Has Oracle forced you to upgrade or pay more for support?

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and it’s a new… Oracle E-Business Suite for those who decided to upgrade to 12.2.

While we were waving goodbye to 2021 and welcoming in the New Year (maybe a little sceptically, given the events of recent times), Oracle was busy kicking EBS 12.1.3 – and all those who didn’t upgrade to its latest software version – into Sustaining Support.

And it all happened so quickly.

Mostly because Oracle decided to forego the usual period of Extended Support in a bid to encourage its customers to upgrade.

And with many organisations opting to sit tight and reign in their spending throughout the ongoing rollercoaster of 2020 and 2021, it’s no surprise that Oracle is keen to get these customers moving; be it in the direction of EBS 12.2, or its Cloud offering.

Oracle didn’t just leave it at that, though. The vendor also sought a solution that would counter the growing interest in third-party support services.

The alternative that Oracle pushed for those organisations looking to avoid an upgrade, or a Sustaining Support downgrade? Paying more to be supported by its Market Driven Support offering.

So, with Oracle nudging you in the direction of its various support options (and attempting to block off third-party support providers), which door did you choose?

Door 1: E-Business Suite (EBS) 12.2

Behind door number one we have EBS 12.2!

Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) is one of the most widely used of Oracle’s products, and is designed to help organisations manage business operations.

EBS has also been a part of Oracle’s offering for nearly 35 years which means the product has gone through several upgrade cycles in its time.

In November 2021, Oracle announced that EBS 12.2.11 was available. This announcement also served to underscore that EBS 12.1.3 would find itself placed on the Sustaining Support shelf from January 1st of this year (2022).

It’s no secret that the benefits that accompany a new(er) version of an Oracle product seem to be depleting with every new release. Although some will still cite functional improvements, operational efficiencies, or updated architecture that warrant investing significant time, money, and resources into upgrading your systems.

But what happens if you simply cannot justify upgrading your Oracle systems (again)? Or, your roadmap doesn’t align with that of the vendor’s and an upgrade would see your organisation veer off course? Perhaps you’re completely reconsidering your relationship with Oracle and are thinking it might be best to seek out a more supportive vendor?

Whatever the reason may be, upgrading (particularly to timescales outside of your control) isn’t for every organisation.

So, what can you do to avoid falling out of support?

Door 2: Market Driven Support (MDS)

One small sidestep later and Oracle will have you standing at the precipice of door number 2: Market Driven Support (MDS)

Let’s quickly recap what MDS is (or, if this is relatively unfamiliar to you, you can find out a little more by reading our blog).

Market Driven Support is a separate support option from the familiar tiers of Oracle Support (Premier, Extended, and Sustaining).

MDS essentially acts as a temporary filler, enabling organisations to remain supported beyond Premier Support cut-off dates.

The nature of this offering is primarily to capture a segment of the market that, until more recently, has seemingly slipped through Oracle’s clutches.

These tend to be organisations that have sought an alternative to vendor support because upgrading, or moving to the Cloud, hasn’t been feasible or desirable – a predicament that companies around the world found themselves in as a result of challenging market conditions.

But, of course, there is a catch.

And that is that your organisation can only utilise the vendor’s MDS offering if after the agreed period (typically two years) ends, you’ll either be upgrading or implementing Oracle’s Cloud applications.

So, really, it’s just delaying the inevitable.

And buying yourself time in this case comes with quite the price-tag. Not only will your organisation be paying twice what it would have cost to place your systems in the expert hands of a third-party support provider, but you’ll also be charged additional fees for the privilege of receiving lacklustre support.

This is probably where a lot of organisations get caught out; Market Driven Support is not a substitute of equal measure for Premier Support. In fact, this support service has a whole reel of limitations, restrictions, and pitfalls, including:

  • No access to platinum services
  • No access to limitless tax, legal, and regulatory updates
  • No middleware and integrations
  • No access to any type of certifications for more third-party products
  • No architectural changes
  • EBS product exclusions
  • Payroll country limitations

So, what actually distinguishes MDS from the much-dreaded Sustaining Support?

Well, if a critical incident or unforeseen product issue (to clarify: an issue that has been discovered with the product since taking out MDS) arises, your organisation will be eligible to receive the necessary fixes.

But only if Oracle deems the issue to be level 1 or 2 in severity.

This could result in many organisations going without the critical fixes and patches they need. Plus, with Oracle’s reputation for promptly resolving incidents being so poor, we have to wonder whether those additional fees paid for MDS will see organisations benefit from some sort of queue jump.

If you’re worried about keeping your systems secure and compliant with MDS, fear not. You can expect to receive periodic critical security patches and updates, as well as payroll-tax updates. But only if your organisation is based in an eligible location.

It’s also come to our attention that, in some cases, Oracle are using MDS as leverage to force customers back into the upgrade cycle sooner than the organisation in question had been prepared for. For example, although you might have decided against the EBS 12.2 upgrade, once the MDS contract is signed, sealed, and delivered, your organisation could find that Oracle begin insisting that you upgrade your database to 19c within the 2-year MDS term.

A lot of companies could find themselves in rather a tight spot if Oracle begins using critical fixes and patches to force these organisations to take the upgrade bait.

It seems clear to us that Oracle’s second door – with all its splinters – is a poor attempt at rivalling the support provided by third-party support providers.

Door 3: third-party support

Further along the corridor, you’ll find door number 3 (and the reason why MDS was introduced in the first place): third-party support.

Ultimately, though, if your organisation isn’t sure that a move to the Cloud, or adopting the latest upgrade from Oracle, is the right move right now then third-party support could be an invaluable alternative to Market Driven Support.

We don’t have a hidden agenda – or hidden costs – when it comes to our support services, so we won’t be picking and choosing which critical fixes and security patches to dish out whenever we feel like it.

Our incident resolution process is 24/7, steadfast, and timely (thanks to our excellent SLAs!), so, your system will receive the fixes and patches it needs to remain secure and compliant.

Crucially, support and maintenance services are at the heart of what we do, so we won’t be charging you to fund the development of new products. This means that, not only could Support Revolution save you the cost of those pricey MDS fees, but we could also cut your standard Oracle Support bill by at least 50%.

There are HUGE savings to be made with third-party support, and these funds could enable your organisation to gather the necessary resources to develop and implement an IT roadmap that aligns with business needs and values. So, you could consider more seriously a move to the Cloud (should that be where your organisation ultimately wants to end up), or you can plan and budget more stringently to undertake an Oracle upgrade when it suits you.

We talk like you’d have all the time in the world to sit down and map out the future of your organisation’s IT estate but that’s because, really, you would have as much time as you want, or need, to make draw up these plans.

At Support Revolution, we’ve accumulated more than two decades of Oracle expertise. We’re able to support a complete range of Oracle products, and we can do so without implementing desupport deadlines. For as long as you want to stay with the current version of your system, we’ve got you covered, and we won’t be tricking you into jumping back onto any sort of upgrade bandwagon.

Knocking on Support Revolution’s door

If you’re thinking it’s time to shut the door on Oracle (we’re not saying you have to lock it!), we’re here to open up new opportunities for you and welcome you to third-party support.

Why not get in touch to have a chat with one of our experts about how Support Revolution could help you?

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