Mar 14, 2017

How to Leverage Your Inventory & Discovery Tools in Oracle Software Audit

Before we get into this topic I need to give you some background. I used to run Oracle’s license audit team (LMS). In fact, I was their global process owner for all things LMS. I loved my job back then, and I love what I do now at Palisade Compliance – helping customers who are being audited by Oracle.

Having sat on both sides of the table, I have a unique perspective on Oracle’s tactics, and the impact of their aggressive behavior on their customers. The good news is that a savvy Oracle customer who is well prepared can do well through an Oracle audit. The bad news is if you are not prepared then you will give Oracle millions of dollars.

Control is the name of the game

Managing an Oracle audit is all about controlling the information and the narrative. If you let Oracle control the data and the narrative, then you will pay Oracle lots and lots of money. If you take control, as you should do, then you will pay Oracle little if anything. Customers who stay in control, will, at the very worst, only pay Oracle a fair price for the excess software they are consuming.

Oracle’s goal in any audit is to generate as much money as possible for Oracle. They do this by gathering a lot of data (way more data than they need) and present the audit target with the highest possible non-compliance number. Then Oracle LMS hands the large finding over to the Oracle sales team and helps sales close the deal.

In this scenario, the client is trying to negotiate down from that amazingly high number. Because these Oracle customers don’t have their own facts, the entire discussion is based on what Oracle LMS says. That’s not going to be good for you.

Use a tool to know your data

This does not, however, have to be how an Oracle audit works. In fact, when an Oracle customer has data from a tool, that data can be used to present the client’s position first. If the client has been managing their Oracle licensing correctly, with no compliance issues, then the audit goes from “negotiating down from a high number” to Oracle trying to move you from zero up to any number.

I’ll go one step further. Using an inventory tool can actually prevent an audit! How? Here goes…if Oracle sales starts asking questions about your deployment, and you are able to give fast, firm, good information back to sales, then your audit risk goes down. Remember, Oracle doesn’t like to audit clients who know their license position. These audits don’t generate as much money as auditing a company that doesn’t understand their position/usage.

At Palisade, we’ve been helping clients through Oracle audits for over 6 years. There is a direct correlation between clients having quality data and paying lower penalties to Oracle. The better the data the lower the fees. If a client does not manage their licensing or does not have any tool in place to do inventory and/or discovery, then they are at a disadvantage with Oracle. Again, Oracle wants to control the report that says you are using X number of licenses. If you don’t have a number to give Oracle, then Oracle will give you a number.

Use experts to leverage that data

Palisade is not in the tool business. We are a consulting firm that specializes in Oracle contracting and licensing. I believe in order for a client to be in the best position with Oracle they need both information (a tool is a great source of information) and guidance (an independent Oracle expert is a great source for guidance).

I like to use the IRS analysis here. As a business owner, I use QuickBooks to manage my accounting. However, I also have an accountant that is an expert in the field. My accountant’s job would be much harder if I simply handed her a box of receipts at the end of the year rather than all the information from Quickbooks. At the same time, my Quickbooks reports won’t help me with the IRS. I need my accountant to help make sure the IRS does not knock on the door, and if they do knock, to help me through that audit.

Companies who make SAM part of their DNA, and who get the best independent guidance for Oracle (or any software vendor), will stay in control of that relationship, avoid unnecessary costs, and achieve compliance.

Listen to my webinar Proven Strategies to Reclaim Control of Oracle’s Fiscal Year End. This webinar will offer insider tips that prepare you for an Oracle audit. Find out how the combined power of Oracle expertise with a dedicated software asset management tool like SmartTrack creates a winning strategy for software license compliance and audit defense.

In this invaluable session, you will learn how to use your data to best leverage Oracle’s fiscal year end (upcoming on May 31). Along with Aspera Co-founder Christof Beaupoil, we will uncover:

  • How to manage an Oracle audit
  • How complete data can help prepare for and avoid an Oracle license audit
  • How using the right tool is can help in your negotiations with Oracle
  • What to anticipate as Oracle begins a new fiscal year
  • A live Q&A at the end

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Topics: Audit Defense, Oracle