4 Oracle Master Agreement facts
Mitigate audit risk by understanding your Oracle contracts
If your business treats the Oracle Masters Agreement (OMA) (previously known as the Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA)) the same way most people treat service agreements, simply clicking “I agree” without thinking, you could quickly find your business in non-compliance. Oracle customers are considered non-compliant when they violate the OMA and, over the years, Guardian Eagle has seen many customers in this unenviable situation.
The OMA specifies under which terms and conditions you are allowed to make use of the Oracle programs. If you’ve previously signed the OLSA or need to sign the OMA for software purchases in the future, the following facts should help you maintain license compliance.
The OMA allows Oracle to audit your business
By signing the OMA, you agree to follow the Oracle Compliance Policy which grants Oracle permission to make sure you haven’t violated their terms. This means you could receive a letter at any time letting you know Oracle will be stopping by to check your systems. When you signed the OMA, you became responsible for ensuring you have properly licensed all of your Oracle software and are complying with their license rights (outlined in the license and support policies).
Your compliance rests on the honor system
Oracle designed their e-delivery site to make it easy to download their software. With the click of a button, anyone in your organization can download $50,000 of software for a free 30-day trial. This is mighty convenient but there is a catch. After the trial ends, you don’t have to return the software, there is no service interruption, and you are not reminded to purchase a license for the software. It’s all done on the honor system with the OMA dictating that you must either uninstall the software or pay for the license. There is no mechanism provided to ensure that you do so. This can leave your business in non-compliance and risk facing audit penalties.
It’s easy to let Oracle know you are out of compliance
As if giving Oracle the right to audit your business and making it easy to put your business in non-compliance weren’t enough, it’s very easy to alert Oracle to unlicensed software at your business. We are not saying that Oracle will track you down for a small software download where you or someone from your team forgot to license the software after 30 days, but it’s important for us to bring awareness to how accessible the downloads are to everyone. It’s easy for your IT team to collect unlicensed software over time without you being aware of them doing so.
Oracle can track software downloads and they also know who paid for the software. Examining the difference between these figures is pretty easy on their end even if it is hard to do on your end. Oracle’s attention is going to be drawn to your business’ compliance status in the following scenarios.
A common practice is for a software user to call Oracle for support. When this happens, the customer is asked to produce a customer support identifier (CSI). If the customer doesn’t have one, it might mean that the customer is running unlicensed software. Similarly, a customer may call regarding a licensed environment and ask about a separate, unlicensed ecosystem.
Another way to tip Oracle off to having unlicensed Oracle software is engaging with an Oracle sales representative. A standard practice when purchasing products from Oracle involves a sales rep evaluating your current environment. It’s an easy task for the rep to find out what has been installed and to check it against what is licensed. The OMA doesn’t leave much recourse for a business that is out of compliance and paying back support or buying undiscounted licenses in a common outcome.
We are not recommending that you get better at hiding your unlicensed software. Quite the contrary, we are suggesting that you can’t. We recommend you work with an Oracle partner to ensure you are following the terms of the OMA and are accurately keeping track of your software installs. Here are 5 more scenarios that can trigger an audit
Non-compliance can still arise even if your software is licensed.
You must understand your agreement with Oracle AND identify what software is actually downloaded. There are technical specifications and requirements that must be followed for certain products such as user minimums and server capacity maximums. Oracle has been known to update the OMA and the OLSA every couple months. The complexities of Oracle agreements makes it hard to be confident in your compliance status. If you are at all uncertain about what the OMA means for your business, we suggest you contact an Oracle partner. After completing numerous licensing assessments for customers who didn’t thoroughly understand Oracle’s terms and conditions, we found most would rather true-up and become compliant rather than sweep their usage under the rug. Working with an Oracle partner makes this process simple and enables you to be proactive by getting ahead of a situation that could be detrimental to your business if it leads to an audit.
Our assessments have identified downloaded software that management was not aware of. They are often surprised when we inform them that their employees have downloaded enterprise software that is not included in their current licenses. As part of the complete license assessment process, we do the analysis to figure out what you need and create a roadmap for getting you there. It is also common to find customers have purchased and are paying for support for more licenses than they actually need. This also helps us create a roadmap. In both cases, the goal is the same: to ensure that you compliant at the best possible price.
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