Six Options for Getting Help for E-Business Suite Issues

[Sept 24, 2009 Update: Removed references to the Oracle Critical Accounts program.]

Some E-Business Suite implementations go smoothly.  Some don't.  Even battle-scarred veteran Apps sysadmins have to call upon Oracle for help at some point.  One of the most-surprising things I hear from customers is that many of you don't know what options exist for you to get help when you need it.  Depending on your circumstances, there's a wide range of alternatives that may work for your needs.

Taking the wrong approach can waste a lot of time and efforts on all sides.  If you need help, here's a list of the best options for ensuring that you get the help that you need:
  1. Do your homework
  2. Log a Service Request (SR)
  3. Escalate your Service Request with Support
  4. Escalate with your Oracle account manager
  5. Get a Service Delivery Manager assigned
  6. Register with the Applications Development Customer Program
Oracle Advanced Customer Services.png

Option 1: Do Your Homework

A good way of wasting time is to log a Service Request before you've searched for the answer yourself.  Google is your friend, of course, so running searches should always be your first step.

As an aside: I am repeatedly bemused by the emails I receive from people who haven't done even the most-rudimentary web searches.  Interestingly, this includes questions from Oracle staff who should (presumably) know better. 

Oracle resources that you should search before logging an EBS Service Request:
The Knowledge tab on My Oracle Support is your entry-point into the collective published body of knowledge from Oracle Development, Support, and Consulting.  It almost goes without saying that you should search for your issue here.  The only caveat is that the Knowledge repository is extremely wide-ranging and deep, and can potentially be intimidating to explore for new users.  Stick with it, though; this is the definitive resource for all Oracle product issues.

It's important to remember that all Oracle bloggers are doing this in their spare time.  If they're brave enough to reach out to customers, you should remember that Oracle bloggers have varying amounts of bandwidth available to answer your questions.  My fellow bloggers on my E-Business Suite Technology Stack blog are always happy to help with your Apps techstack questions, but we hope that you've searched our site for answers before you post your question.

Forums are a different matter.  Remember that these public forums are monitored by your customer peers and occasionally someone from Oracle.  These forums yield answers that may vary in quality.  Some of these -- like the impressive Apps R12 Upgrade and OA Framework forums -- have a dedicated and superb group of volunteers who provide crisp and accurate answers to all questions posted.  Others, not so much.

If these sources solve your problem, great.  If not, then your next step is to get an answer from an authoritative source:  Oracle Support.  If you have a time-sensitive issue for which you need a guaranteed and authoritative response, your best bet is to log a formal Service Request with Oracle Support.

Option 2: Log a Service Request

Logging Service Requests (formerly Technical Assistance Requests or TARs) is a necessary first step for any conversation with anyone within Oracle about a particular technical issue.  You log Service Requests via My Oracle Support.  Service Requests are always the starting point for all technical issues. 

Many of you post conceptual or architectural questions here.  This blog's panel of authors are always happy to answer those questions.  However, this blog isn't really set up to handle diagnostics and investigate technical issues; that's Oracle Support's job. 

If you email us directly or post a question about a specific technical issue that you're encountering, our first follow-up question will inevitably be, "What's your Service Request number?"  If necessary, we can help the Oracle Support engineer get to the bottom of your issue -- but only if you've logged a Service Request first. 

The key thing to remember about Service Requests is that the quality of Oracle's assistance depends upon the quality of information that you provide.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Make sure that you provide a good description of the problem, detailed error messages, logs, information about your environment, screen captures, results of your own investigations and tests, and reproducible test cases. 

Option 3: Escalate Your Service Request with Support

If your Service Request is getting bogged down for some reason, or is going off in a direction that doesn't seem quite right, it may be time to escalate your case.

Chris Warticki, a fellow Oracle blogger from Support, has written an excellent article on the Support Escalation process.  I strongly recommend that you check out his article; he makes many insightful comments about how to escalate your issue effectively.  To summarize his key points:
  • Speak with the Oracle Support Escalation Manager (formerly the Duty Manager).
  • Review your concerns.
  • Work up an action plan.
  • Follow up on the agreed-upon actions.
  • Ask the Escalation Manager to follow up with Development on associated bugs.
Option 4: Escalate with Your Oracle Account Manager

Escalating through the regular Support channel doesn't always work as well as it might.  If you still find yourself struggling after doing that, then there are other options.

Some customers may think of Oracle account teams as being useful only when negotiating licencing contracts.  From my vantage in Apps Development, I see Oracle account teams quite differently.  I consider your Oracle account manager to be your advocate and your ombudsman within Oracle.  If you're having difficulty getting any issues resolved through the official channels (e.g. via escalating Service Requests), then your Oracle account manager is your next call.  Your Oracle account manager can escalate a Service Request with management teams in Oracle Support and Development.
 
That's the theory, at least.  The reality is that some Oracle account managers may be relatively new to their jobs, so you may need to encourage them to seek help via internal Oracle channels on this.  Oracle account managers should be motivated to help you resolve issues, since happy customers tend to be more willing to do repeat business than unhappy ones.

