Oracle Developing Licensing Tool

Tool will help customers self-manage licensing compliancy.

Oracle Corp. is developing a tool to help customers self-manage licensing compliancy, according to Jacqueline Woods, vice president of Global Pricing and Licensing Strategy.

Woods spoke with eWEEK about the licensing tool on Friday, prior to delivering a keynote address at the third annual Tabor School of Business Conference at Millikin University, in Decatur, Ill.

The purpose of the tool—which Woods described as being somewhere between an idea and development at this point—is to flag licensing compliancy problems, she said.

Such a tool could be used to help those organizations whose left hands dont know what their right hands are doing. "There tends to be a lack of coordination between the person who procures the software and a particular IT or other department that will implement it," Woods said. "Ive seen it happen where theres been inadvertent usage. The IT department could have deployed an option theyre not licensed for. The procurement organization may not have known they did that, because they dont have monitoring tools to check to see if theyre using things they dont have licenses for."

The tool, of course, will safeguard licensing revenues for the Redwood Shores, Calif., company. But the company also plans on designing the tool so that it keeps an eye out for customers best interests, Woods said. For example, the tool could help customers by pointing out servers that have undeployed software on them, thus saving customers from purchasing an incremental license because they already have unused capacity.

Users said that any help with licensing was welcome. "I think that any help Oracle can supply in connection with software asset management and configuration planning will be most welcome," said Carl Dudley in an e-mail exchange. Dudley—whose title is Oracle Associate Dean at Staffordshire University, in England—has been director of the U.K. Oracle User Group since 1988 and director of the European Oracle Group since 1994. "Many users are unsure how to maximize their use of Oracle at minimum cost. In fact I have been asked by Oracle to take part in customer briefings on this subject," he said.

Users also approved of the plans fairness. "Im glad to hear theyre doing it both ways, that they have a tool that shows both side of the coin," said Kelly Cox, an Oracle database administrator who runs a consultancy in Alexandria, Va. "It seems that software companies these days are taking a Big-Brother approach. This is the first Ive heard of one that makes it known that youre not taking advantage of a feature youve paid for, and I think thats nice."

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