Oracle to Lend Helping Hand

At AppsWorld will announce migration path for 11i upgrade, two classes.

Oracle Corp. at its AppsWorld conference in San Diego this week will put on a full-court press to encourage customers to upgrade to its 11i suite of e-business applications.

To foster that, the company will announce a new migration path for customers looking to move from Versions 10.7 or 11.0.3 to Version 11i, as well as two new educational programs from Oracle University.

The Oracle Outsourcing Upgrade Service is a program for customers looking to go the application service provider route with Oracles hosted E-Business Suite. Under the program, customers receive software that transitions them to 11i and will continue to upgrade the software with all major releases for five years, according to Oracle officials in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Also through the Outsourcing service, customers can attend customization reduction workshops and get an allowance toward additional upgrade-related consulting services.

A second tack Oracle is taking to help customers upgrade to 11i is its Fixed Price Upgrade service, which was announced in December and will be highlighted at the conference.

Though looking for an easier way to migrate from 10.7 to 11i, Jim DeMinn, application development manager at Infonet Services Corp., in El Segundo, Calif., will not likely take advantage of either upgrade offering.

"I suspect that fixed price wouldnt include data [migration]," said DeMinn. "New implementations seem to go pretty well from 10.7 into 11i when [the data] is installed for the first time. Where you seem to have a lot of difficulty from 10.7 is a customer thats taking their data with them."

Last year, DeMinn aborted a migration to 10.7 after his company spent $1 million and seven months on the project.

Robert Moon, vice president of information services at ViewSonic Corp., is in the midst of a major migration from 10.7 to 11i. The project will upgrade ViewSonics American, European and Asian Oracle systems to 11i and have the same instances of all common forms. This will allow, for example, the accounting system in Asia to speak the same functional language as accounting in America. Because ViewSonic completely reinstalled software for the 11i upgrade, it was able to start from the beginning with a whole conversion effort to ensure a mapping process.

"I want to be perfectly clear with this," said Moon, in Walnut, Calif. "We did not migrate, we re-implemented."

At the same time, ViewSonic spent a considerable amount of money retraining staff to use Oracle applications, with department leads spending one to three weeks in class learning how to use the applications.

"We forced the senior function users to be part of the implementation," said Moon. "We met weekly for five months, and they had meetings virtually every day for the subgroups. The functional users did the implementation."

Moon did not consider Oracles Fixed Price Upgrade offering.

The educational components of this weeks announcements include the Oracle E-Business Suite 11i Training for Implementers and the E-Business Suite Training for End Users.