Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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1/27/2010
05:22 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Oracle Bringing Its Support Fee Philosophy To Sun

There's been a lot of debate about business software maintenance and support fees, with SAP this year offering a two-tiered support fee. Oracle at its Oracle-Sun integration presentation made it clear that it very much likes having one fee level, and that it'll move Sun that direction as well.

There's been a lot of debate about business software maintenance and support fees, with SAP this year offering a two-tiered support fee. Oracle at its Oracle-Sun integration presentation made it clear that it very much likes having one fee level, and that it'll move Sun that direction as well.Juergen Rottler, Oracle executive VP of customer services, noted that Oracle's philosophy is that every customer should have the same level of service--"one, best level of service." Said Rottler: "You should expect something very similar for the Sun customer base." Rottler described Sun's support system as overly complicated, with many levels of support and different support offerings for each product, hardware and software. Rottler summed it up as part of how Oracle will "simplify how you purchase" support. Having one level of support also means that customers can't opt to pay less and get less service, the way a tiered approach would; for Oracle enterprise software, the typical fee is 22% the license fee each year.

Rottler made the case that, with software and hardware support under one company, Oracle will be able to offer better service, and that it will be able to leverage remote monitoring and support more, and offer more pro-active support offerings using information about a customer's complete configurations. "If you give us the information, we'll match it against a tremendous amount of best practices and knowledge we have in our environment," he said.

Oracle sees a growth opportunity in pumping up Sun's support sales. "We think support needs to be a compelling part of each system sell," Rottler said. For those companies buying Sun support from third-party suppliers, Rottler said his job is to get them to "come back home," and to get their products "back onto the roadmap." For third-party providers who support Sun along with that of other hardware providers, Rottler said, "We're coming."

Rottler called a customer on stage, SAIC CIO Charles Beard, who noted that this idea of a preventive support model would be a big change, which he's interested in exploring: "That's a very different dynamic than we have with Oracle today."

Oracle's software business is driven by the maintenance fee model. Some CIOs want tiered support, but Oracle has showed no interest, even as SAP gave some ground on that this year. Can Oracle not only hold the line on its one-price software fee, but expand that model to Sun's products?

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