Why did Inoapps buy an Apps Unlimited service partner?

2 November 2022
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“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”

By Debra Lilley, VP Delivery Growth and Excellence at Inoapps

A mis-quote from Mark Twain in 1897, but equally appropriate for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and other on-premises applications in the Oracle portfolio today. It also relates to Cobol as a programming language.

I started my life as a Cobol programmer. Then along came this new modern relational database technology and, like most others, I jumped ship in the early 1980s.

The average Cobol developer is now in their 50s. During Covid, the system that paid out furlough from the US Government was Cobol-based and there was a shortage of Cobol developers. They couldn’t find enough Cobol skills.

People also evaluated their needs and desires during the pandemic, and many people in their late 50s / early 60s decided that, actually they don’t need the foreign holidays, buzz of business travel, commuting etc. and are retiring early. Adding to a general shortage of talent in IT.

Last year, the US reintroduced Cobol into their technology degree curriculum because of this shortage of talent. Demand is actually growing.

So, what does this have to do with Oracle EBS (or any other Apps Unlimited application)?

Originally Oracle said ”we will write Fusion by 2008 and we will all be on it by 2013.” This meant customers would be forced to move from what is now called on-premises applications—­EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel—to this new Fusion application. Well that soon changed… Oracle listened to their customer base and introduced the Apps Unlimited strategy, where they would continue to develop these applications. People still believed it was only a matter of time… but 15 years later, it is still here with at least another ten years of support.

So, like jumping from Cobol to relational databases, I jumped to Fusion. Outside of Oracle, I think I can claim to be the first. Oracle gave user groups the opportunity to give input into development, and I had the privilege of leading that initiative and worked with Oracle Applications development through the whole process. An Oracle ACE Director friend, Cary Millsap, often said “listening to Debra talk about Fusion Applications was like leprechaun physiology—no one knows if it is true or not.”

So like Cobol, resources in EBS are now in short supply. Skills are rarely taught to new people and the traditional resource pool is aging. And yet EBS is going nowhere fast. Oracle have declared at least another ten years of support, and that is extended each year. That technically isn’t an accurate statement… they can only legally guarantee ten years, and the extension is simply as the calendar moves forward. They have no actual plan to switch EBS off.

Like Cobol, use of EBS remains key to many businesses. EBS customers have more problems with skills than functionality, as those skills jump to something new, or retire. An answer may be to outsource your EBS support, but what if all the Managed Service providers have jumped too?

This is why Inoapps has acquired Tier1, who have over 100 EBS customers. We recognize that in providing full stack Oracle solutions to customers, we need to be growing, not contracting our capability in Apps Unlimited. We see many net new Oracle customers adopting Fusion, but often an existing customer takes a hybrid approach, perhaps adding Fusion HCM to EBS Financials or moving to a full suite over time. Inoapps has always been able to deliver this, but the acquisition gives us even more capability.

I met with one of the Tier1 EBS customers recently, and they asked: “what is Inoapps doing to make sure you can still support my system when the current DBA retires?” We too need to keep that skills funnel full. Our investment in Apps Unlimited is ramping up—not at the expense of our Cloud business, but hand-in-hand. We offer the full Oracle smorgasbord to our customers and have the knowledge to help them navigate what is right for their businesses.

If this resonates with you, reach out to me debra.lilley@inoapps.com or simply #askInoapps

I am attending the next Oracle Applications Unlimited Day in the UK, at Oracle Reading Office on November 15th so you will also have an opportunity to connect with me there.

Book now to learn about on-premises product developments that will increase operational resilience, enabling business growth and transformation. 

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