LMS vs SIA – What’s the difference?
Over the last period of time, many end users reached out to us with questions about Oracle Software Investment Advisory (SIA), Oracle’s new team. Is this the new name of the Oracle License Management Services (LMS) organization that has been performing audits on behalf of Oracle? Is this a different group? Can they be trusted? Since we received these and other questions about SIA, we thought it would be helpful to explain what the Software Investment Advisory group is all about.
Global Licensing and Advisory Services (GLAS) organization
At the start of Oracle’s fiscal year, the former Global License Management Services (LMS) organization became GLAS: Global Licensing and Advisory Services. This group is headed up by Senior Vice President Jonathan Koop and is divided in four different teams:
- LMS Field – The local teams that continue to perform audits on Oracle’s behalf to validate if your deployment and use of Oracle programs is in line with your existing license entitlements.
- LMS Partners – The team that works with selected partners (e.g. SevenEights) and performs audits on Oracle’s behalf to validate if your deployment and use of Oracle programs is in line with your existing license entitlements. You should be aware that these partners are not paid by Oracle to perform an “independent” audit but are Oracle resellers. Their interest is in selling Oracle licenses and/or cloud, as that is how they are compensated for the audit.
- LMS Operations – The remote team that performs the actual entitlements and usage analysis for the LMS Field teams, operating from Romania and India.
- Software Investment Advisory – The new local team that has the objective to work with you to maximize the efficiency, value, and impact of your Oracle environment.
In order to maximize the efficiency and value of your Oracle investments, the SIA team took over a number of (existing LMS) services to provide you with insights into your software investments.
This team focuses on Oracle’s so-called “Key and Large Accounts” and are able to deliver:
- License entitlement services to understand what specific rights have (or haven’t) been granted
- License deployment analytic services to explain you what Oracle knows related to which software programs you are using and how you can obtain more value from them. SIA can, for example, provide insight in the programs for which your organization raised support tickets. They can also provide benchmarks and share with you what other programs and/or cloud offerings are being used by other customers in the same industry. Furthermore, they can tell you how your Oracle footprint may bring more value to your business, e.g. by moving to the Oracle cloud or by re-platforming your existing hardware to Oracle’s Engineered Systems.
Due to the licensing knowledge, analytical and communication skills required to deliver these services, many former LMS Field employees transitioned to the SIA team.
The SIA team has the objective to mainly support Oracles Key and Large Accounts. The SIA team wants to pro-actively work with these accounts and aims to act as the “pre-sales” for licensing questions. Although the SIA team is part of the GLAS organization, it is not enabled to perform compliance measurements. This task remains with the LMS Field and LMS Partner organization.
Obviously, it is Oracle’s objective to sell more of its Cloud Services towards the Key and Large Accounts and as such most of their activities will be focused on supporting your Oracle Sales representatives in explaining topics like:
- How your spend of another cloud relates to Oracle’s Cloud offering, etc.
Is this a good or a bad thing?
In order to judge if the introduction of the SIA team is a positive development, you should look at it from different perspectives.
The introduction of SIA as a separate team of licensing experts is a good thing, as it helps increase the knowledge level of the Oracle sales organization. Over the last 15 years we have seen many sales representatives not having a clear understanding of the licensing rules, definitions and contractual terms applied by Oracle. Having licensing experts at the table when negotiating a new contract will therefore help the Oracle sales representatives.
End users should make sure that they have a similar knowledge level as well (e.g. by hiring an external expert) when they start negotiations for a new contract with Oracle. Not having this knowledge at the negotiation table could lead to not signing the best deal you could get.
License entitlement services
The fact that the SIA team can provide an overview of your license entitlements can be very helpful. Especially for large end user organizations that continuously struggle with keeping track of the hundreds of different ordering documents, license agreements and support renewals that are entered into by the (local) legal entities.
