R12 – The Worst Oracle Release Ever?

Star Date 2009, these are the voyages of the Starship Oracle……sorry too much Star Trek at the weekend. The new movie is great and I’m not a big Star Trek fan generally. So I’d recommend Star Trek for anyone to see (its a great movie), but would I recommend Oracle R12 and is R12 the worst Release of Oracle ERP ever?

Looking back over the last decade or so there have been some fairly classic (and truly atrocious) releases of Oracle ERP)

MPL 7 and MPL 8 way back in the 90’s were  not great, but then again it was fairly cutting edge stuff in many respects so you needed to admire what Oracle was doing. I remember Oracle Support phoning me and asking how I got the autoinvoice running so fast…….the good old days although not quite the idea of how Oracle Support should be working……

The first truly atrocious release for me was the 10.6 Release. That was swiftly followed by 10.7SC which was so full of bugs that if it had been a dog, it would definitely be put down. And trying to modify forms on a PC when you were doing mods to the invoice workbench (and no documentation)…….well you do look back and smile. I believe Oracle did apologize for this version (should Larry have been flogged?)  and funnily enough AP was a real issue…..I remember asking a client (with a straight face) to log onto the character version to void checks, as the GUI didn’t work yet.

The next release for me that was a standout was the early 11.5.0 (or was it 11.5.1). Now to actually put an Order into Order Management you had to apply a patch, then another, then another……….The beauty of the patch that wiped out the flexfield setup, phoning up Oracle and having the response (yes we know about that) was certainly a response that floored me. It was another classic release for all the consultants around the world just trying to deliver a good result for the clients.

Now looking at 11.5.9 and 11.5.10, these were actually pretty good releases. Not bad, stable and upgrade wise pretty OK. We went to 11.5.10 in 2005 and it wasn’t actually that hard.

So what do I reckon to R12? We thought we’d be safe by waiting a year or so after release of R12 before diving in. With a slow burn upgrade, that would give a decent time for all the suckers to dive in, find the bugs and get them resolved on our behalf before we had the heartache of doing this ourselves and actually going live 2.5 years after initial release.

We started seriously on 12.0.3 and overall it wasn’t bad. We then went to 12.0.4 and then up to RUP5 on Finance and HRMS. On the Procurement, HRMS and some Financials, its actually been a pretty good release, even on the initial 12.0.3. Most major stuff in HRMS Suite and Procurement Suite actually worked !!!

However onto the bad. What’s really disappointed me on this release is the quality of the Accounts Payable module. We’re now on 12.0.4 (RUP5) and we’re applying quite a few more patches to resolve very serious problems. The news is the same from other companies where month end closing, accounting and reconciliation have been causing a lot of heartache. For us we found the accruals were converted wrongly between 11.5.10 CU1 and 12.0.4. The Trial Balance has been hit and miss, the accounting had issues, invoice workbench had issues…………We’re lucky we caught these pre go-live and testing heavily is an absolute must for any R12 release.

The support on this has also been extremely patchy, especially when it gets into Payables and SLA related issues, where we seem to be passed round Oracle Support. Getting issues resolved has been a slow and painful process, with our upgrade taking an extra 3 months longer (like many other companies).

What really shows the quality is the critical patch sets for Finance. These are coming out on a regular basis and fixing some pretty major issues that have been causing a lot of pain to many, many clients. I think in term of AP, Oracle has had a quality issue overall. The idea that clients are sitting and have lots of time to apply these patches is a really frustrating view – testing by both IT and Users does take a long, long time and the patches frustratingly still cause more major issues – “Can we get a patch for the patch please is a common, recurring question”. We are afraid to put in patches, as a previous one actually stopped our AP/PO matching completely…..

So was R12 a good or a bad release? I’d say R12 was a very good release, let down by Payables and Subledger Accounting module. Everything else was overall pretty good and pretty easy to upgrade. Now I know that Payables was re-architected and Subledger Accounting is a superb idea and will be great for us in future, but R12 really should have been released at least 1 year later, to provide a more stable and higher quality initial release.

Would I recommend Oracle R12 Upgrade to clients today? Absolutely yes. It has got a lot better and if your starting an upgrade now I think you’ll have a smoother path than those other clients who started earlier. There is a lot of very good new areas of R12 and Oracle is heading in the right direction, but it is also a huge step to take for any organization so caution and careful planning are recommended.

In summary, 2009 and 2010 are going to be ideal times to upgrade – more R12 literate people, less bugs and very good functionality overall in R12. It is the right time to consider moving to R12 (in consultation with your business users) for those who have not considered it currently.

So what about 12.0.6 and 12.1? Anyone been brave enough to take the jump on these yet? What are your experiences (good and bad for R12) ? Is anyone upgrading from a lower 12.0.2 or 12.0.3 to the latest R12.0.6/R12.1 due to problems caused.

Please do share your views as others will really benefit from the mistakes (and lessons learned)


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8 Responses to “R12 – The Worst Oracle Release Ever?”

  1. Mohammad Abdul Says:

    Hello Iroberts ..

    Can I know how long does it take to upgrade? and how can i know the cost of upgrading?

    • irroberts Says:

      Thats a very difficult and open ended question. Here’s a few things to consider…..

      1. How many modules do you have? HRMS and Procurement upgrade pretty OK. Finance is a nightmare, especially AP (We’re just now applying March CPC). We did those in about 6 months (and more for actual user testing), although user testing took a long time, as there wasn’t broad enthusiasm to test……as is fairly usual with upgrades…..

