Kevin Kempf's Blog

January 7, 2015

R12 Take Aways and Warnings Part 1 (Overview)

Filed under: Oracle, R12.2 — kkempf @ 11:30 am

warning

What could possibly go wrong?

I put my thoughts together, and figured I could cite some specifics for the benefit of anyone who cares to listen.  I’ll be honest, functionally, R12.2 behaves pretty similarly to 11i.  The most significant impact for us was in the Financials with subledger accounting, but our WIP, Sales, HR, Purchasing, Order Management, Inventory, and Quality mostly just worked out of the box.  Sure we had to tweak all our custom reports, but the end-user experience was largely unchanged.

Most of the problems encountered lie in the techstack, and really, that’s why you’re here reading this, I suppose.  So without further ado…

Documentation: Before you Start

Wow, it’s ever-changing under your feet.  In the real world, you pick a baseline and have to dance with that partner all the way through the upgrade process.  In our case, this was 6 months.  Many, many things changed during that span, and it’s not easy to stay on top of.  If you’re like me by the time you get through your first pass against 12.2.3 you’ll have a stacks and piles of documents all over your desk.  This post is by no means meant to be all-encompassing, but the following are sure bets:

Here’s your first stop for information for 12.2.3 (it stands to reason there’s an equivalent on for 12.2.4): Doc ID 1586214.1  If you look at the end of the document, there’s a change log.  During the relevant span of my upgrade (1-May-14 through 1-Dec-14) there were many changes, some really quite critical.  This is really important to note: you’re on the bleeding edge here, I don’t care what Oracle says.  This document is shifting under your feet in critical ways and you need to throw out your printed copy and reprint it every time it changes.

For your database and the new techstack, I followed Doc ID 1594274.1 Again, you’ll notice a massive change log.  This is partially due to the changes as a result of new releases of the startCD.  When I began working the project, I chose the most advanced version I could (47) and I see now there’s a 48 and 49.  I strongly urge you to use the latest version.  With each one you get newer pieces and fixes for your techstack, which reduces your upgrade time in the long run because you don’t have to manually apply so many patches.

Finally, subscribe to and follow the updates from Steven Chan’s blog.  There’s nothing else out there like it that I’m aware of, and there were many relevant, timely updates which helped me through the process of the upgrade.

Timing is Everything

It probably goes without saying, but choose whatever the latest version is you can.  In our case, we started on 12.2.3 in May, and sometime before December 12.2.4 was released.  Of course, 12.2.4 contains fixes and enhancements we’d like to have, but as Don Rumsfield said, “you go to war with the Army you have” so we stuck with 12.2.3.  I have to admit, it was tempting to consider 12.2.4 but it would have meant a project re-baseline, and nobody wanted that.

Education & Training

Go ahead and check out Oracle education, and see how many classes there are on Ebusiness Suite 12.2.  In May, there were 0.  The first run of an online patching virtual (online) class was right around July 4th, and I took it.  Good class, by the way.  My point is this: Oracle is light years behind on providing training on this release.  I don’t know what the hold up is, but you’re pretty much on your own.  Go to conferences, read blogs, attend webinars, do whatever you can, because at this time, Oracle Education isn’t going to help you much.

Support

This was an unexpected surprise.  Perhaps I’d just gotten used to response times for 11i (which was basically on life support) but WOW!  Oracle really responds quickly to R12.2 issues.  It’s refreshing, and to that I say kudos to support.

Tax

If you’re running financials, you probably already know that there are significant changes to the tax engine in R12.  I’m not a functional guy, but I have done monthly Vertex updates, and now that I’ve gone through the upgrade I also had to do the installation of the latest compatible Vertex version.  And that’s not the half of it, there’s something called a Tax Regime which had to be recreated or adjusted, and all the while Oracle is pushing you to use EBTax which is their version of tax.  We skipped EBTax because it didn’t replace Vertex completely, and to my understanding still required us to source tax changes from elsewhere.  Regardless, know that you need to address tax, and from a functional standpoint there may not be a lot of knowledge about R12.2 tax.  In our case, we engaged Perficient to assist us and had a good experience with it.

Consulting Partner

Choose your consulting partner wisely, if you’re outsourcing some of the work.  We are a small shop, and essentially had no choice.  It’s frustrating to know that the consultants are learning the product on your dime.  In the end, as a DBA I strongly recommend you do your own heavy lifting, or you’re unlikely to like the final result, much less understand it.  I also recommend you approach the upgrade to 12.2 as a technical upgrade, and ensure your consulting partner’s strength lies in core database and applications DBA tasks.  If not, you might as well do it yourself.

Up next time: AD changes and your new techstack

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