Starkey Hearing Technologies is a global company specializing in hearing aids. Starkey partnered with Spinnaker Support through their multi-year journey to the Oracle Cloud to ensure business continuity and ongoing support of on-premises Oracle systems during their phased migration.
While they were ready to upgrade some of their Oracle technology, Starkey did not expect to upgrade EBS ahead of the December 2021 end-of-support date. Since Starkey would be on this system for many more years, they needed a partner they could trust to be by their side for both day-to-day maintenance and assistance with any additional customizations or new functionality they may need to support their business.
With Spinnaker, Starkey has maintained a high quality of support throughout the process and has been able to chart their own path, on their own timeline, to the Oracle Cloud.
In 2018, Starkey had a highly customized Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) 12.1.3 environment. Oracle does not support customized environments, so Starkey sought out a third-party support provider who could help maintain their system. It was important to find a provider with both the technical experience to support Oracle EBS and the functional expertise to understand Starkey’s business and help deliver value through EBS.
Starkey identified Spinnaker Support as a highly rated provider of third-party support for Oracle technology. After conducting thorough due diligence, Don Braaten, Starkey’s Manager of Oracle Application Development, felt confident that Spinnaker would be an excellent partner for Starkey. Some members of his team had hesitations, though. “It was a shift in the paradigm for us–it was a new model we were introducing to our team,” Braaten explained. But with the Oracle renewal date approaching quickly, they made the decision to switch to Spinnaker and have been incredibly pleased with that decision.
Any lingering hesitations about switching to third-party support were quickly dispelled when Starkey ran into a critical issue just one week after bringing Spinnaker in. Although the Spinnaker team was new to Starkey’s customized environment, they brought an enormous amount of functional expertise and jumped right in to resolve the issue. “They were able to stand in the place where normally my team would have stood,” said Braaten. “They shouldered up beside us as though they had been here all along.”
This experience helped Starkey’s IT team build immediate trust in Spinnaker and set the foundation for a long, fruitful relationship between the two organizations.
The confidence in knowing that I have a team that is invested in me, invested in what we do, and is really an extension of our on-site team that we have here is so very valuable and very important to us.
-Don Braaten, Manager of Oracle Application Development, Starkey
Over the years, Spinnaker has become an extension of Starkey’s IT team. After years of dealing with one-size-fits-all support from Oracle, Starkey was pleasantly surprised to see what personalized support can look like. “They’ve embraced [our custom environment] in ways that–I’ve got to be honest–I didn’t know how they would,” remarked Braaten.
Spinnaker has also helped Starkey maintain business continuity over the years. Starkey no longer has to worry about IT staff turnover resulting in knowledge loss or skill gaps when it comes to supporting their Oracle systems. With Spinnaker supporting Oracle EBS, Starkey’s IT team has been able to refocus their efforts on more high-value projects. Starkey recently introduced new innovative features in their hearing aids, and IT had sufficient bandwidth to dedicate resources to supporting the rollout of the new features.
Starkey is now looking to the future and planning out the remainder of their migration to the Oracle Cloud. Once complete, Starkey will have fully returned to Oracle to take advantage of the latest product offerings.
Some businesses are concerned that severing their Oracle support contract would damage the relationship and jeopardize any future plans to migrate to the Oracle Cloud. Starkey’s journey serves to allay concerns other organizations may have around how switching to third-party support could impact their relationship with Oracle.
While Oracle will certainly be sorry to lose the support revenue if you switch to non-OEM support, they will happily welcome you back when you’re ready. In the meantime, you can extend the life of your legacy Oracle systems with top-tier third-party support, and then complete your Oracle Cloud migration when it makes sense for your business.
When Starkey made the switch to Spinnaker in 2018, they already knew their journey would eventually take them to the Oracle Cloud. Today, Starkey has moved several Oracle systems to the cloud, but continues to leverage Spinnaker to support EBS until they are ready to complete their migration. No hard feelings from Oracle, several extra years of life for EBS 12.1.3, and an IT strategy that works for their business.
“We’re not there yet,” Braaten says of the Oracle Cloud. “Until we get there, Spinnaker is going to be a part of our team.”