There has been a good amount of press recently about companies moving away from Oracle software and services. Reports have arisen on efforts by both Salesforce and Amazon to free themselves of Oracle. One company has created an entire “Project Visine” to get the red out.
We are in an interesting place at Palisade because we help our clients achieve their goals with Oracle, whatever those goals are. Some of our clients want to buy more Oracle and we help them negotiate the best deals with the most favorable terms and pricing. Other clients are desperate to move off Oracle, or at least spend less with Oracle, and we help them do that as well. Given our experience helping companies move off Oracle, I thought it would be good to share our observations on just what it takes to successfully extricate yourself from Oracle.
Here are three things a company must have to move away from Oracle:
1. You need a technical solution that meets your business needs
If you are going to stop using Oracle, then you must start using something else in its place. Despite your frustrations with how Oracle does business, you’re not going to back to ink wells and ledger books. In fact, to make a move off an incumbent like Oracle, you generally want something that is better suited to your needs than Oracle is. This may mean that it costs less, or is open source, or cloud-centric, more features, etc. Only you know if a replacement is better for you.
The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to all of Oracle’s products and services. Oracle doesn’t have a corner on any market. In fact, if you are a start up today you are probably not looking at Siebel for your CRM, you’re looking at Salesforce. You are not using Peoplesoft for HR, you want Workday. Your database is going to be open source. If you are moving to the cloud, you can use AWS or Azure.
It’s not just Oracle products that have alternatives. Many companies are staying with Oracle products but moving their support to companies like Rimini Street. Oracle support is approximately 94% profit for Oracle and their customers are tired of paying those fees. Rimini can provide better support at a fraction of the costs. It’s an offer that’s hard to refuse.
2. You must have the ability to save money on your Oracle contracts
Why move away from Oracle if you can’t save money?
If you are going to completely shut off all your Oracle usage than it might be very easy for you to cancel your Oracle contracts and your Oracle bills. However, if you are only reducing your Oracle usage, and not shutting it down completely, then you might have a problem.
Oracle contracts are notoriously vague and complex. One thing that is clear in those contracts is your obligation to pay Oracle maintenance, and Oracle’s opportunity to jack up their prices if you try to use less of their products. That’s right, in some cases, if you try to turn off some licenses and reduce your Oracle spend, Oracle can actually raise your rates and you end up spending more with them! Oracle calls it “repricing” but many of their clients call it unfair. Oracle’s claim on doing this is buried deep in a URL and not even printed in the body of the contract itself. So much for transparency.
This step is where many companies trip up. They find an alternative solution and then they get into a fight with Oracle over their remaining Oracle pricing. Oracle will not negotiate here. At Palisade, we’ve helped hundreds of clients in their efforts to reduce their Oracle spend. The best thing any company can do in this situation is to map out an Oracle cost reduction plan, taking into account all their Oracle agreements and obligations, and then execute on that plan. There are definitely ways to avoid the Oracle contract traps if you know where to look and how to execute. The worst thing you can do….ask Oracle to help you spend less money with Oracle. The best think you can do, call Palisade. (sorry, self promotion!)
3. You need the willpower and fortitude to make the move
Let’s face it, it’s relatively easy to write a check to Oracle. Everyone knows Oracle costs are exorbitant and increasing every year. People might not be happy about paying the huge Oracle bill, but they pay it.
To get willpower, you’ll need the confidence of having an alternative to Oracle as well as a way to reduce those Oracle costs. All the desire in the world isn’t going move you off Oracle if there is no other technical solution available to you or if you can’t save money. The formula is simple:
Technical Alternative + Lower Costs = Willpower & Fortitude
Oracle is actually very good at putting doubt, and even fear, into their customers when those customers push back on Oracle and try to reduce their costs. How often have we seen the Oracle sales team call out the Oracle LMS audit team to audit a customer moving away from Oracle? Let me tell you how many times….too many!
Being an independent firm, Palisade helps our clients either spend less with Oracle, or spend more. It all depends on our client’s goals. This independence also gives us terrific insight into where our clients are going with their technology roadmap. More often than not, we’ve found our clients to be extremely frustrated with Oracle’s policies, practices, and costs. This frustration is driving them away from Oracle like we’ve never seen before. It that’s the direction you are going, be sure you have all three elements above before making the switch.