back to article Oracle confesses to quietly axing its UK software support centre

Oracle has admitted it is axing its UK software support centre – in a move sources say will shift all European support work to Romania and cut "more than 1,000" support staff. The ERP giant confirmed to The Register that it was "in the process of consolidating its software support services into co-located entities." It said …

  1. Jad

    Oracle support

    almost every transaction I have had with them went along the lines of:

    Me) I have a problem, here is the problem.

    Them) I don't think you have a problem, are you sure?

    Me) yes, here is even more supporting information

    Them) yes you do seem to have a problem

    Me) Hmm ... I've just been checking and I've found this work around

    Them) that's good

    Me) Okay you may as well close this ticket, as it's been 3 months already, and you've not provided me with any more information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle support

      Sure, but now the conversation will go:

      Me) I have a problem, here is the problem.

      Them) Problemă, don't think I, ești sigur?

      Me) yes, here is even more supporting information

      Them) da have problemă you seem to

      Me) Hmm ... I've just been checking and I've found this work around

      Them) that bine

      Me) Okay you may as well close this ticket, as it's been 3 months already, and you've not provided me with any more information.

      At least they spoke English before, and had used the product for more than a week.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oracle support

        Them) Vrei să pleci dar, nu mă, nu mă iei, nu mă, nu mă iei, nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei.

        You) O-Zone were Moldovan, not Romanian, this joke doesn't work.

        Them) Piesa a fost în limba română, deși. Nu mă, nu mă iei, nu mă, nu mă iei.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oracle support

          I will not buy this database, she is scratched.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jedi support

        Me) I have a problem, here is the problem.

        Yoda) I think not you have a problem. Sure are you?

        Me) yes, here is even more supporting information

        Yoda) Problem you have. Yeesssssss.

        Me) Hmm ... I've just been checking and I've found this work around

        Yoda) Good that is. Herh herh herh.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle support

      You spoke to someone? You were lucky.

      Open call in support.oracle. They do sod all for a month then close ticket for lack of movement.

      Any request for update, status, what they are doing, etc. is ignored.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle support

      Only 3 months? That's a record!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle support

      I guess the mass migrations to SQL Server are really starting to hit their bottom line.

    5. jford
      Pint

      Re: Oracle support

      Amazing how many similar stories people share about poor Oracle support! After leaving Oracle I started a company focused on UK based service, on customers not license...best thing I ever did!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason?

    It seems that Larry needs a :-

    1) New Yacht

    2) New country

    3) New Planet

    Can we all club together to send him on a one way ticket to Mars?

    1. sandman

      Re: The reason?

      I'm sorry, it's against policy to send unsterilised bacteria to Mars.

      1. Jad

        Re: The reason?

        Easy fix ... Sterilise?

      2. gregthecanuck

        Re: The reason?

        Thanks needed that laugh!! :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We use major products under a separate area of Oracle (separate from the main DB section). Their support has gone completely useless in the last few months. Even trying to purchase or get quotes for projects is an unforgiving task. I set aside £50,000 for an upgrade for some of our systems and have not heard anything back, no quote, recommendations, nothing for months.

    The £50k has now been used on another project which cropped up and we're looking for alternative suppliers for the current system.

  4. Orwell44

    Should be an exit "tax" on this sort of job transfer. It's not true redundancy in that the roles are still needed - it's just a blatant export of jobs (and usually of quality as well in my experience).

    1. Buzzword

      If they're that good, they could set up their own Oracle support company. They'd probably earn a fair bit more too.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Wasn't there a company that sold unofficial Oracle support and spent most of their time fighting copyright suits?

        1. Buzzword

          Re: unofficial support

          Yep, quite a few it seems. Oracle really hate having their lucrative revenue streams undercut.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

    Is Oracle's product actually that great, or at least better enough than the alternative that a remotely plausible case could be made for choosing them despite knowing their reputation for openly screwing their paying customers over and holding them to ransom once they have their claws in them?

