Oracle expense is worth it, say users

Oracle's customers are a relatively contented group, according to a survey from the UK user group, although 9iAS and 11i users...

Oracle's customers are a relatively contented group, according to a survey from the UK user group, although 9iAS and 11i users say there is room for improvement.

That was the verdict of the annual Oracle User Group (UKOUG) survey, revealed at the group's conference in Birmingham on 10 December.

The message this year is that Oracle products are good but expensive, according to the survey's co-ordinator Ronan Miles, president of the UKOUG.

"Oracle customers are generally satisfied with the company, rating it better than the majority of its competitors [and are] satisfied with their return on investment. The majority of customers are either happy with the status quo or intending to expand their use of Oracle," he said.

Less happy are the users of the 11i applications suite who find the licensing model too complex. Oracle's senior vice president for product and services marketing Jeremy Burton admitted that licensing was not simple but said the same was true of the database just a few years ago.

"The complexity stems from the number and types of applications we offer, with around 100 modules in the [enterprise resource planning] ERP section alone. This will be reduced when we see some natural groupings.

"In the past we offered General Ledger and Accounts Payable as separate modules in our Financials suite until we noted that every customer bought both. As the applications mature, they will become more coarse-grained as we aggregate functionality allowing us offer fewer options," he explained.

Miles said that he was surprised by the apparent dissatisfaction among the 9i Application Server (9iAS) users revealed in the survey. "Only 24% said they were happy with the system, 42% were neutral and 32% were unhappy.

"This result may be skewed because 40% are still using the older version of the server, Oracle AS and Web AS, which were both dogs," said Miles. "All the same, 9iAS has been redesigned from the ground up and I would have expected to see a higher level of contentment," he added.

The survey revealed that while licensing costs are seen as high, only 19% of users felt dissatisfied with their return on investment.

Oracle's Burton used this to dismiss the accusation that Oracle products were a pricey option. "Our aim is to make companies far more profitable with Oracle than they would be without our software - and our prices reflect this," he said.

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