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Wolf in Sheep's clothingWhen you have a business problem, and you are looking for guidance, you want to get the best possible guidance from a firm that is independent of that problem.  That’s common sense, right?   I mean, if you were being audited by the IRS, would you go to an accountant that is an IRS partner and makes a commission from the IRS on every dollar they bring in?  Of course you wouldn’t!  That situation, however, is exactly what happens in the Oracle licensing and contracting world, every day.

Sometimes it’s easy to see this conflict.  When Oracle sales and Oracle LMS come knocking on your door and offer you help to certify your ULA or manage your licenses, you know there is a catch.  They make money when you buy more Oracle.  Simple as that.  You can see the fox in the henhouse.

Things get a little trickier with dealing with an Oracle partner/reseller, or even firms that get commissions or payments from these resellers when you buy more Oracle.  There is a small cottage industry out there of firms who have become Oracle partners and then try to offer you advice on lowering your Oracle spend.  Guess what?  They have a conflict of interest.  In fact, they can be more dangerous than dealing with Oracle directly.  First, these Oracle partners don’t really get any in-depth licensing training from the Oracle business practices teams.  Honestly, any Oracle partner can say they are an Oracle licensing expert.  What’s to stop them?  These partners may not be the fox in the henhouse, but they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing for sure.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen companies go to an Oracle partner for help, things don’t go well with the partner, and then all of a sudden Oracle is knocking on the door with an audit or threat of an audit.   One client in particular sticks out in my mind.  They went to an Oracle partner for licensing help and the Oracle partner gave them some very bad licensing advice.  The partner claimed the company owed $3m to Oracle.  The partner also claimed they could get the customer a sweet deal for only $1.5m.  Thankfully, the customer did not take that partner up on that “sweet deal.”  This company did, however, come to Palisade for some help.   It turns out their compliance issue was approximately $50k.

If that sounds like a terrible situation, it actually got worse for the client.  Because they didn’t make a big purchase from the partner, Oracle knocked on the door with an audit letter.  In fact, the Oracle LMS team sent an email to the client demanding the client turn over the compliance data that had been sent to this Oracle partner.   Question:  How did Oracle know the customer worked with that partner?  How did they know there were scripts run and sent to the partner?   I think you can connect the dots here.

There is one more layer of conflict that is almost impossible to uncover unless you ask for it and contract for it.   Believe it or not, there are firms that appear on the surface to be independent of Oracle, but they really are not.   They are most often smaller shops with a couple of staff (maybe a former LMS auditor) looking to make money.   They are not listed on Oracle’s OPN network.  In fact, they may even say on their website that they are independent of Oracle.  However, they make money when you buy more Oracle.  How do they do that?  It’s simple.  These firms always recommend you buy licenses through a specific partner and never buy directly from Oracle.  Why do you think that is?  Why would any firm always recommend you buy your licenses through other specific Oracle partners/resellers?  Again, you can connect the dots.  To weed out these conflicted firms you must ask the right questions and ensure the principals at these firms sign affirmative certifications of their independence and that they do not receive any payments for the sale of Oracle products/services.

Oracle is a huge conglomerate now.  They have a global network of partners and resellers to do their bidding.  When looking for advice on how to spend less with a vendor like Oracle,  make sure you are getting your advice from a firm that is completely independent of Oracle.  Failure to take this precaution can cost you millions.

A key differentiator between Palisade and other Oracle licensing/consulting firms is that we are and will always be 100% of Oracle. We’ve even have a Declaration of Independence stating that we have no conflicts of interest with Oracle. Prior to working with a consulting firm, we urge you to see if they can say the same about their relationship with Oracle.

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