For quite some time, Oracle refused to acknowledge third-party support as a true rival competing for the attention of organisations using the vendor’s technologies.
Now, however, many CIOs are feeling scorned after the mega-vendor has repeatedly fallen short of promises and expectations.
And, as more and more organisations begin eyeing up alternatives to traditional vendor support, Oracle has concocted several game plans.
The vendor is keen to try and win back its customers and make them fall in love with vendor support all over again (assuming they were smitten at the beginning of the support relationship, that is).
So, how does Oracle charm thee? Let us count the ways…
Showing some love for out of support products
Oracle’s tiered support approach, as we well know, has been designed to encourage customers to welcome the latest Oracle technologies with open arms.
The declining levels of support, paired with rising costs, will result in many organisations being manipulated into forking out for unwanted, unnecessary, and (in many cases) totally unjustifiable upgrades.
For some CIOs, undertaking a costly and time-consuming upgrade (don’t even get us started on the drama of customisations) just isn’t an option. But, then again, neither is being relegated to Sustaining Support. Nobody wants a downgrade, do they?
Having realised that the pressure it was putting on customers to upgrade was pushing some organisations away, Oracle decided to meet its customers halfway and introduced a separate support option from its standard tiers – Market Driven Support (MDS).
MDS essentially acts as a buffer, enabling organisations to remain supported beyond Premier Support cut-off dates while avoiding an upgrade. In this way, MDS offers a more flexible approach, so customers can seemingly jump off the upgrade treadmill and catch their breath.
For the first time, it seems Oracle is keen to endear its more reticent customers and entice them to stick with vendor support.
But these customers might just find themselves in it for the long run. This is because an organisation can only utilise MDS if it agrees to upgrade or implement Oracle’s Cloud applications after the agreed contractual period (typically two years) ends.
Your organisation will be eligible to receive the necessary fixes, but only if the issue has been discovered with the product since taking out MDS and only if Oracle deems the issue to be level 1 or 2 in severity.
The relationship is all on Oracle terms and, although reaching out to support those organisations that have one foot out the door, the vendor’s attempts at reconciliation are fuelled by long-term recurring revenue possibilities. Well, that, and the upfront gratification of additional support fees for its MDS offering.
Ultimately, MDS only delays the inevitable – upgrading or migrating – rather than extending the lifespan of the technologies, and organisations will pay dearly (standard annual support fees plus premium MDS charges) for buying themselves extra time.
It’s doomed to be a relationship where organisations are chasing the vendor, and the vendor neglects to take care of its customers.
Offering some sweet support savings
Good relationships are all about compromise, right?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, CIOs around the world are facing mounting pressure to push forward with innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, despite budgetary limitations.
So, acutely aware of the growing demand for its customers to fund development projects, and also with its own innovation projects humming away in the background, Oracle saw an opportunity to leverage a well-known flaw in its offering to sweeten souring relationships.
Oracle Support Rewards is essentially a discount scheme and was launched by the vendor to encourage existing customers to accelerate their migration to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Helping you to help Oracle, so it would seem.
The rewards program will enable organisations to receive credits when they invest in OCI which can then be redeemed as concessions on Oracle Support bills. According to Oracle, for every $1 spent on migrating workloads to OCI, customers can receive a discount between $0.25 and $0.33 on their support bills. The more you spend, the more you supposedly save. (You could save more with third-party support, and without having to buy into the Cloud hype.)
The problem with Oracle Support Rewards is that there are a great many strings attached, including:
- Discounts can only be applied to on-premise technology licensing support fees
- Rewards only accrue when OCI credits are used (spend to earn)
- Discounts are only valid for 12 months from when the rewards have been accrued, and can only be applied to open invoices for technology support fees
- To be considered eligible for the program, you must commit to a minimum of $1,000 (£720) a month for the first year
- If organisations are unable to accurately determine their average monthly usage, they could end up significantly overpaying for OCI credits
Perhaps the biggest catch of all is that if Oracle can convince its customers to move away from third-party applications and instead use its own Cloud applications, the vendor will be in a position to completely lock in those organisations across infrastructure, software, and support.
By offering up a way to drastically cut an organisation’s support bill, Oracle is attempting to align itself with the savings that third-party support providers can offer customers.
But, unlike third-party support providers, Oracle has an ulterior motive; one that could see organisations making a bigger commitment than they initially intended.
Putting your needs (and support requests) first
We are all well accustomed to the fact that Premier Support is the elite level of service that Oracle provides. Organisations at this stage of their relationship with the vendor can enjoy the latest technologies, as well as critical fixes, compliance, and regular patches.
Beyond Premier Support, though, is Oracle’s Advanced Customer Support (ACS) offering and it’s here that the vendor really spoils its customers.
In addition to all the benefits an organisation can enjoy with Premier Support, ACS will see a customer treated to personalised and proactive support from a dedicated team of Oracle Engineers. This team will be headed up by a Technical Account Manager (TAM) who will be the go-to contact.
The engineers assigned to provide advanced support services are tasked with adopting a proactive and preventative approach, conducting diagnostics, and using monitoring tools to identify and resolve issues promptly.
Customers can also expect to receive regular reports and, should any issues arise, their allocated TAM will do a considerable portion of the heavy lifting, taking the strain out of the experience for the organisation’s own internal teams.
Perhaps the attractive feature when considering ACS is that service requests and support tickets will be given priority status, meaning resolutions and fixes will be sought and applied much more rapidly than with Premier Support.
We hear time and time again about how Oracle customers are left to their own devices (quite literally) when critical fixes are needed, so here we can see how the vendor is trying to prove its worth and assure organisations that its support services are invaluable.
Unsurprisingly, though, such a premium service comes at a premium rate, with customers paying a considerable amount in additional fees.
So, while you might finally be receiving the support you had expected when you first engaged Oracle, the expense of this support relationship just keeps growing.
All you need is… third-party support
It’s hardly surprising that Oracle is trying make customers fall back in love with vendor support. It is their lifeline, after all.
These three moves by the vendor have positioned it to overcome some of the major dealbreakers in its customer relationships.
But each and every olive branch comes with its own set of caveats, catches, and motives.
With third-party support, however, we can offer you cost savings, freedom from forced upgrades, and a customer-centric service in one offering. AND, we can do all this while upholding the standards and expectations that our customers have.
You see, we offer regular check-in meetings (monthly or quarterly – it’s up to you!) and support calls with your Account Manager, as well as real-time reporting, as part of our transparent approach and standard service.
At Support Revolution, we work to two SLAs – one for response times, and the other for resolutions – so your support tickets won’t be left on read, and you’ll be well cared for by our expert team.
We don’t have desupport deadlines, nor do we have tiered support services. We provide the same dedicated and proactive service to all our customers.
It’s not conditional love with us. We don’t have an upgrade cycle or innovation agenda to push, so you won’t catch us pressuring you to adopt the latest technologies. Instead, we’ll support your current system until you fall out of love with it.
And, all the while, we’ll be helping you to save at least 50% on your annual support bill.
Support services are at the very heart of what we do, and we pride ourselves on prioritising our customers.
If you’re tired of playing games with Oracle and feeling like the vendor only fights for your best interests when you’re ready to leave, then maybe it’s time to consider your options.
Support Revolution could be your perfect match, so why not give us a call and let us woo you?