According to an Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the majority of UK of public sector organisations and local government authorities using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) are running on old versions of the ERP software.
Over four-fifths (84%) of surveyed bodies claimed they used Oracle EBS, but just 10% said they were using R12.2, the latest version, while a further 10% said they were in the process of upgrading to R12.2.
With Oracle ending Premier Support for EBS R12.1 in December 2021, local authorities and public bodies not using the latest ERP software would be unable to access maintenance and upgrades, such as critical security patches, putting them at higher risks of cyber attacks and legislative issues.
In April 2020 alone, Oracle undertook a total of 405 security patches, and UK public sector clients have been found to use Oracle EBS for other functions besides business ERP functions, including:
- Oracle Finances (83%);
- Human resource management systems (75%);
- Procurement (50%).
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“The issues older software versions can cause in the public sector have recently made the headlines, when 16,000 coronavirus cases went unreported due to the misguided reliance on Excel software from 1987,” said Mark Vivian, CEO of Claremont, a provider of Oracle managed services.
“Local authorities need to start the upgrade process now to avoid any compliance or security incidents, and to beat the rush to market. Only a small number of vendors are capable of assisting with upgrades, and as the average upgrade taking 6-9 months resource scarcity will be an issue for some organisations.
“Premier support for these critical services needs to continue across the UK’s councils, constabularies, and government ministries, to adequately protect our front-line staff’s data, and to protect taxpayer’s money from compliance and data breach fines.
“With only a small minority running on, or upgrading to R.12.2, local authorities should carry out an upgrade assessment as soon as possible to establish how they can start the upgrade process and where they can optimise their ERP environments.”
Claremont contacted 50 local authorities in the UK in August 2020, with 31 coming back with complete responses.