Oracle LMS services offering – does it really come in different flavors?
As a fully independent software license management knowledge firm supporting many end users to make best use of enterprise software and SaaS solutions from Oracle Corporation, we often receive questions about the different services provided by Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) team. This article aims to bring more clarity on what the different LMS services actually entail.
Oracle LMS publishes a number of different services offerings which are defined on its website. These services include:
The Advisory services are designed to provide end users with answers to specific licensing questions or licensing scenarios they may be confronted with. Think for example of a new Disaster Recovery environment setup for which you would like to have guidance with regards to the required number of licenses. Or think about a new VMware environment that you may want to deploy in your datacenter, for which you are unsure how it needs to be licensed.
Advisory services typically consist of a short written or verbal confirmation on your license requirements and never result in a formal compliance statement from Oracle. Therefore, the advisory services may definitely be useful to validate a specific licensing scenario that you have questions about. But keep in mind that a specific licensing question around changes in your Oracle environments (e.g. DR, VMware), might trigger some action from Oracle.
True Up services = Voluntary audit
The True Up services are voluntary engagements in which a representative from Oracle LMS works with your organization to validate your entitlements, to conduct a technical measurement of your deployed Oracle programs and to determine your compliance position. In essence it is not different from an audit, but it’s performed on a voluntarily basis.
Oracle’s Software Investment Advisory (SIA) team positions the True Up services more and more towards its end users, to support them in managing their license compliance position.A good initiative, you might say. So, is there a catch? Indeed, there is. In case you do not collaborate during a True Up, usually an official audit is announced rather quickly. If compliance issues are identified during a True Up, a commercial resolution is still required to take place within 30 days.
The Oracle LMS organization does not determine the commercial resolution for your compliance issue. The final amount you are going to pay is determined by your Oracle account representative.
Audit services = Official audit
Although the word ‘service’ might suggest otherwise, this is an official audit initiated by Oracle. The Audit services are non-voluntary engagements triggered by Oracle invoking its audit right. During such an audit, a representative from Oracle LMS works with your organization to validate your entitlements, to conduct a technical measurement of your deployed Oracle programs and to determine your compliance position.
If compliance issues are identified during an audit service, a commercial resolution is required to take place within 30 days, as per your contractual agreements. The Oracle LMS organization does not determine the commercial resolution for your compliance issue. The final amount that you are going to pay is determined by your Oracle account representative.
License contract certification services = Official audit
Oracle’s License contract certification services are specific services designed for Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) and Unlimited License Agreements (ULAs):
Enterprise License Agreements
This type of service is only applicable to end users who, for their Oracle application programs (e.g. PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Retail, E-Business Suite), entered into an agreement in which the number of licenses required depends on the size of the business (e.g. Enterprise Employees, $M Enterprise Revenue, $M Enterprise Revenue Under Management, $M Freight Under Management, $M in Managed Assets etc.). These end users may recognize the fact that they have contractually agreed to report on an annual basis (typically 90 days before the anniversary date of the agreement), their then current enterprise numbers.
This service is initiated by Oracle’s License Management Services team by pro-actively reaching out to customers with an Enterprise License Agreement and request them to report their enterprise numbers. These numbers are then validated against the numbers in your (publicly available) annual report, to determine if any discrepancies can be identified between the reported numbers and those included in your annual report.
Unlimited License Agreements
This type of service is only applicable to end users that entered an Unlimited License Agreement. These end users may recognize the fact that they have contractually agreed that, at the end of the Unlimited Deployment Period, they are required to count and certify their then current deployment of the Oracle programs. This service is initiated by Oracle’s License Management Services team, by pro-actively reaching out to customers with an Unlimited License Agreement, typically 90 days before the ULA expires. During this service you are provided with Oracle’s LMS Collection tool, to collect all the deployment and usage data within your infrastructure.
This also includes the measurement of any Oracle programs which may not be part of your ULA. At the end of this engagement, you will receive an overview of the actual number of licenses deployed (which can be certified), including an overview of all the Oracle programs which are found to be deployed without having a license. The number of certified licenses as well as the identified non-compliance issues are shared with your Oracle account manager to determine a commercial solution.
Oracle LMS defined several services offerings to fulfill the needs of different customers. Oracle’s True Up services, Audit services and License contract certification services do all result in a compliance position from Oracle. The aim of Advisory services is not to initiate an audit, although some questions might lead Oracle to look into your specific licensing situation which in turn might result in an audit. The reality is that 95% of the end users that are being audited are found to be non-compliant. Oracle LMS cannot determine how a possible compliance issue will be commercially resolved.
You should at all times keep in mind that the terms and conditions agreed in your contract specify what you are and what you aren’t allowed to do; a statement from Oracle’s License Management Services team is never contractually binding. After all, they are not an authorized representative from Oracle Corporation and as such cannot amend your agreement; this requires the involvement of Oracle’s legal and/or contracting department(s).
If and when you have a specific Oracle licensing concern, we always recommend you engage with an expert licensing firm to have a clear view on your situation first, before engaging with Oracle. In case of any doubts around a specific licensing scenario, your Oracle licensing expert firm can obtain the necessary insight and information from Oracle on your behalf.
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.