The ABC of Oracle Audits

Three building blocks with the letters A, B and C on them stocked on top of each other

Oracle audits its customers to monitor how organisations are using its software.

There are many triggers that could put your organisation in the crosshairs of an Oracle audit.

These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Acquisitions or mergers
  • Employees running scripts for testing or support purposes
  • Requesting an optimisation from Oracle, or even visiting certain optimisation webpages on its website

Customers who are subject to an audit will receive a notification from Oracle that it is exercising its contractual rights to delve into how the customer is using its software.

Organisations will typically have 45 days to respond to this initial notification and come up with a plan before Oracle conducts its analysis and reports its findings.

Oracle also conduct what many call ‘soft audits’*.

These can occur when an organisation contacts Oracle looking for help managing their licenses, or when it offers to help with their ULA certification.

When Oracle acquires the necessary information to ‘help’, it may pass this information onto its audit teams to review, commencing an official audit process.

Each audit can be different from the last, but they all follow a similar ABC methodology…

The ABC tactic

A is for Audit 

This involves Oracle looking anywhere it can to challenge the customer on its license compliance. In many cases, customers will fall foul of being compliant and therefore rending them ‘noncompliant’ (as defined by Oracle). But this will be partly due to the customer’s misunderstanding of the requests made by Oracle around what they need to provide for the audit, and partly due to the maze of contracts and vague policies that Oracle can utilise to always find something to pull them up on.

B is for Bargain 

Oracle knows its customer. So, it will know the compliance challenges it will be facing beforehand and will use this as leverage to bargain with once it inevitably finds something to fine the customer for upon completion of the audit.

C is for Close

But fear not weary customer! Oracle has a convenient solution to its self-imposed problem. It will be willing to negotiate or even reduce the fine if the customer agrees to move to Oracle’s Cloud deal. Now, the customer may reduce or even ‘get out’ of the fine, but they have potentially signed up to a multi-year software service that they aren’t ready for, may have no use for, and/ or are paying way over the odds for.

Why it’s good for Oracle

This tactic helps Oracle to inflate its fledgling Cloud numbers (compared to the likes of AWS, Microsoft, and Google) as it struggles to keep up with the bigger names in the Cloud race.

Oracle has created a convenient win/win game for itself:

  1. It imposes an audit on a customer at any time (it chooses the rules).
  2. If the customer doesn’t comply, they will be in breach of their contract (all licensees in their contract agree “to cooperate with Oracle’s audit and provide reasonable assistance and access to information”).
  3. If the customer does comply, Oracle will almost certainly find something they don’t like, and as a result, be subject to fines and pressures to move to Oracle’s Cloud.

So, when it comes to audits, Oracle are self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner. It chooses the game, who can take part, and has already decided the outcome before it’s even begun.

But all is not lost!

How you can navigate license compliance

Organisations are becoming increasingly more aware of Oracle’s audit scare tactics, with more and more options available to them to navigate license compliance.

Support Revolution have 24+ years’ experience helping organisations keep their licensing house in order, and as a previous Oracle Partner, we can help them best prepare for such egregious sales tactics.

Find out more about Oracle’s auditing tactics, and more about its licensing compliance scare tactics in our guide.


Ready to have a chat about improving your Oracle support? 
Contact us today >>


*Oracle ‘soft audits‘.

Oracle Cloud growth.

Skip to content