Issue details

20/00101 - Oracle E-Business Suite Support

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services proposes to award a contract and the permitted contract term extensions to Rimini Street for the support of the Council’s Oracle E-Business Suite (November 2020 to April 2021 with the potential for extensions into 2023).

Reason for the decision:

The Council’s support from Oracle for its E-Business Suite (EBS) expires on 5 April 2021. EBS is used for critical business processes in finance, human resources and procurement, including payroll and accounts payable. Oracle will stop providing its “Premier Support” for the version of EBS the Council uses in December 2021. Should the Council wish to retain this support from Oracle it would have to make a long-term commitment to them and undertake a programme of expensive and disruptive upgrades. Third-party support in terms of service levels is directly comparable to that from Oracle, but significantly lower cost.

Background: Provide brief additional context

Rimini Street is a well-established and proven provider of support for Oracle EBS (including the Local Government sector). Contracting for support from Rimini Street will secure service continuity for the foreseeable future and a significant financial saving. It will also give the Council time to consider its requirements for replacing EBS in the context of its strategic reset and financial constraints if that is necessary.

The Council’s EBS is hosted “on-premise” in the data centre at Sessions House. Arrangements for the close and migration of the data centre are being considered separately and are not affected by the provision of EBS support and vice versa. Third-party support can be provided if EBS is hosted on an Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS) solution for example, without incurring additional cost relative to on-premise.

Options (other options considered but discarded):

Three options were considered. The first and preferred option is to procure third-party support as a direct replacement of the support provided by Oracle. A critical difference to support from Oracle is that it removes the option to upgrade to future versions of EBS without purchasing new licenses from Oracle, but does nonetheless provide the important updates for security, tax regulations etc.

Continuing with Oracle’s Premier Support for an “on-premise” instance beyond December 2021 requires the Council to upgrade to a new version (12.2.8). This is the last significant upgrade of EBS planned by Oracle. This option was discounted because it requires a fundamental and costly change in middleware (the software that lies between the operating system and the applications running on it), with limited opportunity to achieve functional and feature improvement. Ongoing costs will be significantly higher than those for third-party support.

Adopting a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) alternative to EBS was also considered; often referred to as a “cloud-based solution”. Transition to cloud, even an Oracle Cloud, is a substantial undertaking. The Council would be forced to “adopt” different business processes because SaaS offer little opportunity to “adapt” the software to the way the Council works. Whilst this may be desirable in the longer-term it is considered too disruptive in the near term. The associated implementation costs will run to millions of pounds and the ongoing costs are higher than those for third-party support. Given the context of the Council’s strategic reset and financial constraints this option was rejected but will be revisited as the strategic reset progresses.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 07/10/2020

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - View reasons

Decision due: Not before 5th Nov 2020 by Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead member: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Department: Strategic & Corporate Services

Contact: Vincent Godfrey, Strategic Commissioner Tel: 03000 419045 Email: vincent.godfrey@kent.gov.uk.

Consultees

The Policy and Resources Cabinet Committee considered and noted the preferred option to use third-party support as an Exempt Item (no. 230) on 29 July 2020 (link below).

https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=750&MId=8527

Financial implications: The term of the contract will be November 2020 to April 2021 with options to extend for up to two further years in one-year increments. The value of the contract is £491,207 with the options to extend priced at £515,767 and £541,555 respectively (£1,548,529 in total). In the 2020/21 finance year the cost of Oracle support for EBS was £1,285,745. This compares to the cost of £491,207 with Rimini Street. This amount is though payable to Rimini Street in the 2020 calendar year representing an additional cost in the 2020/21 financial year (it is budgeted). In the 2021/22 financial year the Council will not incur any support costs for EBS; effectively making a saving of at least £1,285,745 relative to what it would have expected to pay based on the cost of Oracle Support in 20/21.

Legal implications: The Council has selected Rimini Street through the Government’s Digital Marketplace (“G-Cloud”). General Counsel is satisfied that the appropriate terms are in place with Rimini Street and have been reviewed by external lawyers (Burges Salmon). The proposed contract with Rimini Street contains the appropriate provisions for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations as they apply in the UK, tailored by the Data Protection Act 2018. Rimini Street will not have access to or collect information about individuals as a result of this contract.

Equalities implications: None given no change to the EBS system or impact on staff.