Would you know an Oracle audit when you see one? An Oracle audit often begins under a less threatening guise than through a formal audit letter. When it comes to working with Oracle, customers should be aware that appearances can be deceiving.
Sometimes, this deception appears in the guise of Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS), which is the group within Oracle that is tasked with driving compliance revenue through both formal software audits and less clearly defined ‘advisory’ engagements. These advisory exercises generally come about when a customer seeks assistance from the LMS group to confirm or advise on appropriate licensing for the customer’s Oracle portfolio.
The Dangers of Working with Oracle LMS
Customers may be altogether unclear on what Oracle programs they are using and request guidance from Oracle to help them assess their Oracle footprint. Such advisory engagements are usually brokered by an Oracle sales rep, and are positioned as a value-add service. But there are a few things customers should be aware of before engaging voluntarily with LMS.
First, if during the course of an advisory service Oracle discovers a license shortfall, by mandate LMS must ensure the issue is resolved through a license purchase. In other words, LMS will not treat compliance issues any differently than they would for a formal audit, regardless of the spirit in which the advisory was begun.
Second, LMS has developed various measurement scripts and tools that collect usage data for Oracle programs, and will usually provide these tools to customers as part of the advisory. From Oracle’s perspective, the output from these scripts serves as hard evidence of what programs and features are used by the customer, and if this data reveals unlicensed Oracle software, LMS will have a strong foothold by which to require additional licenses and support. In other words, what begins as a good-faith effort to understand Oracle licensing can result in unplanned license and support fees.
The crucial takeaway is that Oracle LMS is inflexible with regards to compliance findings, whether they’re the result of a formal audit or sales-led advisory service. Customers should keep this in mind before inviting LMS in the door.
Often, a “friendly” LMS advisory engagement feels like a full-blown audit, but just when the customer feels that they have finished this friendly engagement, Oracle LMS notifies them of a formal audit.
Usually this happens when the customer works with their Oracle sales rep to establish a baseline understanding of their Oracle footprint in advance of a planned license purchase. In this case, the customer may misunderstand this type of activity to be an audit, and may be frustrated and unprepared for an actual audit. Customers should remember that LMS is the only entity within Oracle that can perform a formal audit that is recognized by Oracle as such. If what appeared to be an audit did not include LMS, then rest assured it was not considered an audit from Oracle’s perspective and a formal audit may still be imminent.
A Better Option – Leveraging an Independent Third Party
SoftwareONE can help Oracle customers understand Oracle licensing, avoid compliance risk, and lower costs through a number of Software Asset Management (SAM) services and, unlike Oracle LMS, will serve as the customer’s advocate in all respects. To learn more about how you can maximize your Oracle investment, click on the banner below to schedule an appointment with a SoftwareONE Licensing Specialist.