acuity-upgradeIf you’re using Oracle Taleo Enterprise Edition, you know upgrading to the most recent Feature Pack is important in order to take advantage of new and improved functionality and to ensure continued feature support. Planning is imperative, but with so many other projects going on, it’s tough to know how and when to execute. Acuity Cloud Solutions has supported many clients with TEE upgrades. Below are tips we’ve learned and want to share with you to help make your next upgrade successful.

1. Why is it important to upgrade?

Each Feature Pack comes with new functionality and features, in addition to all bug fixes that have occurred between feature pack releases. There may also be changes and/or enhancement to existing features and functionality, which you’ll want to take advantage of. Here’s a quick snapshot of the differences between upgrade types:

  • Feature Pack – Major release including new features, change to existing features, bug fixes and database level changes.
  • Maintenance Pack – These releases occur between Feature Packs and include only bug fixes. They typically do not introduce any functional change.
  • Service Pack – These are client specific fixes that are only needed for distinct reasons. While these fixes are client specific, Oracle makes them available within the product for all clients.

It’s also important to understand that each Maintenance Pack includes all of the smaller Service Packs within it. All of the Feature Packs include all of the smaller Maintenance Packs.

2. What’s the best process for our upgrade?

There are a few key considerations to include within your planning:

  • Refresh your zone – It’s important to schedule the zone refresh well in advance of your upgrade. The Oracle Taleo refresh calendar is based on capacity and is scheduled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Upgrade your zone – The most current Generally Available (GA) release will be deployed when an upgrade is initiated. Prior releases will not be deployed when a newer release is in General Availability status.
  • Configure your zone – If you are continually upgrading to the new Feature Pack, this will allow your users to digest and adopt to the new functionality more quickly and easily. Use the release notes documentation provided by Oracle to decide which features you will be using.
    • Note: Be sure to use the Release Notes documentation and NOT the Configuration Guides. The release notes may provide important upgrade specific impacts.
  • Test your zone – Testing is KEY to a successful upgrade. You should test your zone before you do any configuration changes to make sure that the existing process is working “as is” before any changes are made. Once you’ve configured the zone for the new functionality, it should be tested thoroughly after the upgrade is complete.
  • Educate your users – Be sure to take advantage of the new features and functionality included in Feature Packs. You can use the Release Notes functionality built within Taleo to help educate your users about the new features. Encourage your users to ask questions and encourage feedback about process and/or functionality to help end user adoption.

3. When is the best time to upgrade?

Early adopter or late adopter? Acuity recommends somewhere in the middle.

Once you receive notification about an available upgrade, pull your team together to discuss upgrade timing. Your upgrade can be scheduled at any time once it is Generally Available. However, you will need to take into consideration any current project activity that may be occurring so that there is no project interruption. Additionally, we recommend waiting until the 2nd or 3rd Maintenance Pack is available to help ensure stability. Considering the planning steps referenced in step 2 above, the sooner the teams responsible for assisting with the upgrade, the easier it is to define an appropriate timeline for your organization.

It’s important to remember that clients must upgrade to a new Feature Pack at least once per year. Oracle will support two former feature packs and one current. For example: if your zone is on 14A, you must upgrade to the most recent version, 15A, once released. If you do not upgrade your zone, you will be upgraded by Oracle prior to the release of 15B. Planning a continuous upgrade process will help your organization avoid Feature Pack End of Life and de-support.

Still have questions or need advice about your upgrade project? Contact us today – we’re happy to help.

Author credit: J.R. Parish, Senior Project & Strategic Account Manager

Oracle Document References: Taleo Enterprise Deployment and Upgrade Policies and Release Lifecycle Status (Doc ID 1603034.1); Zone Refresh (Doc ID 1514274.1); Taleo Enterprise Documentation (for release notes) Homepage (Doc ID 1496352.1).