Vendor traps: Oracle SLAs (or lack of)

SLAs are an established (and essential) component of any business-to-business relationship. Organisations rely on the SLAs offered by their ERP providers in particular, because these systems are so critical to daily operations. Unfortunately, Oracle SLAs aren’t quite what they seem.

In this series of blogs, we’re taking a look at some of the most common traps set by Oracle & SAP, and explaining what (if anything) customers can do about them.

Today, we’re looking at the slightly fishy nature of Oracle’s support SLAs, and then wondering how exactly they help anyone (except maybe Oracle).

Dig a little deeper

SLAs are an essential part of any customer-supplier relationship, particularly when it comes to complex solutions like ERP. On the face of things, Oracle’s support SLAs appear reasonable.

SeverityResponse Time Goal (90%)
11 hour (available 24/7)
22.5 local business hours
3Next business day
4Next business day

Look closer, though, and you’ll find there are three major issues:

1. There are no resolution SLAs

While Oracle agrees to respond to support requests within a set amount of time, it says nothing about how long it will take it to resolve anything. Rapid response times do little to help customers when they have no recourse to complain about poor resolution times.

2. Oracle doesn’t provide performance reporting

Given that there are no resolution SLAs, it would be reasonable to expect Oracle to take its response SLAs seriously. In reality, customers are forced to manually download and analyse their own data if they want to check whether agreed SLAs have been met.

3. Oracle doesn’t have to meet its SLAs

Yes, you read that correctly. Oracle doesn’t provide any contractual guarantees on incident response or resolution times. In Oracle’s official documentation, SLAs are referred to as “goals.” In other words, SLAs are something Oracle will aim to meet, but not something it’s required to meet. In its own words:

“Oracle’s failure to adhere to the times stated will not constitute a breach by Oracle.”

Source: Oracle Software Technical Support Policies

Customers pay a huge amount for Oracle’s official support program, and rely on it to help maintain systems that are integral to its business models. Of all the traps Oracle uses to tip the balance of power in its favour, its approach to SLAs is one of the most shocking.

What can you do about it?

There’s no indication that Oracle will change its stance on SLAs. If your organisation needs support SLAs that guarantee a level of service, you only have one option: go elsewhere for your support.

This is doubly true if you need guaranteed SLAs for resolution. Third-party support providers offer far higher levels of service than Oracle’s official support program and the outcomes are guaranteed, so at the very least it’s worth investigating your options.

Don’t stand for vendor traps

If you’ve had enough of the traps Oracle and SAP set to keep you paying over the odds for poor quality support, we can help. Recently, we published a report on their most common traps and also what customers can do to protect themselves.

In the report, we cover:

  • Why SAP customers are so terrified of being audited that they are often willing to commit to hugely expensive and unnecessary upgrades.
  • How Oracle uses threats and “coercive sales practices” (that’s a direct quote from a lawsuit against the company) to force customers into expensive, and also unwanted upgrades.
  • What customers can do to protect their interests against the barrage of tricks employed by Oracle and SAP, including how to save at least 50% on annual support contracts while receiving a higher level of service.

And much more.

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