Software License Reviews – Are you ready?

by Kenny Wilson, Group Commercial Director

With Oracle’s Q3 FY13 nearly done and dusted, and its full year point only a few months away, it’s not uncommon to see Oracle reaching out to its client base with requests for license reviews. This can often provide a useful insight into this industry giant’s performance going into Q4 – however more compelling, usually prompts considerable consternation and discomfort in the marketplace, even more so with those particular organisations under the spotlight.

Even if you believe you have a fully managed and controlled license estate, this type of vendor communication can set the heart racing of even the most experienced IT professionals. On the flip side, if you have always struggled as an organisation to maintain your software asset management process, then a request for a license review can cause untold stress, disruption and expense.

So, ask yourself – is your organisation ready for an Oracle license review? Would you know where to start? Where would you go to find the information the vendor is looking for and do you fully understand the implications of being over or, more worrying, under licensed.

In our day-to-day working with large enterprise organisations with expansive Oracle estates, we have witnessed the chaos a request for a vendor audit can cause. Our deep understanding of Oracle and its licensing complexities, including Unlimited License Agreements, has enabled us to assist with the entire process and ensure the best possible outcome for all parties. Our publication, ‘9 Critical Steps in Planning an Oracle Software License Review’ which is based upon many years of working with clients with complex licensing arrangements, will offer you an insight into how to prepare for a license audit and the first steps to take should you receive a request from the vendor.

As experts in Oracle licensing, optimisation and Oracle Software Asset Management, our Rocela Control™ service can also help you manage your Oracle estate on-going, thus minimising the stress and inconvenience of a future vendor audit and ensuring value for money in your software investment.

So, if you are under threat of an Oracle license audit and require independent Oracle advice, read our publication and contact us for assistance.

What is the perfect IT Support Team?

By Steve Graham, Senior Principal Consultant

Rocela OLet’s imagine for a moment it’s a perfect world and in that perfect world you have a large team of fully trained Oracle specialists lovingly managing the day to day health of your IT infrastructure, all day, all night, all year round.  They never take holidays, are never ill, have the capability to cope with any problem thrown at them and seem very happy in their work environment.

However we all know that it’s not a perfect world and that the scenario above is not possible, without costing a small fortune.  Staff costs for a start would be astronomical, never mind all those expensive specialist training courses!  Keeping your whole team up to date on all the changes, particularly within the Oracle environment would cost an arm and a leg.  And what if someone from the team leaves?  How much will it cost you to find a new team member and then train them to the required level of expertise?

Cost issues aside, what about managing workload coverage – if half of your team is away on one of those expensive training courses again, who is going to resolve that pesky Oracle performance issue which is causing untold user frustration?  Let’s also not forget that from time to time, we all need a holiday or have to take personal or sick leave – what do you do if you find yourself completely under resourced due to a bout of flu during a major IT project?

So, let’s consider the alternative.  IT Managers understand these issues and plan accordingly by outsourcing parts (or all) of their IT support.  An organisation may be content to maintain their core team of IT support personnel, but when it comes to the really complex Oracle issues that can stretch the capabilities of any in-house team, or providing extra support during a project, specialist consultancies such as Rocela can provide the reassurance of expert support.

One such area is health check services, particularly within the Oracle environment.  There are many scenario’s that require specialist Oracle assistance from time to time: validating 3rd party project plans, consulting on how to get more from your Oracle applications, recommendations on Oracle patch levels & versions, and diagnosing and resolving unresponsiveness within your Oracle systems, are just a few.

So, the answer to the question “What is the perfect IT support team” is a healthy combination of your own core IT team supplemented by the expertise of an outside Oracle consultancy, and if your organisation relies heavily on Oracle, then the Oracle experts are Rocela.

Feel free to ask any questions on this topic – I would be happy to answer.

Rocela values its values!

From before Rocela was born (circa 2001), fundamental values have been key to its evolution. In fact, the real trigger for Rocela was the jarring of cultures between Oracle and its largest clients and the tension that this created – a tension that Rocela would go on to soothe.

Although not realizing it at the time Rocela’s founders (Kenny Wilson and Martin Mutch) shared core personal values and attached significance to them in the boundary between personal and business lives. It is therefore no surprise that Rocela has always had a strong moral and cultural identity, and its core values have always been evident through behaviours, even when they were not specifically a focal point for development.

Over the past few years as we have grown, we have realised that scaling ‘appropriate’ behaviours and the Company culture would benefit from clarity of our values. After a full company workshop on values early 2011, we encouraged a staff workgroup to explore and define those values that our staff felt to be true of us, valued by us and important to mature and live by.

This workgroup proposed a set of core values that was fully recognised by founders and senior managers and was approved without iteration – a full description of what these values mean can be downloaded from here. Our values are:

• Customer Focus
• Expertise
• Integrity
• Professionalism
• Passion

Since then, core values have been promoted visibly, and top down are used increasingly as a guide and input to any daily decision including hiring, customer situations, investment and withdrawal, and appraisals through our performance management methodology.

So now what? It’s all very well having the values on mugs and posters – how do we actually make them come to life? A question tackled by our CEO Martin Mutch in December last year who formed the ‘next generation’ values workgroup – a group of colleagues whose task it was to devise and propose a programme for ‘Employee Values Recognition’ for our Company meeting in February 2012.

This workgroup approached all staff to ask for stories that would exemplify the company values – not so much ‘awards’ but recognition of staff ‘living the values’. The response was tremendous – over 150 separate recognition stories from all around the business.

And so began the challenging task of narrowing this considerable list down to a manageable and representative record of individuals covering all 5 values. The entire exercise was no mean feat – the values workgroup worked a miracle in getting everything in place for the Company meeting and the individuals recognised were truly humbled as a result.

We will continue to focus on our values throughout 2012 – in the way that we work, make decisions and recognise the exemplary efforts of our co-workers.

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