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Technology / Cloud

Oracle slammed for ‘brutish’ sales tactics

Oracle is facing criticism again for its ‘brutish’ sales tactics, which it is claimed shows disregard for its customers.

The company is being accused of putting profits above gaining the trust of its customers’ with the introduction of a new sales culture.

According to TmaxSoft and Streamwire, the company’s sales representatives have been issuing "breach notices" to inform customers that they are over-using their service and have 30 days to negotiate or stop using the Oracle software.

James Mills, Sales Director, TmaxSoft, said: "This puts pressure on organisations who think that they can’t move away because historically it has taken a long time to do so – this is now not the case – transition can be done in weeks." According to Mills this is nothing short of ‘brutish’.

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"This is a completely unacceptable manoeuvre from Oracle, through which customers are forced to pay for more services they likely neither want nor need. Our experience with companies’ databases has made us sensitive to the level of trust required between company and vendor – Oracle is completely disregarding this."

This is far from the first time that the company has received criticism for its sales tactics, with complaints back in 2002 being levelled at the company from research firm Gartner.

The firm accused Oracle of forcing its customers to choose the most expensive licensing option, attempting to pre-sell more licenses than customers need and forcing customers to pay more than is necessary for data sourced into its data warehouse from an Oracle database.

It seems that 13 years on and nothing has really changed for the company.

Although Anne Stokes, CEO of Streamwire, said: ""This tactic is a relatively new development from Oracle and could well be driven by some very poor showings in earnings. The disappointing performance in the cloud arena may well be driving the agenda.

"No organisation should ever consider putting sales above service. This will drive a wedge between themselves and their customers."

While it may seem new, it may only be new to software sales, with the 2002 criticism from Gartner being identified as possibly a way of lifting falling database sales revenue, which at the time had been falling at a rate of 1% to 17% year-over-year for the past four quarters.

Now, as the company sees its software sales start to struggle, it appears that it is applying similar aggressive tactics to remedy this slide.

Mills, said: "The problem is, as Oracle has long dominated the enterprise software market, customers have had little room for manoeuvre on licensing. Clear licensing structures are really important for organisations as it prevents them from paying for redundant services – it’s something that Oracle needs to change.

"Whether it will, I don’t know; Oracle’s Licence Management Service (the department that helps with license auditing) has a direct relationship with sales. CIOs normally end up over licensing themselves to avoid an under licensed situation in a software audit – something which can cost millions of pounds."

As Oracle faces stiff competition from other software vendors, an aggressive approach that could result in customers leaving may not be the best strategy.

The company recently finished rock bottom in polls comparing it to its competitors in areas such as ease to work with, easiest licensing policies and ease of understanding when it comes to usage and spend stats.

Perhaps it is time for the company to take a friendlier approach to its customers.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.