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Oracle have been accused of questionable sales tactics, miscommunication and “moving the goal posts” to suit its own revenue by not-for-profit group Campaign For Clear Licensing.

Oracle have been accused of questionable sales tactics, miscommunication and “moving the goal posts” to suit its own revenue by not-for-profit group Campaign For Clear Licensing (CCL).

CCL, who recently appointed former managing director of Snow software asset management’s Mark Flynn as CEO, has conducted its first review into Oracle’s licensing and auditing practices.

'Oracle doesn't communicate licensing changes'

It found that a majority (92 percent) of the 100 software asset managers, IT asset managers, software licensing specialists or IT procurement professionals it surveyed said that Oracle did not communicate licensing changes.

Respondents said they could not find accurate information when they went to the vendor with queries.

CCL's report stated that customers encountered “questionable sales tactics". It explained: “Oracle sales teams, under competitive pressure, are not advising customers to the full implications of licensing choices. This causes irritation, frustration and damages the relationship.”

Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) team are supposed to promote the correct use and distribution of Oracle software systems through its “expert services” team. But 78 percent of respondents said the LMS team were not helpful during Oracle’s audit, contract renewal and negotiation process.

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CCL said that Oracle has since responded since reading the report, suggesting “customers check the terms and conditions of contracts”.

However CCL added: "Oracle LMS also stated that some customers don’t have time to read contracts”.

'Deep-rooted mistrust'

Martin Thompson, CCL’s founder said: “Based on our research and conversations over the last six months, we have found that customers’ relationships with Oracle are hostile and filled with deep-rooted mistrust. 

“So entrenched is this feeling of mistrust that some organisations were fearful of speaking to us in case of any audit repercussions. 

“Whilst every organisation entering into contracts must be accountable for the agreements they purchase, a disproportionate amount of risk and management overhead appears to be placed on the customer by Oracle."

Customers don't have resources to manage their Oracle estate

"Similarly, many customers have not invested, or are not capable of investing, sufficient resource to manage their Oracle estate, or are aware of the investment in management overhead that they will require prior to engaging with Oracle. On the whole, the customers we surveyed appear to have an arms-length, impoverished relationship with Oracle.” 

The damning report was conducted to better inform members when dealing with the vendor, “and to form the basis of a constructive dialogue with Oracle so that positive change for both the customer and Oracle could result”, CCL said in the report released this morning.

CEO Mark Flynn added: “This is our first thorough review of a vendor’s approach to licensing for our members, and while the results might not surprise anyone who deals with Oracle software licensing on a day-to-day basis, the deeply negative experience of its customers should serve as a wake-up call to Oracle.

"We have been impressed with Oracle’s willingness to work with the Campaign and welcome its openness in forming this meaningful dialogue with its users. Change will take time, but we hope that this exercise will result in a more positive experience for Oracle customers in the future.”

Oracle told ComputerworldUK it had nothing further to add following the report's release this morning. Download the report here.