The Dirty Tricks They Play: Oracle’s Matching Service Levels

SAP’s “Indirect Licences” Fiasco

Generally, in business, you expect a supplier to honour the terms of their contracts.

You might not be happy about the content of those contracts—you might even think they’re unreasonable—but you do expect the supplier to stick to them.

But with the big ERP providers, there’s no such guarantee.

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

Today, we’re covering a sneaky tactic Oracle use to keep their support customers paying over the odds for support they don’t even need.

Is it Bending the Truth, or Lying? Does it Even Matter?

Oracle’s matching service levels policy has long been a source of discontent among customers. Here’s what Oracle’s official policy document says on the matter:

“All licenses in any given license set must be supported under the same technical support service level. […] You may not support a subset of licenses within a license set; the license set must be reduced by terminating any unsupported licenses.”

Source: Oracle Software Technical Support Policies

In other words, if you have licences for both Oracle Database Enterprise Edition and a related product such as Partitioning, both products must have the same level of support from Oracle. For example, both products could be in full support, extended support — or no support at all.

Oracle have been using their matching service levels policy to force customers into expensive support contracts that are only partially needed. Combine this with Oracle’s unwillingness to “take back” unneeded licences, and many customers are left paying for support contracts that go well beyond their actual needs.

And it gets worse. Many customers have reported being told by Oracle sales reps that they cannot terminate support on one contract if they want to continue being supported for any Oracle software at all. Their justification? Oracle’s matching service levels policy.

This is a clear misrepresentation of Oracle’s own policy. The matching service levels policy only applies to licences in the same product family. It does not mean customers must maintain the same level of support across all Oracle products.

This is one of many confusion tactics Oracle use to keep customers locked into expensive support contracts — even when they aren’t needed.

What Can You Do About It?

First, make sure you fully understand the terms of your support contract. Oracle sales reps may try to confuse you, but ultimately the terms of your contract are written in black and white.

Second, if you’re told something over the phone that doesn’t sound right, ask for it in writing. If what you’ve been told doesn’t match what’s written in your support contract, Oracle naturally won’t be able to comply, and you’ll know where you really stand.

Don’t Stand for Dirty Tricks

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

In the report, we cover:

  • How SAP use the promise of new features to entice customers to remain in their official support programme… but don’t quite deliver where it counts.
  • Why Oracle were literally sued by their own investors for making “false and misleading statements” and using “coercive sales tactics” (yes, those are direct quotes from the lawsuit…)
  • What customers can do to protect their interests against the barrage of dirty tricks employed by Oracle and SAP—including how to save at least 50% on annual support contracts while giving a higher level of service.

And much more.