What is most valuable?
Probably one of the most valuable features that we've seen has been around the E-Business Suite change, as far as the UI is concerned. As far as the E-Business Suite 12 2.5, the look and feel has drastically changed from 11i to 12.1, to 12.2. The UI from an end user's perspective, being able to configure the UI, such that they have buttons; using it on an iPad or an iPhone, mobile application integration, all these different technologies coming together. It is kind of one of those things where the E-Business Suite's starting to get that new look and feel that has been lagging for a couple of years.
How has it helped my organization?
The benefits are around ease of use, trying to make those end users lives easier, to be able to make transactions, point-and-click transactions, having the ability for drop-down lists to be much easier. As far as the UI is concerned, over the years, you'd have to go through multiple tabs to put a transaction in. Now, you can go to one screen and have the options right in front of you. Pick the options you want, press save, and away you go. Oracle's trying to improve the ease of use for the end users.
What needs improvement?
As far as additional features of the E-Business Suite, I would like to see more of the framework applications in use. Oracle is slowly transitioning there. We do realize that the older form's version of the technology has a lot of intelligence built in them; very difficult for Oracle to make that migration to the new technology. Ideally, it's getting to one platform. Perhaps, the removal of Java from that integration right now. Java continues to be an issue for organizations that are running multiple products. If they have multiple products that they're using, E-Business Suite, maybe third-party products. You've got different versions of Java that are required for each. That becomes a problem. It's an ongoing issue. We do know and we've heard Oracle's heading towards some type of new solution, if you will. Certainly, trying to focus on becoming a fully frameworked product, versus the old form's technology.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
As far as stability of the E-Business Suite 12.2.5, the product was released in October 2015. It's been out for several months. There are, obviously, from a patching perspective ... I'd say Oracle's improving the release. With any release of a product, there's always going to be a need for patches and things like that. Being that the product's fairly new, there's a low number of users that are actually making that transition to 12.2.5. With that, the repository of issues within Oracle support is slowly building. One user may have an issue where another has not, that issue by that one client may have the solution available to them now in the support repository.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The solution's very scalable. Oracle, E-Business Suite, the various releases, 12.2.5, 12.1, 11.5, they're being used by organizations, small and large. From very small organizations, to multi-billion dollar organizations, they're very scalable solutions.
How are customer service and technical support?
Oracle's technical support has drastically improved over the years. The support.oracle.com, or My Oracle Support, is a very good tool. We do encourage our team members, as well as our end users, to look there first. Literally, sometimes it's trying to find a needle in a haystack. Certainly, the information's typically there, based on the search ability what you're searching for is putting specific criteria to find that. Sometimes, people are so broad that they get many, many hits. The ideal situation is putting in something very specific, that you may be able to find what you're looking for, and not having to scroll through pages and pages of results, if you will.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I think investing into, or even investigating into the products, typically, some organizations might buy the E-Business Suite, they own more product than they realize. If they buy 100% of the product, they're only using maybe 20% of the functionality. It's taking advantage of that other 80% and implementing those features and functionality into their business, that's a return on investment that some organizations don't take, for various reasons. They don't know they have a product, and perhaps they start investigating their maintenance agreement, and they find that they own something, and now they want to implement that.
Looking at some organizations, they have some folks that are dedicated to looking at new technology, it's constantly looking out to see what can be applied to the business. Some organizations don't do that; they don't have the time or resources to do that. Organizations that do, you look at them, they're fairly progressive. It's trying to, at least, maybe identify someone that can help, I'll say, support the investment that they've made into the organization. You have companies that are investing millions and millions of dollars into these products, and really only taking advantage of a very small footprint of their total ownership of the product.
What about the implementation team?
The E-Business Suite, there is certainly, if you're operating or implementing, from a set-up standpoint, usually from an upgrade standpoint, the set-ups are minimal. You're always going to have some type of set-up in the application. If you're doing a fresh implementation, the setup material's available for you, step-by-step set-up documentation by Oracle. It doesn't mean that you'll get a perfect solution by the end of the day, but it'll lead you down that path of being successful.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
When looking at new solutions, considering that Oracle E-Business Suite is the core, and looking at other products that may integrate; key is going to be integration. Someone that's certified, has a certified integration with the Oracle E-Business Suite, you don't want to be looking at third-party solutions that don't have the integration, those that are part of that program are basically required to keep their products at the certification level of each release of the product. That 12.2.5, they must be integrated with that. At 12.2, 12.1, 11.5.10, they've got to have their products integrated at that release. Very critical, when looking at third-party products, to integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite.
What other advice do I have?
Rating: looking at the E-Business Suite right now, having worked with the product since 1991 and looking to see where they're at today, I'd say maybe a 7. They're heading towards that fully integrated product, that new technology, like the framework technology. If they get there, I'd give them a 10. Right now, probably a 7, because we have multiple technologies we're still dealing with.
Recommendation to peers: Looking at their business requirements for selecting the product, ensuring that every time you're looking at purchasing a product, derive that selection from defined business requirements. We get some organizations that just go out and buy things, then you go back, and they figure out that they bought a product that doesn't fit the solution they're trying to solve. Really, evaluating internally, getting clearly documented business requirements, mapping those through product selection, and literally having the organization sign off on that, so you're not investing all this money into a product that may not be used, because it's not fulfilling a solution.