Option 5: Get a Service Delivery Manager Assigned

This option isn't for everyone, but you should at least know that it exists.  It is possible for you to work with your Oracle account manager and Oracle Advanced Customer Services to get a Service Delivery Manager assigned to your organization.  A Service Delivery Manager can act as your primary contact within Oracle Support, and can help escalate Service Requests, engage Development teams, and coordinate responses from multiple groups for complex issues.

My experience is that this option is very useful for large, complex organizations who have equally large, complex, and time-sensitive E-Business Suite projects underway.  In situations where you're logging a large number of interrelated or overlapping Service Requests against many different Oracle products, having a Service Delivery Manager can be useful in keeping track of everything.  Service Delivery Managers can also hold regular status calls to review your open issues, and can escalate open Service Requests directly to Oracle Development teams.

It's also important to note that Oracle Advanced Customer Services offers the option of technical teams that can be engaged proactively to provide guidance and hands-on services that may help avoid Service Requests entirely. 

Option 6: Register with the Applications Development Customer Program

Another customer support program within the E-Business Suite division exists:  the Applications Development Customer Program. 

The Applications Development Customer Program is primarily responsible for managing the Applications development portion of key customer projects and customer escalations. This involves engaging development resources across the Applications Suite Development Division, coordinating with Oracle Support and Oracle Consulting, and keeping Oracle executive management up to date on the most strategic customer projects and most critical escalations.

Your Oracle account manager can help get your organization registered with this program.  If your Oracle account manager is unfamiliar with this program, he or she can find out more at this internal Oracle Applications Development Customer Program website (also no external customer access).

Be Proactive, Be Assertive, Be Persistent

My experience is that large, complex organizations benefit from registering with both the Critical Accounts Program and the Applications Development Customer Program before embarking upon major upgrades.  For example, if you're planning on upgrading from Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i to 12, it would be worth considering getting registered before you start your project.

The advantages of being proactive are legion:  you get a predetermined escalation path, Development organizations become familiar with your requirements and environment before you start logging Service Requests, and you effectively prime the pump in case you run into issues.

And lastly: be assertive, and don't give up.  I see Service Requests where customers have only just begun to investigate an issue with Support and/or Development... only to have the customer disappear.  Some customers just stop responding to requests for more information in their Service Requests. 

I find this a bit mystifying.  As you can see, if you're not getting what you need to resolve your issues, there are many options for getting help.  Be persistent and escalate up the channels as needed.

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Comments:

Steve --

Other means of "doing your homework" include:

* Checking user group forums - OAUG, IOUG, and ODTUG all have active discussions that address issues relating to Oracle EBS;

* Typing the Oracle error # in Google, sometimes the hits are amazing AND have just what is needed.

Posted by Faun deHenry on September 22, 2009 at 10:32 AM PDT #

For "Option 1: Do Your Homework" you should search for known issues using My Oracle Support Knowledge tab

In addition, running the relevant Diagnostics (See Note 421245.1 for R12 or Note 179661.1 for R11i) for the problem area would also be useful for self-diagnosis and you would likely be asked to do this anyway when you log a SR

Posted by MIke Shaw on September 22, 2009 at 04:05 PM PDT #

Steve - we tried all 1-7 on a critical issue for us. Didn't deliver any solution for a problem we had been struggling with since March. In my humble opinion Oracle Support leaves a lot to be desired if one doesn't have Gold support.

Posted by VP on September 23, 2009 at 05:13 AM PDT #

Hi, Faun,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are many other excellent non-Oracle resources out there. The *UG forums are all very good, with power users from all industry sectors as part of those communities.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 24, 2009 at 06:44 AM PDT #

Hello, VP,

I'm sorry to hear that you're still struggling with an open issue in spite of having proceeded through these escalation channels. If your problem lies in the EBS techstack, please don't hesitate to email your SR to me.

By the way, I don't think I understand your reference to "Gold support." I'm in Development, not Support, but I believe that the "metals" support tiers (bronze, silver, gold) were phased out years ago.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 25, 2009 at 03:51 AM PDT #

Steven -

Thanks for your response. I will send you the SR number.

Regards,
Venu

Posted by VP on September 28, 2009 at 06:15 AM PDT #

Steve,

I'm really hate to create SR. It is always the case that my SR be passing around between non-expert supporters for few weeks before it get to a real expert. Like this one SR "3-6483656651".

I am pretty sure the URL length is the cause but my team leader wants confoirmation from Oracle.

Would you be able to check and confirm if the URL length is the limitation of combining EBS 12.1.3, FMW 11.1.1.5 SSO and WNA?

Many Thanks,

Quang Le

Posted by guest on December 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM PST #

Quang Le,

Your best path would be to log a formal Service Request via My Oracle Support (formerly Metalink) to get one of our specialists engaged. Please feel free to forward your Service Request number to me if it gets stuck in the support process for some reason.

Regards,
Bill

Posted by Bill Sawyer on December 07, 2012 at 08:28 AM PST #

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