A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand (OOD): Real Life Experiences

I was a consulting team member on Oracle’s first successful outsourcing [Applications Service Provider (ASP)] implementation which went live in 1999. Back then Oracle outsourcing services were called Business On Line (BOL). Today these services are called Oracle On Demand (OOD). I recently was the Project Manager on a successful migration to the OOD outsourcing services (their first 11.5.10 customer.) This article is a summary of my real life experiences with the migration and post-migration efforts, and provides some opinions and lessons learned.

Oracle On Demand Defined:

Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand (OOD) is Oracle Corporation’s ASP outsourcing services that hosts and maintains all of the Oracle E-Business Suite Applications. OOD customers have access to their applications via a browser. A virtual private network (VPN) is provided by Oracle to maintain connection and security between the customer sites and the OOD data center. Currently, there are approximately 600 live OOD customers. OOD manages and maintains a state-of-the-art data center in Austin, Texas USA.

All of us in the IT field certainly realize that there are always good things and not-so-good things associated with every hardware, software or service-oriented product available in today’s market. And, in my opinion, the same realization holds true with OOD.

Good Things Regarding Oracle On Demand:
  • Three instances are provided (Development, Test and Production.)
  • Maintenance and security patches are routinely analyzed and applied.
  • Can lead to a reduction in IT staff (if you can consider this to be a good thing.)
  • No on-site hardware is needed (except for a Virtual Private Network [VPN] devise.)
  • Database health checks and database system administration are monitored and administered by Oracle.
  • Oracle assigns a migration and/or an implementation team to each client (usually consisting of a Service Delivery Manager, Service Delivery Engineer, Affinity Engineer, and sometimes a Database Administrator.)
  • Uptime and performance of the applications is very good.


Not-So-Good Things Regarding Oracle On Demand:
  • Loss of the Apps password for the Production instance.
  • Loss of the System Administrator and Applications Developer responsibilities in all instances (replaced by a responsibility called Applications Administrator which contains only a few forms.)
  • OOD customers cannot bounce the server on any instance (customers must log a TAR and then update the TAR with a Change Request Template (CRT) to give OOD a time frame when to perform these tasks, and then wait for OOD to perform these tasks.) This can slow down implementation of CRM modules because the Apache Server must be bounced and the JSP cache cleared for many changes to take effect.
  • Internal communications at OOD is sometimes slow and lacking knowledge (especially functional knowledge of the Oracle E-Business Suite.)
  • Customizations are sometimes difficult to get properly set up into the OOD Production instance (since the customer only has read-only access to Linux OOD personnel must install customizations, and obviously, they are not familiar with customer specific customizations or their business requirements.)
  • More TARs are required, and, of course, this takes a considerable amount of time and communication following up in Metalink.

In conclusion, I believe OOD is actively working to improve their services which are only going to get better in the future, but obviously they have some work to do. I would highly recommend OOD to any small and medium sized company that do not have senior level Oracle technical professionals, but not to any large company. In my opinion, any company that does employ senior level Oracle technical professionals would be better off hosting and maintaining their own applications and instances.