Oracle's Y2K announcement forces users to upgrade

Around 60 New Zealand customers are affected by Oracle's announcement that it will discontinue support for all versions of its applications package that aren't 2000 compliant. Toward the end of next year, users will have to migrate to at least the latest version of the business application package, version 10.7.

Around 60 New Zealand customers are affected by Oracle’s announcement that it will discontinue support for all versions of its applications package that aren’t 2000 compliant.

Toward the end of next year, users will have to migrate to at least the latest version of the business application package, version 10.7.

Oracle broke the news at the Oracle Application User Group conference in Nashville and is working with the OAUG to firm up the schedule for discontinuing support.

Nearly all of Oracle’s approximately 3700 users will be affected, because the only version of the vendor’s application package that is completely 2000-compliant is Oracle Applications 10.7, which was released two months ago.

Richard Vernon, Oracle New Zealand application sales manager, says some of Oracle’s local sites are already on version 10.7.

“Some of the modules before version 10.7 were 2000-compliant already but not all. There is a locally defined plan between our marketing and consulting group to get customers upgraded and many are well on the way. We are getting in touch with customers who all understand the year 2000 situation anyway.”

Vernon confirms that customers with a maintenance agreement are upgraded free of charge but will have to bear the brunt of training and implementation costs.

“Some extra training is required but not a substantial amount. It’s just 0.1 upgrade from 10.6 and 10.7 so there is not a lot of training and implementation involved.

“Many who are upgrading are not just doing so for year 2000 reasons. Other functional enhancements made to a number of modules. People are also upgrading for performance and functionality.”

Oracle Financials site ECNZ has no issue with the announcement as it is currently upgrading to version 10.7.

IT manager Peter Mayhook says the news is not surprising. “It’s the sort of thing I would anticipate. Most vendors will only support the current version plus the last two releases.”

Jackie Allison, who is managing Air New Zealand’s Oracle Financials upgrade, says the year 2000 issue was a major driver in the changes.

“We are currently running a version that is ‘desupported’, but ‘desupported’ means that Oracle can no longer provide bug fixes although it does still support the software.”

Allison says she expects most customers are well aware of year 2000 problem.

All the offerings from Oracle competitors SAP and PeopleSoft are 2000-compliant. Baan’s latest packages, from Triton III to Baan IV, are also ready for the end of the century. A patch is available to bring earlier versions up to date.

Ken McGuirk, Californian-based director of applications and vertical markets at Oracle, says: “The decision was made after Oracle analysed what it would take to patch all the non-compliant pieces. The date issues were pervasive throughout the code.”

He says a cost analysis indicated that a single upgrade was cheaper for users and Oracle than adding multiple patches.

For users who might not be as easily convinced that migration is less painful, Oracle will also ensure that its development tools are 2000-certified for those who want to build patches themselves.

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