Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Outsourcing your E-Business Suite environment - Part I

Many, most smaller, companies do want to have all the benefits that the Oracle E-Business Suite can provide, however don't have the necessary resources to run, maintain and manage this complex suite of applications. A typical way to overcome these issues in general is to outsource this kind of solutions to a partner who is specialized in this matter. This can be done in various ways:

  • Remote Management
    This way, the environment is kept inside the premises of the customer, but is managed remotely by a third party
  • Hosting
    This way, the environment is hosted outside the premises of the customer, and optionally managed by a third party.

Hosting can be a good solution if you don't have enough resources to house your environment yourself, however a good deal of things need to be covered when selecting a hosting partner.

In the coming series of articles I will try to cover as many of these options as possible in order to make it easier to outsource your environment.

This first article will deal with the question why you would want to outsource.

The Oracle e-Business Suite is a complex suite of applications. It is composed out of several components, each requiring their own experience. For the bigger companies it may not be a problem hiring a team of professionals to maintain and manage this kind of environments. However, smaller companies often have an IT department that can do the daily management of the general IT infrastructure, but having a dedicated E-Business Suite DBA, or rather a couple of them (for continuity of service) can be too costly. Nevertheless, the E-Business Suite often is a business critical application.

Oracle E-Business Suite is a great application to be managed remotely. The architecture suits this approach seemlesly. It is designed to be implemented at large companies that often have multiple sites or even multinationals. Therefore, offshoring the E-Business Suite should not be a problem in itself, because it is designed to work in a multi site environment.

It is virtually impossible to understand, let alone master every aspect of the E-Business Suite, simply because it is too big a piece of software. That in itself implies that the E-Business Suite is applicable to almost any kind of business. One of the major advantages of outsourcing the E-Business Suite is that, if you choose the right partner, you can leverage the knowledge of all of your partner’s application administrators in order to ensure a smoothly running application in your organization. Be it Functional or Technical Application Administrators, they provide services for other companies as well, and consolidate this knowledge in their service offering. It is cost-efficient to outsource your environment, because you will only pay for the service you need or want. Besides, outsourcing partners have resources in place to maximize availability of service. Things you will have to pay for in full when you decide not to outsource.

Key factors of success when considering or selecting an outsourcing partner are trust, security, technical understanding, functional understanding, connectivity, continuity of service, and not to forget: performance. In addition to this, you need to understand yourself what your application is about. There is a whole lot of questions to ask your potential parters in order to get a good understanding of them being a good fit for you or not. All of these questions need answers. Only then you can make a solid choice whether to outsource and to whom.

In my next article(s) I will discuss some more of the technical questions you may need to consider for outsourcing.

1 comment:

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