stealth-auditOne of the first questions we ask prospective clients is “Are you currently being audited or being threatened with an Oracle audit?” Much to my surprise, our prospect often says “no”, but when we get further into the conversation the answer is in fact “yes.” How can this be? How can clients not even know they are being audited by Oracle? It’s like the woman who gives birth and didn’t know she was pregnant. (We’ve all seen those Lifetime specials!)

I call these audits “Stealth Audits.” It can start innocently enough. In fact, it’s often initiated by the client themselves. That’s right, the client reaches out to Oracle with a question and then lands up being audited. Here are some classic examples of the Stealth Oracle LMS Audit:

Product Licensing
Our client was unsure if a certain product was included when licensing the Oracle database. The client called their Oracle sales person to ask about the licensing. The reply was classic. To paraphrase the sales person: “Just run these scripts, fill out the Oracle Server Worksheet and send us the results. We will look at this and let you know if you need a separate license.” Well the client did run the scripts and completed the Oracle Server Worksheet (also known as the OSW) and the conversation quickly turned from “Do I need to license this component separately?” to “You are out of compliance and you need to buy all this stuff or you will be audited.”

This is when the client called Palisade Compliance. When we asked them if they were audited they said “no.” Amazing because even after sending scripts and being told they were out of compliance, the customer still insisted they were not audited, believing the sales person was trying to help the client by not sending this to the audit team. (BTW, who do you think analyzed those scripts, the sales team?) It might not have started with the official audit letter from Oracle’s LMS team, but rest assured it was an audit.

Reducing Annual Support Bills
Another favorite Oracle Stealth Audit is when the customer calls Oracle and asks for help reducing their annual support bill. The sales person agrees to help and says (again paraphrasing), “Great. First we need to know your usage, just run these scripts and fill out this worksheet so we can see what your usage is.” What do you think happened next? That’s right, this time the client received a letter from Oracle LMS with a noncompliance finding. So the conversation turned from “Help me reduce my support costs” to Oracle saying something like “You owe us more money and if you don’t fix this in 30 days we can terminate your licenses and cut off your support.” Again, this client didn’t even know they were being audited until they received the letter from Oracle’s LMS.

ULA Contract Expiration
One last example is the Oracle ULA. If you have a ULA you will be working with Oracle’s audit team. Oracle has built that into the process. Right before your ULA expires, you should expect to receive a letter from Oracle LMS with an offer to “help” you certify your ULA. Again, I call this a Stealth Audit and it’s built right into every ULA.

The best way to avoid an audit and associated unexpected compliance findings is to be in compliance with your Oracle license grant. At Palisade Compliance, we ensure that our clients stay in compliance by actively monitoring usage and compliance position.