In order to judge if the introduction of the SIA team is a positive development, you should look at it from different perspectives.
The introduction of SIA as a separate team of licensing experts is a good thing, as it helps increase the knowledge level of the Oracle sales organization. Over the last 15 years we have seen many sales representatives not having a clear understanding of the licensing rules, definitions and contractual terms applied by Oracle. Having licensing experts at the table when negotiating a new contract will therefore help the Oracle sales representatives.
End users should make sure that they have a similar knowledge level as well (e.g. by hiring an external expert) when they start negotiations for a new contract with Oracle. Not having this knowledge at the negotiation table could lead to not signing the best deal you could get.
License Entitlement Services
The fact that the SIA team can provide an overview of your license entitlements can be very helpful. Especially for large end user organizations that continuously struggle with keeping track of the hundreds of different ordering documents, license agreements and support renewals that are entered into by the (local) legal entities.
The license entitlement reports provided by the SIA team are based on the entitlement information that is registered into Oracle’s systems. We have seen many cases in which the information included into Oracle’s systems is however incomplete and inaccurate. Think for example about (former) legal entities that were or are part of your organization and bought licenses, but for which a proper license assignment was never completed. Or think about licenses with a “Non-Standard User” metric or “Limited Use” or ‘Restricted Use” as license level. In these cases you still need to validate your original ordering documents yourself to understand what specific limitation or restriction has been applied.
It is definitely helpful to have a team within Oracle that is able to provide you with an inventory report of all the licenses they have in their administration, but this does not mean that you do not need to setup and maintain a complete and accurate license entitlement administration yourself. In addition, don’t forget that it is rather simple to identify possible license compliance risks from your entitlement information. The SIA team would typically only provide you with a license entitlement report if they have a meeting with you in which they will point out the issues they see. Examples of such issues can be that you did not buy licenses for the last 3 years but may have changed your hardware which increases your risk of non-compliance, or you bought Tuning Pack licenses without Diagnostics Pack licenses, which is not allowed.
Deployment Analytic Services
The SIA team has access to the support tickets your organization logs through Oracle Support and will try to understand as much as possible your business (e.g. by checking your website for news – mergers and acquisition; or checking your annual reports). In this way, SIA will gather as much information as possible with regards to the deployment of your Oracle software programs. The objective of this is to support the Oracle sales organization as a pre-sales team, to point out risks and to achieve their commercial goals.
It is true that having all the facts on the table is a smart thing to do from an Oracle perspective (knowledge is power), but end users are strongly advised to make sure that they have all their entitlement and deployment facts clear themselves as well. Not having a clear view of your current entitlements and deployments as well as future deployment plans can only result in one thing: you go to the negotiation table unprepared, which makes it impossible to get the most out of the negotiations when you are confronted with a well-prepared team on the opposite side of the table.