      2. How much customization do you have. Again HRMS and Procurement upgrade pretty easily but expect a lot of small rework on GL and entire rewrites of AP and Payments customizations. Also Self Service if you use it is a rewrite (we use it heavily). The TCA for Banks will also hit hard……we had to clean up over 3,000 banks

      3. What base are you on? We went from 11.5.10 CU1 to 12.0.3, then to 12.0.4 then to 12.0.5 then to CPC March for Finance, and it’s a lot of work. (Constant patching to get to stability – hope 12.0.6 is better……)

      4. Consider an implementation of the new modules in R12 – you have no choice so that will take a while – Subledger Accounting, Tax, Payments – so ask how long it would take to implement a new module. An R12 Upgrade, isn’t just an upgrade, its also new module implementation…..

      5. What is the commitment of your users to test. I’d recommend at least 4 months of user testing on R12, if not more. There were some very nasty bugs, especially in the actual upgrade process that converted data…….basically serious data corruption…..also the accoutning bugs are horrific…..trial balance doesn’t add up……

      6. Given the above, I’d say take your previous upgrade and add a considerable chunk of time. Opinions vary but I’d say it takes 50-100% of what an 11.5.5 to 11.5.10 would take. If you go 12.1 or 12.0.6 then it may be an easier road than those who travelled earlier and hit some horrific quality in AP.

      7. Cost – depends where you are – cost of resources vary vastly across Asia, Middle East, Europe and US. Also if you have an Apps team and dedicated users you can offset consulting costs (but I’d still recommend you buy in some experience and not cheap ones, but real solid experience especially around Payments, Subledger modules). Also depends on your resourcing model, so you can do it relatively cheaply or use a large consulting firm and it will cost a lot of money.

      8. If you have an Apps team onsite, don;t plan on doing anything else too major as the upgrade will take more of your time…….it is a huge job and vastly more complex than any previous upgrade you’ll have done in Oracle ERP by a considerable margin.

      Hope the above helps.


  2. Yalcin Says:

    good work irroberts

    We are in the process of upgrading from 11.5.10 to 12.1, including all financials, supply chain, istore and some major customizations. Your advice has already helped us.

    thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  3. M Says:


    We are a relatively small/medium company running R12.0.6 GL only and are planning to go with AP/AR/FA next with our legacy system feeding AP/AR transactions. Not planning to implement PO. I guess this makes AP especially tricky and that’s where you reported the most issues.

    So it’s been more than a year since this post. Have you upgraded to 12.0.6 or 12.1.x? What has been your experience? What would be things to look out for in our scenario where we are not implementing PO but going with AP/AR?



    • irroberts Says:

      From our side, actually we (and even our Oracle Account Manager) were amazed that our 12.0.4 (RUP5, CPC March plus patches all the way to July 2009) managed to hold together so well. We’ve been live around 10 months with no major issues running almost the entire HRMS, Procurement and Financials Suite, with some Projects Suite modules. We’ve applied a few patches, but nothing huge, gone through ATG RUP6 which went very smoothly and overall R12 is holding together on what was a pretty early version. There are some occassional problems, but we’ll take the hit on these as overall we’re pretty happy with it.

      Now if you are on 12.0.6 but planning to implement AP/AR/FA from scratch, I’d seriously consider going to the lastest release of R12. How good that is I don’t know but as your only running GL, I’ve never not seen a stable GL in 20 years, so 12.1.2 (or 12.1.3 which should be out this year) would be my version of choice. Yes you’ll hit some new bugs in AR, AP, FA (FA is almost always stable also, no matter what version). So if you get a new project to install AP/AR/FA (I assume they are not running now and you only have GL), I’d take the opportunity to jump the versions to (as retesting GL is not that much effort overall). If you implement all these modules in 12.0.6, you’ll need to do an upgrade in a couple of years (Oracle is already playing hardball with fixing our bugs on 12.0.4). So you’ll need to implement AP, AR, FA so why not do an upgrade AND implement at the same – it will cut down your overall work in the long term and get you more stability. (But do install and try the versions first)

      From interfacing Legacy, AP is pretty easy. AR is harder. Simply test. test and test again. (We actually have a lot of feeder systems to AP with no problems at all).

      Good Luck


  4. Removing the FUD, from Oracle E-Business Suite R12 upgrades. « Jade Global Says:

    […] Suite 11.5.x customers. R12 has been around since 2009 and is now at the 12.1.3 release level; did initial release issues slow the uptake of R12? That certainly did raise some very profound fears about upgrading to R12 […]

    • irroberts Says:

      Apart from the quality which suffered for quite some time, the other problem was that in these cash-strapped financial times, companies looked at R12 and found it difficult to justify the cost of an upgrade. There just wasn’t enough in it for them in terms of strong new functionality to make a business case for it. Yes I know Payments is redesigned, SLA, Ebiz. etc, but for a lot of customers R11 was working just fine and the many improvements was not enough to justify spending large sums of cash on an upgrade. But you are right, the quality must have also put a lot of people off.

      But with R12.1.3, the quality should be a lot better than the early days. And with the de-support notice looming fast, it really is time to recommend most companies to move to R12.

  5. Shaik Miraj Says:

    12.0.4 to 12.0.6 is pretty straigh forward with a few glitches. I had upgraded from Apps 11.5.10.CU1 and db( to R12(db- and apps12.0.6) successfully. Performance was an issue initially as our AIX machines had only 8gb ram each on db and apps tier. ITs a 2 node installation with db and Apps(CM) in one node and forms and web tier on the 2nd node. Good learning curve and quite confident to upgrade to 12.1.3. upgraded now db to More or less stable. E-biz suite with HR, Fin, Inventory and Procurement and CRM were the areas. Planning to upgrade only HR to 12.1.3 with rest at 12.0.6. Need to know if this possible and any documents?


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