Oracle Fusion customers benefit from quarterly functional updates, many of which now integrate AI capabilities. These updates enable seamless adoption of AI into business applications.

Some Fusion Apps customers use our apps as a source of innovation and competitive advantage. Other customers use them to run business as usual—and accomplish far less. Often, the difference between the two groups is a matter of their success in adopting new functionality, and not just during initial implementation. It is the ongoing addition of new capabilities that positions organizations to capitalize on big advances. GenAI is one example that has been getting attention recently, but there are countless others, too, like simply ensuring business users are always working with an efficient, modern user experience.

The Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite follows a quarterly update schedule to give customers rapid access to innovation, reduce downtime, and facilitate planning. This process may be new to your organization, so understanding how it works can help you ensure that everything goes smoothly.

This article covers:

  • The timing of updated schedules
  • Differences between fixes and functional enhancements
  • Best practices for operations and the uptake of new functionality

Additional resources to learn more

Understanding schedules, cohorts, and the update process

Customers’ test and production environments are updated using a staggered schedule based on cohorts, which are labeled A, B, and C (you can pick which cohort you want to be in). They receive updates on the following schedule:

  • Cohort A: February, May, August, November
  • Cohort B: March, June, September, December
  • Cohort C: April, July, October, January

More specifically, test environments (you’ll also see them called pods) are updated on the first Friday of the update month. Production environments are updated two weeks later, on the third Friday of the update month. (Updates for regions in the Middle East are on the Thursdays before the first and third Fridays.) The time between test-environment and production-environment updates provides a two-week window for testing and gives you an opportunity to evaluate and opt in to new functionality (more below).

Changes are coming, but you’re in control

Quarterly updates contain three different types of changes, as follows:

Fixes: These are changes that address an issue with the software, which could be a technical defect, the result of a legislative change, etc. Fixes are shipped “enabled.”

Ready for use by end users: These minor changes have minimal impact on business users and are also shipped “enabled.” Examples are minor field, validation, or program changes.

New functionality: New features that materially impact the user experience are shipped “disabled” and require opt-in. Examples are UI changes, new web services, or features that must be assigned to a user role before they can be adopted.

Note that in some cases new functionality has an opt-in expiration date after which it will automatically be exposed to users. The period before expiration varies, but customers get at least two quarters for changes that need additional setup or configuration. At any time you can review a consolidated list of opt-in expiration dates across Fusion Apps.

The Oracle Cloud Console plays an important role in updates: It provides a unified place for managing Fusion Apps environments. Among other things, it contains update notification settings, the option to get fixes on a monthly schedule (particularly useful during implementation), and opt-ins for new features. (Check out this related post on Fusion Apps Environment Management for more details.) 

Quarterly updates are mandatory and cannot be skipped. But as you can see, we put you in control over when—and in many cases if—you accept changes that impact business users. This gives you plenty of time to test, prepare, and communicate.

Best practices to keep you on track

We have learned through experience that practices aimed at treating updates as a recurring, standard operation make them run efficiently and smoothly. And while we do everything we can to make updates as easy and painless as possible, you have a key role to play, too. The next few sections provide specific guidance.

Establish a team chartered to lead change

We recommend that you establish an interdisciplinary team that’s responsible for the assessment, testing, and rollout of new features. This ensures that dedicated, skilled resources are available and focused on making the update process go smoothly. And it is an essential aspect of avoiding surprises, keeping pace with innovation, and deriving the maximum benefit from Fusion Apps.

In our experience, the most successful teams are staffed by representatives from the technical, business, and end-user communities. Team members should provide diverse functional and geographical representation. Ideally, the team should receive ongoing executive sponsorship, particularly when it comes to adopting new features and navigating any resulting change management. (It is typically a minor time commitment from sponsoring execs, but it can have a big impact on ensuring that the organization keeps pace.) 

Follow a standard process

Setting up and following a standard process is another key to success. For example, for each update we recommend that you always:

Review release details for your Fusion Apps at the Oracle Cloud Readiness site

Identify and validate key business processes that rely on the application(s)

Test customizations (including integrations, extensions, reports, and workflows)

Evaluate, test, and opt in to new functionality to keep pace with innovation (including AI)

A few other best practices you should consider are:

Refreshing test environments before testing: Also known as a production-to-test (P2T) refresh, be sure to update your test environment with production data prior to the maintenance windows.

Automating testing: Invest in test automation to make best use of the two-week period between the test-environment and production-environment updates. Automated testing delivers results earlier with less work, and it frees resources to analyze and act on those results. (An easy place to start is with either Selenium or TestNG, which are free under an open-source software license.)

Customers who follow these guidelines are better able to take full advantage of the benefits regular updates provide with only modest operational changes.

Enchant Apps has a team of Oracle Cloud experts across all modules. If you are interested in learning more or have a project where you need Oracle cloud expertise, feel free to reach out to us!

Quarterly updates made easy

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