Oracle Stokes 'Hostile' Customer Relations, Study Says - InformationWeek

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11/3/2014
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Oracle Stokes 'Hostile' Customer Relations, Study Says

Campaign for Clear Licensing survey finds 92% of customers say Oracle does not clearly communicate licensing changes.

The Campaign for Clear Licensing survey findings on the Oracle License Management Services unit.
The Campaign for Clear Licensing survey findings on the Oracle License Management Services unit.

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Lorna Garey
100%
0%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
11/3/2014 | 2:33:51 PM
Intent
Doug, Do you think Oracle leaves options unlocked as back-door marketing, hoping to get IT to try the features, like them, and then pony up? I mean, that would make sense. But perhaps a better method would be to set a time limit for "free" use. Maybe after a month a notice pops up to contact Oracle to upgrade to buy the feature, and that key is needed to continue use.
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
11/3/2014 | 2:52:38 PM
Re: Intent
It's very clear that Oracle's current licensing approach makes it easy to make use of features you're not necessarily entitled to use under your current license. Oracle says that makes it easy to find and use valuable features and functionality, but it also makes it easy to get out of compliance with contracts and end up having to pay fines. Lots of software license optimization system vendors and a raft of Oracle licensing consultants are emarging thanks to the challenges of licesning Oracle software.

The Campaign for Clear Licesing has published this free "Oracle Licensing Quick Guide" to help customers navigate Oracle's "complex and treacherous" licensing policies. There's no doubt that customers get tons of value out of Oracle products or they wouldn't be using them. CCL is just asking for better clarity and consistency on licensing terms, what's included/covered by current licenses and what's optional. The technology exists to handle rights management in a clear way, but it's not being used.

 
Lorna Garey
50%
50%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
11/3/2014 | 2:56:42 PM
Re: Intent
Why doesn't the company build in license management though? It must know that playing gotcha with customers is not a long-term winning strategy. Oracle's bad rap in this regard is hardly new. I don't get the logic.
zerox203
50%
50%
zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
11/3/2014 | 6:55:56 PM
Re: Oracle Stokes 'Hostile' Customer Relations, Study Says
As Lorna points out, this is certainly not the first time we've heard complaints from around the industry about Oracle's licensing and the 'honor system' approach in general. I myself have mixed feelings about it. There's certainly an argument to be made that a hands-off approach simply saves the software vendor lots of time, money, and headaches, without much need for an alterior explanation. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that a company as big as Oracle has a need to shave those meager costs, and is not doing it for any other reason.

I remember reading a few years back that a high court (I think in the US) finally struck down the notion that all EULAs were binding forever, regardless of what was in them. That is, you can't just stick something ridiculous in there, selectively enforce it whenever it's convenient for you, and get away with it scott free. I doubt Oracle is running the risk of being on the wrong side of the law here, but nevertheless, it seems like they're relying on their size and clout to save them where their policies and customer satisfaction might otherwise cost them. Perhaps not the smartest idea in the age of the agile startup.
 
Charlie Babcock
0%
100%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
11/3/2014 | 9:17:57 PM
What is Oracle's underlying customer relations culture?
I wish the Harvard Business Review or some academic source would do a study on Oracle's approach to customer relations. What happened at Montclair State as its sought to get fulfilled what it thought was the terms of its contract for an ERP implementation might be interpreted as persistent threat and intimidation. If there's a disagreement over the contract, threaten the customer with millions in new charges. If the customer remains dissatisfied, threaten to walk. If the customer refuses to be cowed, then walk, leaving the project unfinished. It may not be that simple and there's two sides to every dispute. But Oracle's actions followed a pattern of intimidation thoughout. Then I ask myself, it's not really that bad, is it? I'd llke to see an attempted, objective answer. 
Brazingo
100%
0%
Brazingo,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2014 | 3:38:06 AM
Statistically insignificant
100 customers is less than 0.025% of the Oracle customer base

Survey is statically insignificant!
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
11/6/2014 | 9:39:13 AM
Re: Statistically insignificant
I know @Brazingo on Twitter as analyst Donald Feinberg of Gartner. I'm no statistician, but I do know these CCL survey results are consistent with Gartner's recent (October 2014) database Magic Quadrant observation that "in recent Gartner surveys, Oracle received the lowest score for ease of doing business." I assume that had a lot to do with licensing and LMS negotiations.
edmorgan
50%
50%
edmorgan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/18/2015 | 4:35:07 PM
Re: Statistically insignificant
I'm also no statistican, but if you use a online sample size calculator such as the one at SurveySystem.com, choose 95% confidence level, 10 confidence interval (also called margin of error), and 400,000 population size (calculated from Brazingo's numbers), the sample size needed is 96. 

Also consider this from Gallup:

"The current US adult population in the continental United States is 187 million. The typical sample size for a Gallup poll which is designed to represent this general population is 1,000 national adults."
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