How We Helped Pets Best Level the Audit Playing Field with Oracle

Case study

Pets Best Insurance is an online pet insurance company that operates in all 50 US states and insures more than 80,000 pets. The company had run its insurance solution using Oracle software since its founding in 2005. At that time, Oracle helped specify the software packages and licensing. Pets Best designed its systems to separate their Oracle environment from everything else.

What happened?

Everything was running smoothly for more than a decade. Although the company paid careful attention to complying with its Oracle licenses over the years, Pets Best received a compliance and audit notice from Oracle.

The VP of IT reviewed their licenses and saw that contrary to what he’d been told, their customer portal, which accessed Oracle, should not be running as a named license. Changes would be needed. The question was what to do with Oracle’s requests for information and demand to pay up. Despite having only 60 employees and two servers, Oracle’s solution was a huge expense, representing more than 60% of the pet insurer’s total IT budget.

The solution

Oracle’s request for information sounded cordial. But as they began filling out the Oracle worksheet and reviewing Oracle’s scripts, the VP became concerned and started looking for help with the Oracle audit. After interviewing two or three Oracle advisors, the company chose Palisade Compliance. Our first step was to have Pets Best take a step back from Oracle’s requests, slow down, get organized, and create an audit response plan.

With our guidance, Pets Best ran the scripts they were comfortable with (some were overly invasive), filled out the worksheet, and handed the results to us. Together, we reviewed system architecture, corporate goals and budget requirements. We took all that information and created several licensing scenarios. Pets Best used the results from us, optimized their Oracle deployments, and chose a licensing option that fitted their business model and their budget. The next step was creating a plan to get Pets Best the deal that made sense for them.

We advised Pets Best that Oracle’s ask would be high. But Oracle’s ask was unreasonable for a company with 60 employees. So, we created a plan and execution strategy to move Oracle off their demands and agree to the licensing model that was best for Pets Best.

Palisade Compliance advised Pets Best to take a step back, slow down, get organized,
and determine their goals.

The outcome

Pets Best took their time and executed the Palisade Plan. Oracle asked for more information or to run more scripts, and Pets Best, with us advising them, pushed back, asserting their contractual rights and ensuring a level playing field.

Pets Best wanted to change their licensing model, but at our suggestion didn’t show its hand until the proper time in the negotiations. This timing ensured a successful outcome and prevented Oracle from pushing the pet insurer in a different direction.

Pets Best started the negotiations by suggesting a particular licensing model, knowing they really wanted more flexibility. As predicted, this proposal was countered by Oracle. Pets Best went on to negotiate a license that fitted with their business model and what they already had budgeted for Oracle. Oracle’s unreasonable request was off the table and the pet insurer had the technology they required to run their business at a fair cost.

The most vital benefit of working with us was that it allowed Pets Best to thoroughly understand their current Oracle commitments and future needs when entering into negotiations.

Pets Best biggest learning? That Oracle audits are actually driven by sales. Oracle’s word is not the law; Oracle is simply a company that has negotiated a contract. Having Palisade Compliance at their side helped the pet insurer meet their business goals – and pay Oracle less.