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Using Oracle software and cloud services, and not managing your contracts and compliance, is like playing Russian roulette with your IT budget.  You may dodge the bullet this time, you may even dodge it next time, but eventually the Oracle sales and LMS audit teams are going to get you. Count on it.

Figuring out your compliance position with Oracle can be a daunting task especially if you are a “red stack” customer.  You’re dealing with database, middleware, eBusiness suite, and a host of other industry applications and cloud services.  Oracle has acquired over 100 software and cloud vendors over the years.  If you only use 10 of them, then you have 10 different compliance models just to stay in line with Oracle.  Fall out of line with any one and you will pay dearly.

To take control of your Oracle relationship you have to break the problem down into smaller pieces.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you stay in control of Oracle and stay in compliance? One step at a time.

The first step in this process must be answering the most basic of questions.  “What products do I own and what are the terms of usage?”  While that may seem like a simple question, the answer can be quite elusive and often impossible to attain.  In a perfect world you would open up your contract management application, do a search on Oracle, and all your Oracle contracts would appear.  You would even have your inventory of products and terms and conditions ready at any time for you to take action should an issue arise.

In reality, however, this never happens. And it’s not because of a lack of effort, rather, it’s because Oracle contracts are typically too complex for even the most advanced contract management solution.  Let’s take a look.  To manage your Oracle contract relationship you have to manage these six items:

  1. Master Agreements
  2. Orders (license, cloud, hardware, etc)
  3. *Renewals (cloud, license, etc)
  4. *URL terms that are referenced directly in your contracts.
  5. *Other URLs that are not in your contract, but that Oracle tries to use against you (hard partitioning policy, licensing oracle database in the cloud policy)
  6. *Stuff Oracle sales/LMS makes up as their “policy”

Oracle’s use of non-contractual policies and internal practices put you at great risk if you are not prepared.  Word of advice: don’t let Oracle get away with pushing these non-contractual items on you.  Those things that are outside of your contract are Oracle’s problem, not your problem.  That is easier said than done unless you are prepared.

If all that wasn’t enough, many of these terms and policies can change without notice.  Everything here in red can change almost at any time. So, how many contract repositories out there are keeping track of your six levels of Oracle contracts and Oracle’s ever-changing policies?  Zero, that’s how many.

Think of your contractual arrangement with Oracle as a large 3D puzzle.  You know the kind where if you look one way the person is smiling but if you look from another angle the person is frowning.   That’s the Oracle contract puzzle. The more pieces of the puzzle you have, the more precise you will be in your compliance measurements, and the more you will be in control of your Oracle relationship.

At Palisade Compliance, we start every engagement by looking at your agreements and building your Oracle contracting puzzle taking into account what’s in the contract, and also looking at what’s not in the contract.  We have a proprietary offering called our Contract Opportunity and Risk Evaluation (CORE) that will not only get you moving to your compliance goals, but it will identify how you can avoid problems with Oracle and take advantage of the terms in your agreements to maximize your leverage with Oracle.

If you are not in control of your Oracle contracts, you will be out of compliance.  If you are out of compliance, you will not be in control of your Oracle relationship.  And if you’re not in control of that relationship, then Oracle is in control.  Not good.

For information on our CORE offering, or any of our other services to help you take back control of your Oracle relationship, please contact us for more information.

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