Upgrade trickery: Oracle E-Business suite 12.1.3 is moving into sustaining support

Oracle is up to its old tricks again. But this time, the vendor’s not even trying to hide it.  

It shouldn’t come as news to you that the mega-vendors are always scheming to keep you in the perpetual upgrade cycle, and this time is certainly no different.  

On 1 January 2022, version 12.1.3 of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) will move from Premier Support to Sustaining Support.  

It seems like this deadline came up pretty quick, right? That’s because Oracle decided to skip a step, removing the (usual) Extended Support period.  

So, what is Sustaining Support? And how do you avoid the downgrade to this reduced level of support? 

Premier Support vs Sustaining Support 

Well, let’s say that Premier Support is like an all-access pass, and it provides organisations with all the latest releases, technical support, critical patch updates, security alerts, and various certifications.   

Organisations using EBS 12.1.3 will lose the all-access pass at the end of this year (2021), with access to new updates, fixes, critical patches, and security alerts revoked.  

But of course, we’re dealing with Oracle and its continually rising support costs. So that means that not only will you still have to pay for that all-access pass, but by the time you find yourself in Sustaining Support you’ll actually have to pay more for a lot, lot less. 

Sustaining Support is essentially what it says on the tin; it does just enough to sustain your system.  

In place of the all-inclusive package (the one your organisation has likely grown used to over the past few years), customers on Sustaining Support are given access to Oracle’s online support tools, upgrade rights, pre-existing fixes, and assistance from technical support experts.  

Generally speaking, Sustaining Support is a ‘DIY’ approach to support. Oracle might give you the tools, but it’ll be reluctant to invest time and resources in an ‘outdated’ system. 

Oracle’s guide to avoiding Sustaining Support 

Being the ever-so-helpful vendor, Oracle will offer you several options to avoid going into Sustaining Support for EBS 12.1.3 at the beginning of next year.  

But, as is always the case, Oracle’s options lead to locking you into a new agreement and keeping you running on that never-ending upgrade treadmill.  

After all, this is the basis of its business model. 

So, what are your options? 

Plod along on the upgrade treadmill  

The first ploy – one of the oldest tricks in the vendor’s book –  will be an upgrade to EBS 12.2 of course. This will see you starting the vicious support cycle all over again.  

No doubt you’ll be filled with that impending sense of doom too. It’s only natural. Change can be unwelcome; especially if you’ve found your groove with the current version of your system.  

Unwanted upgrades can result in changes to workflows and processes and, in some cases, the latest version of the system might not be compatible with your customisations, operational needs, or long-term business strategy. Then what? 

So, not only will you incur significant additional costs as you venture down the upgrade route, but you’ll also be tied into at least another 11 years of vendor support (Premier Support provided to 2032 for EBS 12.2), meaning you’ll be subjected to Oracle’s notoriously high (and continually rising) support costs. 

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat… 

Continually plodding along, motivated by the illusion that you’re moving forward, and all the while never making any progress. 

Make the move to Oracle Cloud  

It’s no secret that mega-vendors have been pushing their SaaS Cloud solutions. Why wouldn’t they? The upcoming deadline for EBS 12.1.3 is no exception, with Oracle recommending making the move to Oracle Cloud as an alternative to upgrading to EBS 12.2. 

Oracle’s Cloud model locks customers in so they can only use Oracle for all their enterprise software needs – from applications to support – providing the vendor with a guaranteed, ongoing source of revenue. 

It would be nice to think that Cloud ERP would provide cost savings, wouldn’t it? Alas, this is not the case.  

If we put aside the extortionate cost just for implementation, the Cloud ERP model is priced per application and per user. This, alone, could cost more than the cost of licensing and on-premise support combined. Yikes. 

Remember earlier when we talked about how sometimes upgrading to the latest version can leave you without the functionality to support your processes?  

Well, unfortunately, similar problems can crop up with Cloud ERP, as not all ERP applications are available in the Cloud. You’ll also find that the applications that are available won’t accommodate the customisations that your organisation needs. 

