TANSTAAFL: an acronym for "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch," from Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.Those of you who have followed this blog for a bit know that I'm planning a Roadmap for my shop's transition from Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10 to Fusion Applications. Due to internal budget considerations, that Roadmap includes a year of running on 11i under an Extended Support agreement with Oracle: according to Oracle's Lifetime Support policy, 11.5.10 Premier Support expires in Nov. 2009, but we don't plan to move off 11.5.10 until Nov. 2010.
Purchasing Extended Support can be pricey. The incremental cost increase for Extended Support in the first year is 10 percent. The cost increases to 20 percent for year two and 30 percent for year three. There are no provisions for Extended Support beyond three years. In my shop, and probably many others as well, that's not "chump change" - the annual cost of Extended Support for the entire E-Business Suite is a big number. Yup, for those of you who have missed this point before, Extended Support customers will pay more for their support. In some cases, a lot more.
I plan to reduce that number by not purchasing Extended Support for the entire E-Business Suite, but only for those application modules that are needed to keep the critical business processes of my enterprise running. I'll let the non-critical apps modules slip to Sustaining Support. For example, we run Oracle Payroll - it's pretty critical that our folks get paid when we say they'll be paid, so we'll buy Extended Support for the Payroll app. Receivables are not so important to us, because we're federally-funded, so we'll probably let Receivables slide directly to Sustaining Support. If you apply this approach in your shop, you'll need to figure out which apps are critical for your enterprise and which ones are not.
Now there is a risk in the approach I'm suggesting here. Consider the situation in the context of Oracle Payroll. There are legal changes to payroll regulations in the U.S. throughout the calendar year. Oracle supports those changes with payroll patches. However, some of those patches have prerequisite patches, often including an ATG (Applications Technology Group) patch. Those ATG patches can impact the behavior of apps modules other than Payroll. We run the risk that we may find ourselves in a bit of a bind if an ATG patch impacts an apps module we've let slide to Sustaining Support. so, using this approach, the integration of apps modules can actually present a risk. I have yet to figure out a way to mitigate this risk other than buying Extended Support for the entire E-Business Suite...which takes us back to that big cost number. I'm open to suggestions if anybody has any ideas.
Lifetime Support is a great thing in terms of providing choices for Oracle customers. Just keep in mind that it ain't no free lunch.