Oracle Support Too Costly, Say Business Customers: Study

Oracle support is too costly, according to 58 percent of respondents to a recent research firm study. However, a third expect to pay Oracle more in coming years.

About 58 percent of Oracle customers are dissatisfied with their cost of support, according to a new study published by research firm Computer Economics. Some 42 percent of those customers reported dissatisfaction with the quality of Oracle's support.

The 109 respondents included customers of Oracle's E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards, Siebel and Hyperion applications and platforms.

"Many customers are frustrated with navigating Oracle's support system and the length of time it takes for Oracle to respond to support issues," Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics, wrote in a Nov. 18 statement, "and dissatisfaction with the cost of support is even more widespread."

Nonetheless, the study found that 37 percent of Oracle customers are also expecting to pay out a larger share of their IT budgets to the company in coming years. That expansion would stem from a combination of "organic growth, purchase of additional Oracle applications and standardization on Oracle technology." Some 25 percent think Oracle's share of their IT budget will shrink over the next three years, and the remainder believe their spending will stay roughly level.

"Dissatisfaction levels vary by Oracle product," a Nov. 18 study summary suggested. "Overall dissatisfaction is greatest among PeopleSoft customers, while a surprisingly large percentage of E-Business Suite customers are unhappy with the cost of support." There is a correlation, the study also concluded, between the age of Oracle equipment and dissatisfaction, with the latter increasing "for customers that have application systems first installed more than 10 years ago."

Oracle has lately devoted itself to becoming the largest and most mission-critical IT systems vendor in the world, a mission necessitating a broad number of acquisitions over the past few years. In addition to enormous firms such as Sun Microsystems, which Oracle purchased for $7.4 billion, it has also pursued a bevy of companies both large and small.

Earlier in November, Oracle announced it would acquire Art Technology Group, which provides e-commerce software and on-demand applications, for around $1 billion. The acquisition will expand Oracle's abilities in online customer services and complement its existing CRM, ERP, retail and supply-chain offerings.

Oracle's strategy has led to products such as Fusion Middleware 11g, which offers IT administrators more complete control over every level of their networks. At the same time, however, that strategy places the company in diametric opposition with a number of others, including Microsoft, IBM and Oracle is also locked in a vicious courtroom battle with SAP, which it alleges stole its software documentation and confidential material via its TomorrowNow subsidiary.