It’s not all bad, though. Cloud means your organisation will always have the latest system version and the upgrades will be done automatically. Plus, because you’ve always got the latest product release, you will avoid moving to Sustaining Support. 

But, at what cost? 

Bridge the gap with Market Driven Support 

If you’re reluctant to upgrade to EBS 12.2, or make the move to Oracle’s Cloud solution, the vendor has another trick up its sleeve: Market Driven Support (MDS). If your organisation is unable to make the deadline before EBS 12.1.3 goes out of support, Oracle offers MDS to bridge the gap for an agreed period (typically one or two years). 

MDS offers support for your critical systems, meaning your organisation can remain compliant without upgrading. It’s worth noting, though, that Oracle will only provide support for priority one fixes and security updates  – and that’s only if it deems it “appropriate.” 

On the face of it, this can seem like a great middle ground (or stalling tactic), so you can upgrade when it suits you, not when it suits Oracle (or at least until this interim support period comes to an end).  

However, what may seem like a small blessing could actually be a curse, and you should always beware of vendors bearing gifts, particularly if those gifts come with the expectation that you will eventually upgrade or take Oracle up on its Cloud offering. 

To find out more about MDS, have a read of our blog

Third-party support is in your corner 

Oracle would like you to believe that these are the only solutions available to avoid going into Sustaining Support for EBS 12.1.3, so why not call its bluff? 

If you’re thinking you’re not ready to commit to another Oracle upgrade, and would rather not pay through the nose to maintain your critical systems, third-party support is a Gartner-recommended alternative to traditional vendor support. 

Room to manoeuvre 

Upgrading to the latest version of your system can seem illogical, with the minor tweaks and innovation hardly worth the hassle and business disruption.  

Fortunately, third-party support has the expertise to support “legacy” databases (even when mega-vendors like Oracle will not) which means you can stick with your current ERP versions for as long as you like.  

As you can continue using a stable solution – tried, tested, and approved by your organisation – your processes and workflows will remain unchanged, so you can be confident that your organisation’s customisations remain fully functional and compatible with your system. 

With no ominous deadlines in place, and no pressure to upgrade your system, moving to third-party support will help you to break free of the vendor’s upgrade cycle. Finally. 

Instead, you can take control of your IT roadmap once more and decide when, or if, an upgrade suits your organisation’s needs. 

Reclaim the support you deserve 

After the Premier Support deadline, Oracle will drop the quality of its support services as Sustaining Support kicks in. Will transitioning to third-party support to stay with EBS 12.1.3 also mean being relegated to a lesser level of support?  

Absolutely not.  

While Oracle’s support levels decline over time to coerce you to upgrade, the quality and standard of third-party support services remains steadfast. We pride ourselves on effectively and efficiently resolving support tickets, carrying out the fixes and applying the required patches for you.  

In fact, at Support Revolution, we work towards two SLAs, so you can anticipate when you’ll get a response from us, and how long it will take us to resolve your support ticket (depending on the priority level and urgency). 

We’ve got a 99.64% success rate for meeting our SLAs, so you can be sure that we’ve got you covered. 

Save yourself the hassle and (a lot of) money 

Are you wondering how third-party support compares to vendor support pricewise? 

Well, moving to third-party support could provide you cost savings of at least 50%. Last year alone, we saved our customers an average of 64% on their annual support bills.  

With your IT budget stretching that bit further, you’ll be able to reinvest the savings back into your organisation so you can focus on your future business strategy and pursue the ventures that will propel your organisation forward. 

Beat the clock 

We’re pretty clued up on the ol’ vendors’ tricks, and we call them as we see them. 

So, before Oracle rips the Premier Support rug out from under you, we just wanted to make sure you didn’t fall victim to its traps and were aware of all your options, in good time, before the EBS 12.1.3 deadline on 31 December 2021. 

If you want to avoid Sustaining Support and are wondering where you’ll find the money to upgrade (or are just fed up with Oracle’s expensive and below-par support services), why not chat with us? 

We’re here 24/7 to help. No ploys, no tactics, no pressure.