LMS leaders Jocelyn Garcia (top left); Emmy Hargrave (lower middle); and attendees mingling and discussing the issues.
The Takeaway from Oracle OpenWorld LMS Session
Steven Russman, IBSMA
For the third year in a row, I attended the Oracle LMS Unplugged session at OpenWorld 2015 in San Francisco on October 29. LMS designed the session to give customers one-on-one time with the vendor’s LMS executives (including Emmy Hargrave, Oracle’s new senior director of LMS for Europe, and Jocelyn Garcia, senior director of LMS, Global Partner Office and Latin America) and to reinforce Oracle’s commitment to working with customers to solve licensing issues. I counted some 60 customers, Oracle partners and staff. Other LMS managers attended including Brian Papay, director of LMS in North America.
Joceyln Garcia opened the session with a welcome message. Stefan Miernik, chief information security officer for Arvato IT Services, a subsidiary of German media giant Bertelsmann, followed with a case study review of the company’s enhanced partnership with LMS. Working with Arvato, LMS spot-checks Arvato’s own self-audits and helps the company fine tune its license and compliance management practices. Then attendees followed four different 15-minute round table discussions where they were encouraged to ask honest and specific questions about their deployments. The conversations were lively and interactive and Oracle responded with straightforward answers about LMS services, licensing virtualized environments, and choosing the best inventory tools to support Oracle software discovery.
“We’re trying to focus on being collaborative and more supportive,” said Hargrave. “You don’t want to find a problem and get an audit years down the line. Oracle doesn’t want to do that either.”
Hargrave walked attendees though an overview of Oracle’s four LMS services, highlighting what’s new for customers. I was glad to hear that LMS is expanding a true-up service designed to catch over deployment on a quarterly basis. I’m not aware of any other top-10 publisher that is offering a service of this type. Microsoft comes to mind, but its program is administered through resellers. Hargrave added that true-up is a voluntary engagement in which customers ask Oracle to measure a deployment in order to gather information—such as if it’s time for an upgrade or how to consolidate a business unit—in addition to discovering any compliance issues.
Another LMS service is a contract certification process, which helps customers adhere to the reporting requirements of certain enterprise product contracts. It can be tailored to the customer’s needs, run as often as necessary, and help ensure software is neither under nor over deployed.
Adina Makaria, senior manager of product deployment analysis, discussed the licensing measurement tools Oracle provides to customers and pointed out that the LMS team welcomes feedback to help guide their new tool development. Enhancements to the Enterprise Manager, and Oracle Measurement Tool will help customer better track software usage, and a new fingerprint repository, in development, could provide data to be used with customers’ discovery tools to help identify Oracle products. Joe Levandoski, principal technical program manager, answered technical questions about licensing virtual environments. Several customers challenged the Oracle server partitioning and virtualization policy (see http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf). Oracle representatives at the table affirmed that LMS does not make the policy, nor can it change it, but it can facilitate communication with Oracle’s top management on certain inconsistencies and conflicts related to popular virtualization tools offered by VMware, Microsoft and Citrix.
Finally, Geoff Yu, senior manager of LMS, clearly outlined Oracle’s five-step audit process engagement model.
Throughout the session, I noted that each Oracle expert returned to the same ideas of transparency and openness with the customer. It was refreshing to hear Hargrave point out to a customer attendee, “It’s more cost effective and helpful to the customer to work with Oracle sooner and resolve problems sooner. LMS is available and willing to help.”
Despite its openness, the message came through loud and clear: Oracle expects customers to pay for what they use and to that end, is offering far more than any other publisher in terms of direct license management assistance. And as I’ve written before, customers will need to come to the table prepared with data, openness and licensing knowledge and good vendor relationship management skills.
Additional reporting: Leslie T. O'Neill. Photos: Patrick T. Power.
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