Four Best Practices to Reduce Oracle Audit Risk

Ryan Bendana
Senior Director of Global License and Advisory Services
5 min read
Four Best Practices to Reduce Oracle Audit Risk


If you’re an Oracle licensee, I’m almost certain the word “audit” will give you a brief pause followed by a momentary and overwhelming feeling of dread. Oracle licensing is complex . Under the best-case scenario, an Oracle license audit may simply consume valuable time and effort from an organizations’ already limited resources . Under the worst-case scenario, an Oracle license audit may catch you by complete surprise and result in potentially millions of dollars in non-compliance ; possibly placing additional strain on an already strapped IT budget.

Executive leaders, and CIOs in particular, are now tasked with (i) cost optimization and cost reduction , (ii) value creation with measured risk , and (iii) retiring technical debt . All three of these initiatives require at least some level of predictability (if not total predictability) to ensure successful outcomes. An Oracle license audit can undermine these efforts substantially because licensees may not know what to expect during the audit process let alone what the Oracle auditors may find. An Oracle license audit will cost you time or money, and, in some cases, both . In many respects, this is also why Oracle licensees may perceive the Oracle license audit process itself as a form of punishment and will do whatever it takes to avoid it altogether.

Oracle license audits typically lead to conversations between Oracle sales representatives and licensees. In the event of an Oracle license audit and subsequent discovery of non-compliance, Oracle sales representatives can use this as leverage to steer licensees to buy more licenses or, in some cases, other products and services, such as cloud. The pressure for Oracle to sell more cloud is increasing and this means that Oracle sales representatives are likely facing added pressure to sell more, too. If you’re not in an active sales process with Oracle, what will prevent your Oracle sales representative from nominating you for a license audit? This is why even the mere hint of a possible Oracle license audit may cause some Oracle licensees to purchase additional Oracle products and services; the belief and hope that such a purchase could stave off a potential impending license audit.

“What can I do to reduce Oracle license audit risk?” you ask.

We believe the following four (4) factors will help you potentially avoid and/or reduce the risk of an Oracle license audit:


Establish your short-term and long-term IT strategy goals. Ascertain what parts, if any, will help your organization drive revenue and/or improve your bottom line. If your use of current Oracle software program licenses are mission-critical to your organization but not instrumental in your innovation road map, consider bringing your support to Rimini Street for up to 90%+ cost savings which can then be used to drive innovation.

Eric Helmer, CTO of Rimini Street, captures this well stating:

“Forward-looking companies are realizing that back-office ERP platforms – the debits and credits, paying people and closing books – are mandatory and mission-critical. But let’s not mistake these for strategic [technology]. What these systems are doing is working just fine, but it’s not innovative and it’s not differentiating your company.”


Establish strong governance policies and procedures (and a software asset management program) for internal controls to ensure that once you achieve compliance, you remain compliant in the future. This means that you ensure compliance with current licensed software programs while also remaining cognizant of evolving and changing license requirements related to new and emerging policies such as cloud computing environments. In addition, develop good governance for Oracle programs that are licensed under new licensing models that you may not be accustomed to such as Java which has the potential to “phone home” .

License Entitlements

Ensure, as part of your governance policies and procedures, that you have a documented records retention policy in place and ensure, above all else, that you have a copy of any and all applicable license agreements for the current license entitlements you have. In particular, you’ll want to ensure you have original ordering documents and governing master agreements (as well as any addendums and/or amendments) readily available to ensure a proper understanding of your license entitlements. This will ensure you are on solid ground and can defer to your attorney in regard to any rights and obligations related to your software license assets. If you need help getting started or want to look at your Oracle license entitlements in a manner similar to how an Oracle auditor would view them, reach out and request Rimini Street’s Oracle License Inventory template.

Internal Audit & License Compliance

As always, periodically conduct internal license audits to ensure license compliance. This may include use of an “Oracle Server Worksheet” to properly document your current deployment as well as viewing potential impacts to changes to your environment based on a go-forward basis. If you don’t already have a copy of an Oracle Server Worksheet, reach out and we will provide one to you. If your IT environment is relatively large and/or complex and you need help automating the process, reach out to Rimini Street so we can guide you on measuring your use of Oracle programs and guide you with best practices for ensuring license compliance.


According to Seth A. Ravin, CEO, president and chairman, Rimini Street, Inc.:
“Industry analysts estimate most companies spend around 90% of their IT budget on daily operating expenses, leaving only 10% for investment in innovation. Rimini Street can help significantly reduce that 90% to 60% with its service solutions, enabling clients to refocus more money, staff and time towards strategic initiatives and projects.”

Can you imagine having to let the last remaining 10% or more of your IT budget go to an unfunded capital expenditure as a result of an Oracle license audit? Neither can we. Let’s help make sure you are compliant with Oracle licenses and set you on a path to IT independence so you can pursue the innovation necessary to drive revenue and profitability for your organization.

If you liked this article, don’t forget to the check out the full Rimini Street Oracle Audit White Paper for detailed insights into Oracle license audits!

About the Author

Ryan Bendana, Senior Director for Rimini Street’s Global License and Advisory Services team, has over 20 years’ experience in the software industry, including various roles in sales and finance for Oracle (including software-as-a-service programs such as NetSuite). In addition, Ryan was a former auditor for Oracle’s License Management Services group during which time he identified considerable amounts of non-compliance, provided training to new hires during the onboarding process, and managed very complex audits that spanned across Oracle technology, middleware, and application programs. Ryan has advised some of the largest organizations in the world (including Global Fortune 5) with a specific focus around risk mitigation, compliance, IT optimization, and enterprise solutions. In addition, Ryan spearheaded the Oracle licensing program at Anglepoint , a Leader for the fourth year in a row in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for SAM Managed Services , and provided industry leading advisory services to clients on behalf of Palisade Compliance , one of the premier leading and independent Oracle-focused license advisory firms. Ryan loves coffee, is wildly passionate about customer experience, and enjoys finding ways to help people save money.

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