We’ve been talking a lot recently about companies that are moving away from Oracle. There was a recent article about Salesforce and Amazon leaving Oracle. We’ve also told you about our client and their “Project Visine” to get the red out (i.e., Oracle). While it is very true that there is an almost unrivaled level of frustration and anger at Oracle’s business practices and LMS audits teams for the way they treat their customers, there is also, on the flip side, the need to buy more Oracle stuff (licenses, services, cloud, hardware, etc). This article is for those people who are buying from Oracle.
Here are three tips to help you get the best pricing and terms:
1. Buy from a position of strength
This is critical. In a perfect world you would want what Oracle is selling, but you wouldn’t need it. For example, if you are buying 100 licenses of Oracle database, it’s because you need it for another project and Oracle is giving you a great deal. You should not be buying it because you are out of compliance, or worried about an Oracle Audit. Getting out of line with your compliance position can happen for many reasons – over deployment, using things you didn’t know were in use, mergers, acquisitions, new product offerings, etc. If you can remove the fear of Oracle from your buying experience, you will work with them as a vendor who must earn your business and treat you with respect.
2. Have an alternative to what Oracle is selling
If your only option is to do what Oracle wants you to do, then you are screwed. Sorry to be so blunt, but the Oracle rep will know it and exploit your lack of options. Having options to what Oracle is selling means a few different things. First, it means you can buy other products that will solve your business needs. Oracle is not the only database in town anymore. Oracle is definitely not the only cloud provider. There are many out there with offerings that are much more sophisticated than Oracle’s nescient offerings. Having options also means contractual options. Oracle may want you to sign a new ULA, but you don’t have to. Even if you are stuck and have to buy Oracle products, you still have options on HOW to buy them. ULA, Pool of Funds, Order Documents, Partners, etc. There are lots of contracting options. Do you know your flexibility here? Oracle’s not going to tell you what you need to know. One more example here: when you get to the end of a ULA, if your only option is buying a new ULA, that is going to be very expensive. You need the option of certifying out of that ULA. If you get to the end of Oracle’s year and you have the ability to certify (even if you don’t want to), I guarantee you have all the leverage in the world and the ULA extension will get so much less expensive.
3. Use Oracle’s quarter close, but don’t wait until the end of the quarter
Everyone knows that you want to push Oracle to the end of their quarter to get the best deal. What many people forget, however, is that you need lots of time to negotiate all the pricing and terms and conditions in your contract. You can’t wait until the end of the quarter to start the negotiations with Oracle. You have to start early. Oracle doesn’t make it easy and will typically run the negotiation cycle on its head and try to make their quarter close into your problem. Have you ever heard an Oracle rep bellow: “If you don’t sign this deal this quarter it goes away and you’ll pay more next month!” That really isn’t true. You’ll get the same deal the following quarter. What’s different is that the rep might not get the commission the next month. If you are planning to negotiate a deal for May (Oracle’s fiscal year end), then you should already have a complete contract, with terms and conditions and pricing, on your desk so you can review and negotiation. If you don’t have that contract already then you should get it. You can’t negotiate off an Oracle sales PowerPoint.
I know I said there were three things to get the best deal from Oracle, but I’m going to give you a bonus #4. Here it is…get help with your Oracle positioning and negotiations. Oracle sales has made an art form out of exploiting their sales cadence. You must have a way to disrupt that Oracle optimized process and insert a client optimized buying cycle. The good news here is that Palisade Compliance does this every day. Because we are independent of Oracle we can help you really drive your Oracle negotiations to their optimal result. I’ve been negotiating Oracle contracts for over 20 years (16 years for Oracle and 6 years at Palisade for our clients), and we have a team of similarly seasoned professionals who are focused on helping you take back control from Oracle.