The license entitlement reports provided by the SIA team are based on the entitlement information that is registered into Oracle’s systems. We have seen many cases in which the information included into Oracle’s systems is however incomplete and inaccurate. Think for example about (former) legal entities that were or are part of your organization and bought licenses, but for which a proper license assignment was never completed. Or think about licenses with a “Non-Standard User” metric or “Limited Use” or ‘Restricted Use” as license level. In these cases you still need to validate your original ordering documents yourself to understand what specific limitation or restriction has been applied.
It is definitely helpful to have a team within Oracle that is able to provide you with an inventory report of all the licenses they have in their administration, but this does not mean that you do not need to setup and maintain a complete and accurate license entitlement administration yourself. In addition, don’t forget that it is rather simple to identify possible license compliance risks from your entitlement information. The SIA team would typically only provide you with a license entitlement report if they have a meeting with you in which they will point out the issues they see. Examples of such issues can be that you did not buy licenses for the last 3 years but may have changed your hardware which increases your risk of non-compliance, or you bought Tuning Pack licenses without Diagnostics Pack licenses, which is not allowed.
Deployment analytic services
The SIA team has access to the support tickets your organization logs through Oracle Support and will try to understand as much as possible your business (e.g. by checking your website for news – mergers and acquisition; or checking your annual reports). In this way, SIA will gather as much information as possible with regards to the deployment of your Oracle software programs. The objective of this is to support the Oracle sales organization as a pre-sales team, to point out risks and to achieve their commercial goals.
It is true that having all the facts on the table is a smart thing to do from an Oracle perspective (knowledge is power), but end users are strongly advised to make sure that they have all their entitlement and deployment facts clear themselves as well. Not having a clear view of your current entitlements and deployments as well as future deployment plans can only result in one thing: you go to the negotiation table unprepared, which makes it impossible to get the most out of the negotiations when you are confronted with a well-prepared team on the opposite side of the table.
Conclusion and recommendations
Many end users are suspicious of the SIA team, because of the large amount of former LMS individuals that are part it. Oracle’s effort to rebrand the name to GLAS and to incorporate this “pre-sales’ team is mainly focused on equipping and enabling the Oracle sales organization with an increased knowledge level at the negotiation table. Although the LMS and SIA teams are separate and have ‘Chinese walls’ between them as they say, it is all part of the GLAS team, and it’s all part of Oracle Corporation; a commercial quarterly driven software publisher.
What will happen if and when you engage with the SIA team? It will identify risks and try to close a commercial deal together with Oracle sales. Of course, they will have the obligation to report this internally towards their LMS colleagues. The LMS team will be only too happy to start an audit as they cannot get a better qualified audit lead than from their SIA colleagues.
Instead of being afraid, we recommend all Oracle end users to start managing their Oracle licenses and deployments pro-actively themselves. We know this can be hard, but there are fully independent SAM service companies that are highly specialized and successful in doing this for many end users across the globe. And we’re one of them. Don’t be a “sitting duck” that waits to see what happens, but take action right now.
By implementing an Oracle Managed Service from B-lay you will
- have a complete and accurate understanding of your Oracle entitlements
- have a complete and accurate understanding of your Oracle deployments
- have a clear understanding of the licensing implications of your future plans with regards to the deployment of Oracle software (e.g. transition to the cloud)
- have the same (or even higher) knowledge level than your counter parts at the negotiation table, enabling you to achieve the best possible deal
- make sure that any compliance risks or issues are known to you before Oracle is aware of them, giving you time to mitigate or remediate
- achieve the cost savings you want to achieve, e.g. by terminating support maintenance fees for shelfware licenses, by getting rid of your yearly support indexations without having to do another unnecessary (Cloud) deal to achieve cost savings
Richard is one of the managing partners at B-lay. He started to work in the license management industry in 2004 and worked for almost 10 years at Oracle as regional director of compliance. He uses his knowledge of enterprise software vendors (such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft) to educate, equip and enable software end users in their challenges regarding proper software license management. Richard holds a master’s degree in IT, from University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.