Being an experienced Oracle partner, we have seen our fair share of ULA (Unlimited Licence Agreement) Certification processes and helped many customers through it to arrive at the best possible value from their Oracle licensing. We have defined six success factors which all play a key part in this process, to help you take advantage of a best practice approach.
Maximise your knowledge
Regardless of your current ULA situation, you will want to be able to negotiate from an even platform. This is why you need to start by maximising your knowledge. The Oracle sales team you will be up against consists of professionals who do negotiations like yours on a daily basis, so you need to put yourself in a position that is as strong as possible.You may have access to very talented procurement professionals internally who can help you maximise the deal, but they may be fully aware of what terms Oracle are willing to discuss. The negotiation parametres for Oracle licences change every 3-5 years. As an example, not everyone would be aware that it is possible to include cloud credits as part of an adjusted position.If you want the best deal, you’d better make sure you know as much as you possibly can.
Bring in external expertise
As a complement, you should consider bringing in a third party to ensure you get the best deal possible. Now – of course, this is something you would expect us to say, being an Oracle partner ourselves! However, we do have several examples of where simply our presence in the room improved the position of the client. Not only did our specialist knowledge give the client a negotiation advantage, we were able to instantly push past the current deal and get a better offer on the table just through our presence.By joining forces with a partner, whose purpose is to save you money and ensure you get the best deal, you can keep the conversation fully transparent and honest. A good external partner will make sure that anything they do to support you can be justified against the final deal size.
Give yourself enough time
You will want to give yourself enough time to maximise your growth opportunity. The last thing you want is to run out of time and having to cut corners.6 months is the minimum timeframe we recommend, to ensure that you have enough time to get servers installed and running on production-ready systems, spin up virtualisation farms and identify projects to deploy against. Be aware that it may also take time to get the right team in place – such as partners and procurement teams. Connecting with Oracle as early as possible in the process will also be helpful to you.When it comes to numbers, aim to certify to the maximum on your platforms – also considering the support costs involved. You may also want to find ways to use VMware to your advantage. If you are deploying on VMware in a non-ULA environment, you will need to pay for the entire cluster – which you can use to your advantage. If you have to license everything on a cluster, then you can certify against the cluster as well.
Always try to maintain continuity from your original ULA negotiation. This will be key to a successful outcome and will avoid stops and starts.It’s important to keep all emails and negotiation information in one place for easy access to avoid any miscommunication or delays, particularly if your teams and roles have changed internally or are in transition. Keep a steady flow of information to all those involved in the process, for both transparency and progress.
When it comes to the potential for growth, be realistic from the outset. Don’t aim too high, as it could end up becoming very costly. Be aware that Oracle will look to push your expectations and encourage you to go for a higher growth target. However, even with high targets set, remember that you’ll be unlikely to hit every single target you set. Unexpected challenges and changes will always occur.If for whatever reason you don’t believe that your growth target is 100% realistic, then don’t enter into the ULA, as you simply will not derive value if you don’t hit that target.
Understand everyone’s motivations
Try to get an understanding of the various motivations around you at the table. Just start by thinking about what a successful outcome would look like to you. You may be hoping for an excellent review, an internal promotion, or just some recognition. Then take a moment to think about what could be at stake for the sales team. Landing this deal with you might mean they get the bonus they dream of – or, alternatively, they may actually lose their job if doesn’t get through.Bear in mind that however strong your own motivation is, there could be even stronger motivations against you on the other side of the table. Don’t underestimate those!
These are some of the most fundamental building blocks that we have identified when it comes to having a successful ULA Certification experience. As a trusted partner with many years of experience from dealing with Oracle, we have been instrumental in saving large amounts of money for clients by simply being a part of the conversation with Oracle and constantly staying tuned in to the best ways to negotiate value for our clients.