It is no secret that upgrading your ERP system is almost as significant as implementing an ERP system from scratch. However the recent Oracle Open World conference indicated that there is no shortage of interest about the execution of upgrades from Oracle 11i to R12.
With the coming end of the extended 11i support period, the case for upgrading to R12 is gaining momentum, and now with many examples of successful upgrades having taken place, it is becoming easier for CIO’s to justify the investment and learn from those that have gone before.
Oracle has provided several useful tips to ensuring your upgrade goes as smoothly as possible, and among these was instructions on preparing to execute the upgrade.
Test Test Test
The value of testing cannot be stressed enough – especially full functional testing at full data volumes. Oracle outline the following tests as a minimum guide:
- Test end to end with a complete production data set – Find the latent data conditions that will fail 12.1.x’s tighter validation.
- Test all business scenario’s with both upgraded and new data – enter and invoice in 11i, then issue a credit memo against in 12.1.
- Compare key reports before and after the upgrade, in particular the AP trial balance, and the AR Reconciliation reports.
- Undertake the data verification tasks described in the E-Business Suite Upgrade Guide (Appendix F).
Further to this it is recommended that after you go live you simulate month-end close a few days early, keeping the project team within reach. Use the full data volumes and resolve any exceptions.
Other essential testing includes user participation test at full production processing capacity, batch load testing, and automated load testing.
It may be worthwhile considering Oracle’s automated testing solution (OATS) which covers scalability and load testing, functional and regression testing, and process management a defect tracking.
Taking Steps To Minimise Downtime?
There are many steps you can take to minimise the downtime of your system during an upgrade – for example
- Run “The Upgrade Manual Script” to identify tasks you can omit (UG Chapter 2)
- Apply Consolidated Upgrade Patch for fixes to upgrade code (Doc 798258.1)
- Reduce data volume using archive and purge (Doc 752322.1)
- Use Subledger Accounting “Upgrade by Request” (UG Appendix G and Doc 604893.1)
- Use a shared APPL_TOP (Doc 384248.1) and Distributed AD (Doc 236469.1)
- Use a staged APPL_TOP (Doc 734025.1)
- Complete functional pre-upgrade tasks (UG Appendix E)
- Parallelize pre- and post-upgrade technical activities
- Isolate post-upgrade concurrent programs in a special queue (Doc 399362.1)
Another significant step that can be taken is to limit the historical accounting data upgraded during critical downtime using Sub-Ledger Accounting pre-upgrade program, maintaining the option to load historical data post upgrade.
Preparing Business Users For Change
It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone reading this article that end business users are generally resistant to change, however Oracle has tools that will greatly assist you to train new users on the system, as well as make the transition period more productive and reduce the overall cost of training on an ongoing basis – it’s called User Productivity Kit and Tutor.
Using the Oracle Tutor, you can capture and maintain business process documentation, while the User productivity Kit (UPK) captures and maintains interactive user interface simulations and can be deployed as an online help tool.
UPK provides self running demo’s, interactive simulations, competence testing and context sensitive help content. With more than 2300 pre built topics available for R12, covering Financials, HR, Apps Technology, Distribution, Projects, Manufacturing and more.