Trident Contract Management Blog


Working with the Big O – Centralize Your Contracts and License Data

Posted on by Brett Armstrong

mp900341902.jpegOracle is often portrayed as the big bully on the block. Difficult to work with, your contacts never remain the same, there are hidden layers of “approvers” for any deal negotiation with your sales representative, and their pricing model is complex and nontransparent. But, don’t forget that Oracle provides powerful tools in terms of database, ERP, and other applications and they are acquiring new companies with strong technology all the time (there is a reason why your company has invested significant resources into Oracle). Oracle is not going away so it is best to prepare to work with them for many years to come.

Here are the steps to begin managing your Oracle licensing compliance and managing your Oracle relationship:

1. Identify all the Oracle licenses your organization owns.  Gather all purchased license history. Specifically, collect all original order documents and signed agreements with Oracle. Go to your file cabinets, check your shared drives, and try to find someone at Oracle to help you get some of the documents you are missing. It has been our experience that Oracle will often find some (but rarely all) the pertinent documents.  (Remember it is your responsibility not Oracle’s to keep track of your order documents and agreements.)

Going forward, your organization should capture all the necessary the information at the time of purchase and make it readily available to your IT staff and the team you are putting together to work with Oracle.

2. Create a purchasing spreadsheet; or better yet, start populating this information into a central repository to enhance the active license management of your Oracle environment.

Centralizing this information provides several benefits, including:
a. A single source of license information, contracts, order documents, SLAs, and related purchase orders;
b. A reduction of lost licenses that are bought but not in production;
c. The ability to identify and deploy old licenses at locations or for functions that do not require the latest version;
d. Purchase updates for existing licenses rather than purchasing a new full license; and
e. Allow you to create a pool of licenses that are owned but not deployed.

3. Identify the entitlements associated with these licenses. What are your rights and restrictions for each license? Do not assume that an email or conversation with the sales representative is correct or enforceable. Stated another way – never assume a license usage right.

4. Identify your current license inventory, including where and how it is deployed. Collect data that includes license usage, underlying hardware architecture and supported application(s) usage. Identify the usage metrics from the purchasing data collected earlier to determine the specific usage data to collect. For example, with Oracle Database you will need to work with the DBA personnel to determine the optimal way to identify these details. Measurement must be taken during a period of maximum usage (“high water mark”). The high water mark is not an average of the count taken during the measurement period, but rather the highest number of concurrent devices measured during the period. Measurements should be taken at peak usage levels to account for seasonal, or cyclical fluctuations.

5. Match your owned licenses (with identified entitlements) to your deployed count or inventory to confirm that each license in use is purchased and that its entitlements match its current and expected use. Are you using the licenses you bought? Are you using the licenses in the correct manner based on the entitlements?

6. Determine whether you are essentially in compliance right now. In other words, determine the adequacy of your owned licenses in use. (This step should be completed more than once a year.)

7. Set your short and long term goals and vision for your Oracle environment.

8. Determine if your existing license mix meets your needs for the foreseeable future by comparing expected usage against the usage metrics or the usage rights/restrictions set by Oracle.

With your desired outcomes identified and proper information at hand, you are ready to map out a successful strategy for working with Oracle.  Feel free to connect with Trident (tsteiner@ or 608-276-1909) if you need help figuring out where to start or help defining your options and achievable outcomes with Oracle.

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