Where do I start my Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) R12 upgrade, and how do I maximize its efficiency?
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For those just beginning the process, these are the questions we attempt to answer in our planning sessions. Many have been through prior upgrades of Oracle EBS, but the magnitude of the R12 upgrade makes it a vastly different experience, requiring new approaches from those used in the past.
In talking to many companies about their lessons learned, one area always stuck with me: the difficulty in creating that first, usable instance and resolving the errors that some encountered even up to and into their production instance. How can we plan for and mitigate the challenges in creating the upgrade instance?
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When you take that first clone of your 11i environment, often the database administrators (DBAs) will be responsible for compiling a checklist and executing the technical upgrade against the checklist to ensure that patches and upgrade steps are completed in the appropriate order. What is important and differs from past upgrades is the significance of also having and following a functional checklist that includes pre- and post-upgrade steps. The checklist will position the application to have the fewest problems.
So, where can you go for information to help you develop a pre- and post-upgrade functional checklist? There are several places. First, Oracle provides the EBS R12.1 Information Center (ID 806593.1) on My Oracle Support, which contains all current documentation for Release 12.1. If you are moving from 11i to Release 12.1.3, you can review the Oracle E-Business Suite Upgrade Guide Release 11i to 12.1.3, which contains functional pre- and post-upgrade steps by module. Another option is to use the Oracle Maintenance Wizard to help guide you through the steps of an upgrade.
Another option is to hire consultants who know the necessary steps from prior upgrade experiences.
Oracle users groups, such as the Oracle Application User Group (OAUG), or one of the many special interest groups related to your industry or specific Oracle applications, can be invaluable in the planning exercise. Participation in these groups offers many avenues to explore while planning and executing the R12 upgrade. Through these sources, I was able to determine the importance of having a pre- and post -upgrade checklist as well as what tools to use to create one.
Here at Los Alamos National Laboratory, we are pursuing a combination of all three of these knowledge areas in order to compile the most comprehensive pre- and post-upgrade step checklist. In doing the above research, we determined that for our particular footprint, the following areas are critical to ensuring a usable post-upgrade environment:
- If you are running Accounts Payable, it is critical that you run the 11i -- Payables Accounting Health Check (ID 416699.1) and work to resolve issues with existing 11i data through Service Requests with Oracle Support prior to upgrading the data in R12. In 11i, this is run via SQL PLUS as APAtgHealthCheck.sql. Once in Release 12, it is run from the Oracle Diagnostics responsibility. You can upgrade without running the health check, but doing so can help you identify and eliminate the source of ongoing data corruption issues in your Accounts Payable environment into go live. Cleaning up this data in advance reduces the risk of corrupted AP data in your upgraded R12 environment.
- Either before the clone is taken for upgrade, or in the cloned environment but before technical upgrade steps begin, it is key that functional staff ensure that all financial transactions are cleared out of the interface tables by running appropriate jobs and resolving errors.
- In line with the above requirement, it is preferable to perform the upgrade at the start of a fiscal period so as to be able to completely close the financial month and clear out all transactions, moving into the new period clean so as not to encounter issues with transactions crossing from 11i to 12.
- A functional decision needs to be made in the pre-upgrade steps as to the amount of Subledger Accounting data to be converted. As a default, the upgrade converts the data of the current fiscal year plus any necessary for the prior fiscal year to ensure that there are six periods included in the upgrade. If you want to convert more than this, then the DBAs need to apply patch 233248 to your Release 11i APPL_TOP and submit the SLA Pre-Upgrade program.
- Delete custom folders from users and responsibilities to avoid corruption to these in the upgraded environment. It will be necessary to have users re-create any custom folders in the new R12 instance.
- If you are running Oracle Enterprise Asset Management, you must have Install Base in your 11i environment before beginning the upgrade. For more information you can see Oracle Note ID 884201.1.
- Identify key Oracle reports and queries to run, which will be used for post upgrade validation. For example, the Trial Balance Report and key queries on unpaid invoices, open purchase orders, vendor counts, number of projects, and so on, are essential to run against your 11i environment and then compare to queries run against your R12 instance when the technical upgrade is complete.
The above are a few of the key, functional tasks to consider as you prepare your environment for upgrade. There are several ways to build this checklist for your company's upgrade, based on the specific EBS footprint at your site. The key is to create a detailed list of these activities and the appropriate timing for them in the upgrade, which will be reusable for each R12 instance built in the course of the project.
Christine Hipp is an Oracle financials analyst and the finance lead for the Oracle EBS R12 upgrade at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is on the OAUG board of directors and has spoken at numerous OAUG and Oracle conferences.