POST OF THE DAY
Oracle Corporation
I Should Be An Analyst

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By rshunter2
November 1, 2001

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Quoting from / replying to HedonistiX
...(2) I have been reading a lot lately about ...Oracle has a reputation for being a thorny partner to work with...Oracle (read: LE) being arrogant...pissing off their customers, etc...

LE has been the CEO since he founded ORCL. And we have seen the performance of ORCL stock since going public to today. If LE is such an arrogant jerk, pissing off ORCL's clients, etc. how could ORCL be so successful of a company (and stock)? (probably great products? I think RSHunter will be more than willing to share his insights of this department)
...
*-----

Well I guess I do have a few things to say.

Oracle is a bunch of actual live people like in any other company; they did not come out of a standardized mold, except perhaps EDS (just kidding).

Arrogance? Arrogance where? At the corporate level? At the level where customers have contact with the company, like sales or support or education?

In nearly 16 years (!) or so working with Oracle, as a customer / specifier / Architect / DBA / manager, I have to really think how that word applies.

Oracle's pricing and licensing policies are out of whack and are driving customers to other options in droves; that has been increasing for years. On projects I've been on, I've used the force of my personality and the weight of my experience to have Oracle (and other products that are tried and true) to be chosen, even when their prices were far above the so-called competition. Some kid with an Oracle Masters and a couple years experience would have been eaten alive in many of those situations I've been in.

So if you want to say Oracle pricing and licensing represents a certain arrogance, I would agree. And it must be revised with more than a touch of realism. The Dot.bombs are not throwing bales of money at Oracle or Sun or EMC or Cisco any more; often in my observations their decisions were based on getting to the top of whatever mountain first.

Regardless of whether anyone checked their compass to see if they were on the right mountain.

But that isn't happening anymore and people have returned to fiscal reality with a vengeance, and so Oracle has a doubly tough row to hoe.

It also takes the right people to deal with Oracle on the other side of the table. In Virginia, at one point Oracle announced to us that they were going to be calculating our licensing for Oracle/Apps based on the number of employees at the factory, not on simultaneous users, or even named users (ridiculous licensing strategy that should be dumped).

To which I said, backed by the IT staff, "I expect this to be the last time to hear this nonsense; price by workstation/seat, price by high watermark users, but don't DARE insult us with saying that we're paying Oracle licensing fees for the 50 people that work the cafeteria or the 20 janitorial folks or anyone except people who use the system.

AND YOU CAN GO RIGHT BACK TO CALIFORNIA AND TELL THEM I SAID SO, AND WE SAID SO, AND IF YOU WANT TO GET LARRY ELLISON ON THE PHONE, WE'LL BE HAPPY TO HAVE A CONFERENCE CALL WITH HIM, WHEREIN I WILL EXPLAIN WHY MY NEXT CALL WILL BE TO THE CFO AND CIO OF OUR COMPANY, EXPLAINING WHY WE ARE BEGINNING PLANS TO DROP ORACLE for INEXCUSABLY PREDATORY PRICING, and as a result may suffer direct and consequential damages due to our inability to properly comply with due diligence for the corporate reorganization; if we are delayed by this sudden notion of yours, Corporate Legal, the auditors at C&L, and possibly SEC investigators may also have questions. Because I will not sit still for this at the 11th hour nor will anyone else on this side of the table."

<That was one of my 'moments'. I hate those.>

Gosh that still makes me angry.

Pricing on 2600+ employees versus perhaps 500 or less users is something I suppose I find arrogant, if people were looking for an example; not that the platform was cheap even for that level.

This happened. It was silly and ridiculous, and involved one of Oracle's largest customers, at a time they should have been doing everything within legal and moral bounds to keep our business and that of our allied business units.

Rational pricing that is competitive with the marketplace is something that a bucket of ice water ought to be thrown upon the higher ups at Oracle. Reducing the incredible marketing overhead as a percentage of revenue has to be done.

After 5 or so years I don't think I have cost Oracle Corporation a dime in marketing costs, except if they wanted to buy me dinner, or if I invited some Oracle people to speak at a Company Oracle UG meeting; I just order what I want, unless it's a complex beta test / custom thing; oh , well if you include Oracle Magazine and the web sites and such I imagine it totals up to more.

Now, after 15 years, Oracle ought to be paying me to sell it.

Arrogance?

Perhaps some might interpret LE's hyperenthusiasm as such, but I've not had a business meeting with him. Seeing him do one of his public performances I can understand why some people might take him that way, I don't know how he conducts himself in a conference room type setting.

Arrogance?

Don't dare use that word in my presence in the same sentence that talks about Ken Jacobs; I admire him tremendously and wonder sometimes whether he might be a Taurus, an earth sign (not that I believe in that stuff, unless Oracle Astrology for 9i is released ( :) ). The VPs I had one-on-ones on with were all attentive and even sometimes took my/our suggestions.

*WARNING* --- The following is coming from a non-financial analyst and from someone who holds no stock or other securities related to Oracle.*

Summary:

1) Drop the prices, Mr. Ellison, before IBM buries you on the high end and MySQL and other quasi-supported kinda sorta products grab your low-end busines; and SQL Server needs to be kept an eye on.

2) Strongly encourage Scott McNealy to do the same for Sun platforms and their licensing.

3) Work on generally bolstering the UNIX community and its vendors and encouraging them to rethink hardware and software pricing, as Oracle performs best there.

4) Either Oracle works on NT or it doesn't. Make up your mind. Between the RDBMS, OEM, Designer, and Developer, I've had to do drastic surgery on towers running NT for upgrades, installs, deinstalls and reinstalls that "orainst" doesn't clean up. I'd personally never use the RDBMS on an NT platform with limited exceptions, more due to NT than Oracle. But if Oracle is serious about this market, we need better tools to manage Oracle's products, and Microsoft Windows NT's / 2000's interaction with them. Clearly Microsoft could care less than to help.

BUT I AM SICK of EDITING the REGISTRY!

5) Oracle should more publicly leverage its software distribution policy and practice compared with Microsoft's upcoming Draconian licensing and installation practices, and use that to encourage more developers, DBA's and others to learn Oracle.

6) The "We can do it better and faster" marketing campaign should be widened and broadened (your money back or a million dollars or whatever), perhaps into something more reasonable that lower-end users can take advantage of, and not limited to the small number of combinations of hardware/software DBMS and app suites that were in those ads. Or do away with it; onsite support is costly.

7) A limited-user Oracle RDBMS (but fully functional, with all modules) for Windows NT / 2000 along with single-user versions of Designer and Developer and rich tutorial materials should be concocted and sold as an alternative to Microsoft Access. (But make sure SQL*NET and ODBC work perfectly, so at home users can mix and match, as we did early on in developing our platforms.)

MS Access as a design/prototype tool, and implementation of the DBMS side in Oracle has been a roaring success everywhere we've tried it.

8) Integrate a bridge to/from ERWIN and a few of the other CASE tools into Designer and make it simple to use.

9) Oracle 11i ? If it is harder to implement than SAP and SEIBEL, why?
And if so, fix it.

9a) Don't make another Oracle Apps release until 11i "delights the customer".


Well, that's all from the mountain/country bumpkin out here in Montana. Just remember "I do a lot of the specifyin'".

RSH.
3)

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