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School district rethinks EBS after Oracle extended support ends

A Colorado school district moved some business applications from Oracle EBS to Workday, then switched to Rimini Street's EBS support services after Oracle wouldn't lower its support costs.

After 21 years as an Oracle E-Business Suite user, the Douglas County School District of Colorado recently switched from using Oracle support to Rimini Street. The three main reasons for this change were the approaching end to Oracle extended support for Oracle EBS 11.5.10, the lack of flexibility in the Oracle support contract and trying to save money for the school district.

The end of EBS 11.5.10 support

In 2013, the version of EBS used by Douglas County School District, Oracle EBS 11.5.10, was coming to the end of its original extended support timeline, and CTO Gautam Sethi did not want to upgrade to a newer version of Oracle EBS. According to Sethi, the upgrade path for Oracle EBS was neither easy nor cheap. Furthermore, Douglas County School District has a highly customized version of Oracle EBS and maintaining the customization into the upgraded version would have been difficult. Sethi compared doing a full reinstall of Oracle EBS in order to upgrade with starting over with a new product line and came to the conclusion that he didn't want to do either.

Renegotiating the support contract

If we can't work it out with Oracle, let's expose the other options.
Gautam SethiCTO, Douglas County School District

Instead, Sethi planned to pick and choose the features of Oracle EBS he used and switch everything else over to another company. Sethi wasn't happy with Oracle EBS 11.5.10's end user capabilities, and EBS needed third-party applications to handle payroll slips, which made it less than ideal for some of Douglas County School District's needs. So he decided to move HR and payroll over to Workday. Because Oracle EBS continued to work well for Douglas County School District's finances, Sethi decided to keep finances on Oracle EBS.

In an effort to save money for the school district, Sethi tried to negotiate a new support plan with Oracle that better matched the way the school district was now using Oracle EBS. He asked Oracle, "Can you break the licenses up so that we only have to pay for what we use?" However, after spending 200 man-hours coordinating with Oracle, the response Sethi received was that even if he stopped using some of Oracle EBS's features, Douglas County School District was still going to have to pay for the full stack in terms of support. "That's where we had a failure with Oracle," he said.

Fast path to saving money

Sethi said, "If we can't work it out with Oracle, let's expose the other options." While doing market research, Sethi came across Rimini Street, and, after talking it over with an analyst from Gartner, Douglas County School District became a Rimini Street customer in December 2014. The sign-up process went fast, taking place in about six months.

Oracle support renewal was the biggest line item in Douglas County School District's IT department budget, coming in at about $600,000. Rimini Street offered them a 50% discount from Oracle's price, charging $300,000 for its support services. "Going to Rimini was obviously a huge discount for us," Sethi said.

"$300,000 can go a long way in a school district," Sethi said. The technology budget for Douglas County School District covers everything from Oracle support services to computers in the classroom, so finding a less costly alternative to Oracle extended support means more money for teachers and students. Sethi explained that the $300,000 saved each year is equivalent to 750 new laptops for students. "We're constantly trying to remove costs on an operational level," Sethi said.

So far, Sethi hasn't had problems with Rimini Street's support and Rimini Street has been responsive to the tickets he's submitted.

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This was last published in January 2016

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