Three questions to ask before you upgrade your Oracle estate

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There are a whole host of reasons why organisations would want to upgrade their Oracle estate.

They could be chasing the newest and shiniest product out there, wanting to be ahead of the innovation curve with the latest features, or simply wanting to remain eligible to receive critical security patches and bug fixes.

But upgrading your software, or databases, can be a tough decision to make, especially when you begin totting up all the costs and resources required.

That is, the costs that you can budget for. Because, as we know, when undertaking a new project, sometimes there are unexpected bumps in the road that can end up being quite expensive to overcome – be that financially or otherwise.

In short, upgrading can place unnecessary strain on the organisation in the form of costs, resources, and possible compatibility issues.

But do the benefits of an Oracle upgrade outweigh the obstacles?

To help you be certain that upgrading your estate is the right choice for your organisation, we’ve compiled the top three questions we think you need to be asking to aid your decision-making process.

Question 1: Does your current Oracle estate still meet your organisation’s needs?

Before you make the decision to upgrade (and before any deadlines roll around), it might be a good idea to take the time to figure out if your current software version still meets your organisation’s needs.

Organisations grow and change all the time which means what they need from their software might also need to evolve.

Upgrades, therefore, appeal to a lot of organisations as they are often under the impression that this newer version offers improved usability and performance. (And who doesn’t love smooth software?)

But, are you being led astray by the promise of shiny new features? Which ones, if any, will benefit your organisation? And how will they coordinate with your current database version?

To aid your decision-making process, it’s worth reviewing what new features will be available as part of the latest software release. Especially as, more recently, Oracle has been somewhat guilty of putting out upgrades under the guise of innovation.

The reality is, however, that the new features are imperceptible and hardly worth the bother. This is largely due to the fact that the vendor’s focus has shifted to its Cloud offering, and pushing customer migrations to this favoured platform.

In addition to scrutinising the features of the latest upgrade, it is worth determining if your current system version is still supporting your organisation’s requirements, and if it is continuing to operate in line with the business targets, mission, and vision.

Getting a lay of the land with your organisation’s vision in mind will help you identify any obvious pitfalls and areas for development.

If, however, it is widely felt that the system is performing perfectly adequately and has all bases covered, then why try and fix something that isn’t broken and still satisfies your organisation’s needs?

Unless an upgrade will dramatically improve productivity or boost ROI (something you can do very efficiently by simply moving to third-party support), then we’re not so sure it’s worth disturbing the peace.

Question 2: Is your current system version supported?

Are you currently receiving the latest security patches and bug fixes from your vendor?

And, if you are, will opting not to upgrade possibly result in your systems going out of support or moving to a much lesser support level (i.e. Oracle’s Sustaining Support)?

Of course, support is a major consideration when weighing up the pros and cons of upgrading.

Security and compliance are hailed as (pretty much) essential to an optimised and high performing system, so many organisations worry about what will happen if their system goes out of support. Meanwhile, others are concerned with paying higher support bills only to be denied critical patches.

If your current system is supported, and will continue to be so for some time to come, then you might decide you can forego the hassle of the upcoming upgrade.

But, ultimately, that is just putting off the inevitable. You will have to upgrade at some point if you want to avoid your system going out of support.

At least, that’s what Oracle would like you to think.

Should you opt to move to third-party support, you can benefit from our decades of expertise as we support all system versions (including software that the vendors themselves no longer support).

Plus, we offer a more efficient and secure solution, rooted in virtual patching rather than the traditional patching solution which is preferred (and considerably slower) method used by Oracle.

Question 3: Will upgrading secure a competitive edge?

It’s all a competition, really. And being competitive is almost synonymous with survival at this point. This has most definitely been compounded by a continually evolving landscape, changing consumer habits, and technological advancements around the world.

This is particularly true of the software and computing industries. With many organisations looking to improve their usability, performance, and productivity as a result of adopting more flexible and forward-thinking working models, mega-vendors – like Oracle – have largely experienced growth.

At the core of this is organisations that are striving to survive in such challenging and merciless markets. A big part of this survival has been trying to be resilient in the face of adversity and making sure this is achieved more effectively than their biggest competitor.

It makes sense, then, that organisations would be considering upgrading their systems if that meant that they could maintain compliance and security, receive top-tier support services, and have the latest innovations available in the market.

But, on the flip side, do you have the budget, resources, and time to be considering an upgrade right now?

Perhaps there are other areas of your organisation that could do with a little care and attention to ensure you remain at the forefront of your industry.

If you’re thinking that, actually, your organisation might benefit from taking a breather away from upgrades, third-party support providers might just be able to help.

You can regain control of your IT roadmap and, as you’ll be saving at least 50% on your annual support bills, you’ll be able to reinvest these savings in to other areas of your organisation to reinvigorate your competitive edge.

Any further questions?

There is a lot to weigh up before you consider upgrading. And maybe a pros and cons list won’t quite suffice in this instance.

But by highlighting these questions, we hope that if you do decide to upgrade, you do so with the knowledge that it was the right choice for your organisation and that you were aware of alternative options (third-party support being one of them).

And while we may have outlined the top questions to ask before you upgrade, we might have got you asking plenty of other questions about third-party support, as well as your other options for upgrading.

Don’t worry, though – we’ve got you covered.

If you want to find out more about what upgrade options are available to you, we’ve created a handy (and free!) guide which can be downloaded by clicking the button below:

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