This is either a great opportunity to sell Cloud to the unenlightened (if your glass is of the half-full variety) or a sign of how much progress Oracle hasn’t made yet (for the rest of you).

It’s a disservice to focus on Oracle’s challenge in becoming a Cloud enterprise, and misses the most important part of the picture – they don’t just do Cloud folks.

I sat through two of Cliff Godwin’s presentations at the UKOUG conference and on both occasions he ran out of time telling the audience about all the new stuff his team are building into Oracle E-Business (I had to sympathise with the talk’s moderator on both sessions. Once on a roll Cliff, is a hard man to stop).

It’s now clear that a lot of what Oracle is doing is aimed at making it easier for the on-premise applications to live along-side their Cloud cousins. Some of this new kit is still early in its lifecycle but the intention is clear if you look hard enough (and I’m writing this because you do have to look hard sometimes). Oracle E-Business is a growing product with new features on the way and new releases planned up to at least 2030.

 

Summary

So, if you don’t feel like drinking the Cloud cool-ade just yet, don’t worry, you don’t have to and for some they’re never going to as they don’t like the taste.

If you would like to talk to Claremont about maximising your investments in your E-Business Suite please get in touch.

Michael Lane

Technical Managing Consultant

Michael leads the technical delivery of client projects as well as developing tools and methods aimed at removing risk and costs from Oracle ERP upgrades and implementations.

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