Oracle has many ways to audit their customers. In fact, there are so many different paths for audits that we wrote an entire white paper on “Hidden Oracle Audits“.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a shift in Oracle behavior. They appear to be moving away from the official “hard audit” and more to a “soft audit” approach. Make no mistake: these are all audits and your IT budget can be torched in either scenario.

Hard audits vs soft audits

A “hard audit” or “official audit” is when you get an official notification from Oracle that they are exercising their contractual rights to audit your use of their software. A “soft audit” is basically everything else.

Soft audits occur when Oracle offers to “help” you with your ULA certification. Or when you approach Oracle and ask for help managing your licenses. Soft audits can occur when you give your information to your Oracle consultants or sales people, and they pass it on to Oracle’s audit team. We’ve even seen Oracle sales people conduct soft audits when they tell clients they are out of compliance because they are using Oracle on VMware, or they made an acquisition and their new company can’t use the software. Soft audits come in many shapes and sizes and they are increasing.

Recently, the two biggest sources of soft audits have been originating from companies at the end of their ULA, and for companies moving to the cloud. In both cases, Oracle’s auditors are offering “free” help. Again, nothing is really free. In these engagements you pay big time.

Who is conducting these soft audits?

Well, lots of teams in Oracle.

  1. License Management Services (LMS). These are the traditional audit team. This is the team I ran at Oracle.
  2. Oracle Global License Advisory Services (GLAS). Part of the LMS audit team.
  3. Oracle Software Management and Reconciliation Team (SMART). This is part of GLAS.
  4. Sales teams in Oracle offering to help customers with licensing. Oracle Europe is famous for this.

No cost savings here

Whether or not you get an official audit letter from Oracle, you should consider that “anything you say to Oracle may be used against you later”. To be fair, you have to talk to Oracle if you rely on their technology to run your business. But do you really think Oracle is going to help you spend less money overall with Oracle? NO WAY! They may help you move money around from support to cloud, but the bill always goes up. Ask Oracle LMS what percentage of customers spend more on Oracle after one of these audits vs the percentage that spend less? I bet I know the answer to both questions!

Be careful navigating the Oracle compliance landscape. If you have any questions on licensing or you want real help reducing your Oracle costs, reach out to us at Palisade Compliance. We’re 100% independent of Oracle, and 100% focused on our clients!