Acquisition focus harms customer support

“Oracle has lately devoted itself to becoming the largest and most mission-critical IT systems vendor in the world,” using acquisitions to increase both market share and the share of IT budgets. No doubt the recent court victory over SAP ($1.3 Billion) will ultimately provide funds for even more acquisitions. Unfortunately, the technology titans like Oracle who seek to monopolize technology markets are acting like monopolists in other ways as well. In particular, their focus on making customers successful over the long term takes a back seat to acquiring new customers.

Consider the data recently reported by research firm Computer Economics, and published by e-Week.com. While Oracle continues to spend billions on acquisitions, 42% of customers polled are dissatisfied with quality of support. Further, dissatisfaction increases with age. Once the excitement associated with buying and implementing new software wears off, customers discover what the relationship with the vendor will really be like. With Oracle, the longer it’s been since the initial purchase, the unhappier customers become.

Software vendors that place market domination ahead of customer satisfaction will inevitably fall into increasingly monopolistic practices. They work to limit choices and raise prices, and work to aggressively reduce the cost of customer support. Of course, if you only expect the vendor’s customer support to provide fixes to software bugs the vendor didn’t catch in the first place, you may not care much. However, a new kind of customer support is emerging focused on creating business value for customers. Software vendors that embrace this new model will have more satisfied – and successful – customers. Customers who implement software from vendors focused on customer support will find annual fees in line with the value provided by the vendor (unlike the 58% of Oracle customers who think Oracle customer support fees are too high).

Quote and research data from: “Oracle Support Too Costly, Say Business Customers: Study”, Nicholas Kolakowski, e-Week.com, dated 2010-11-18

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