Giving Oracle a Procurement Break — Transparency & Dialogue With No Puppet Strings

A number of my colleagues in the Enterprise Irregulars (some of the best minds in enterprise software who have come together to form an informal and loosely affiliated groups of bloggers, thinkers, enterprise tinkerers, etc.) have given Oracle a hard time (not to mention other enterprise software companies and big services firms like SAP, IBM and Accenture) about their products, pricing and related policies -- not to mention their approaches to customer and commercial engagement. Others have as well, including a Gartner analyst (hat-tip: EIs) who recently (and uncharacteristically, for Gartner) spoke what was on his mind about Oracle and others, at least as reported by one publication. Yet I think when it comes to procurement, we at Spend Matters believe that we all should be optimistic about where Oracle is headed and how they're following a path less traveled.

Some of the criticism may very much be deserved in the more general enterprise software, database and middleware areas. Yet for procurement, I don't think we should get on Oracle's case for trying to control the dialogue. And I say this as someone who was clearly on the "outside" when it came to engaging with Oracle in product deep dives until recently. But in the past couple of years, Oracle has been extremely transparent in showing us their stuff, getting us in front of customers and above all, never misrepresenting what they have to offer across their diverse and often confusing product lines. In fact, other vendors could learn from their transparency with us and the honesty of their products team in not sugarcoating where they are or where they need to go.

In December and January, we'll be featuring Oracle more than any other vendor in our writing. We'll have dozens of posts to share highlighting our latest learnings from OpenWorld and recent product updates. We'll be candid, speaking our mind on where Oracle is strong and where there is room for growth. Hopefully this will help prove to some others in the market that Oracle can be extremely transparent in its willingness to share information. Indeed, Oracle may not be all seeing when it comes to procurement, but it's one tech giant that's offered to engage us in a truly two-way discussion without hiding things behind the curtain. For some, this may be surprising. But we see it as a sign of the times.

- Jason Busch

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