Canterbury Uni scopes app futures

Oracle applications user seeks upgrade experiences

For one Oracle user, OpenWorld 2009 in San Francisco was “a bit flat”.

Canterbury University’s financial systems and taxation manager, Lynne O’Donoghue, isn’t referring to Oracle’s stalled buyout of Sun Microsystems, which should have been the centrepiece of the event but for European regulators.

For O’Donoghue, there wasn’t enough content on legacy applications.

Canterbury runs PeopleSoft, but not on an Oracle database, and Oracle’s E-Business Suite on Oracle. in addition, Oracle provides the database powering the university’s student smartcard.

See also: NZ developers push hard at OpenWorld
O’Donoghue says the conference was very well organised. One of her main aims was to learn more about Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with a view to upgrading, and that has been achieved, she says.

She also wanted to learn from others about their experience of upgrading, which, she says, can be different from Oracle’s story. Previous OpenWorld conferences have had a lot on new implementations, but not so much on upgrades.

This year was better in that regard, she says.

Canterbury University first deployed E-Business Suite in 1995 and has been running on Release 11i since 2007.

She says she isn’t specifically waiting for Oracle’s Fusion applications, which surfaced, in demo form at least, at the conference. Canterbury hasn’t got business needs in its financial reporting that are not being met by its current software, she says.

There is no real choice but PeopleSoft for human resources as the Oracle E-Business Suite offering is not localised, she adds. For that reason, Canterbury is in the process of reimplementing PeopleSoft, leaping from version 7.5 to 9.

“A technical upgrade was not feasible,” she says. “It was better to reimplement and migrate the data.”

The university is continuing to extend and automate the functionality of its E-Business Suite software implementations, she says. One example is automated invoice scanning and approval. Similarly service oriented architectures have bveen used to build integration to Unimarket SaaS supplier catalogues.

O’Donoghue says Canterbury’s implementations are quite “vanilla”. Changes have been about configuration rather than modification.

Upgrades are fully tested, but have proven to be relatively easy. O’Donoghue says Oracle is getting better at regression testing.

O’Donoghue is involved in the local Oracle User Group and says Oracle has come to understand the value of such groups and support them a lot more.

“There’s more of a partnership in that area. Also, oracle takes usability a lot more seriously. they are going into the workplace to see how their softwareis actually being used and building on that.”

•O’Neill travelled to OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle

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