    Or is Oracle's business model effectively a (legal) extortion scam targeting gullible (and arrogant) managers with the product itself effectively an arbitrary MacGuffin? And was this ever *not* the case?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      Question: Is Oracle's product actually that great?

      Answer: No.

      Next!

    2. Amorous Cowherder
      Facepalm

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      If there was, why did Oracle buy up OSS projects like MySQL and OpenOffice, and I'm saying that as a 18 year Oracle veteran!

      1. nijam

        Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

        > why did Oracle buy up OSS projects like MySQL and OpenOffice?

        They didn't buy them (up, or otherwise). They got them free, bundled as a more-or-less unwanted part of Sun Microsystems.

        1. DaLo

          Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

          "They got them free, bundled as a more-or-less unwanted part of Sun Microsystems."

          Citation? That's not the view of most analysts at the time.

          http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/20/mysql-marten-mickos-technology-enterprise-tech-mysql.html

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

            Analysts? What utter nonsense. They bought a Unix vendor. Beyond that, anyone else claiming anything is just morons pulling sh*t out of their ass.

            If they did intend to "buyout the competition" then that's just retarded because the only thing they gained ownership over is a name. It's Free Software. Anyone can fork it. People WILL fork it if you annoy them. Case in point MySQL and OpenOffice.

            Oracle are the poster boys for how you can't "buy out" Free Software.

            Not that MySQL in any way shape or form is a replacement for Oracle (or even Postgres).

            1. Michael Strorm

              Remember that MySQL was always dual-licensed

              @JEDIDIAH; Remember that MySQL was- and is- dual licensed. Contributions to the official MySQL development stream required their copyright to be signed over to the MySQL company (later owned by Sun).

              This means that they could- and did- offer it under non-GPL terms to customers who preferred that for various reasons. (That, in fact, *was* the business model, along with support, AFAICT). This doesn't negate any rights offered by its pre-existent release under GPL terms, it's simply the copyright owner exerting their right to offer it to other people under different terms if they so wish.

              The same dual-licensing option is theoretically open to any GPLed project, but isn't usually practical if there are a large number of disparate copyright holders who must all agree to it; now you can see why MySQL wanted the *ownership* of the copyright signed over to them, even though they agreed to- and did- release it under the GPL.

              Thus Sun retained that right when they bought MySQL, as now do Oracle. Oracle could in theory build a non-GPL version of MySQL on top of the existing version, and make all future versions non-free. They can't stop people forking the GPLed versions (even if they had *additionally* been released under an alternate license too) and they can't pull off the same trick with forks of those versions- such as MariaDB- since the copyright to subsequent changes won't have been signed over to them.

              (OTOH, MariaDB can't create a non-free version of itself without either getting Oracle and all the other copyright holder's permission and/or rewriting all those parts!)

        2. Stretch

          Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

          "They got them free, bundled as a more-or-less unwanted part of Sun Microsystems"

          It was the point of the purchase. You're not going to tell me they did it for the flagging SPARC sales...

        3. Not That Andrew
          Joke

          Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

          They didn't buy them (up, or otherwise). They got them free, bundled as a more-or-less unwanted part of Sun Microsystems.

          So you're saying even Larry got unwanted software bundled with Java?

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      Whatever the reason was, ours don't have a reason now.

      I've been quietly axing our Oracle instances and replacing them with stuff that is still overkill, just not as much overkill.

    4. SecretSonOfHG

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      Yes, there are contexts where Oracle is exactly the product you want and need. Even taking into account the license and support costs. That is, if you don't mind also paying big sums for hardware.

      In these contexts, the product features, performance, support and price are only part of a biggest set of considerations. Such as using what is perceived as the top technology in the market, or having a finger to point to when things go wrong, or having top notch support (the biggest Oracle accounts have access to a level of support that is completely different from what the average Oracle customer experiences)

      The "growth" problem for Oracle right now is that each and every place where these considerations are important is already running Oracle or DB2, and the switching costs are so horrible that no one even thinks of moving to another DB.

      I'm referring of course to the database, not any of the myriad of applications that they sell, of which I've seen very few that are actually useful, but after the successive price increases they have become unaffordable except as part of big bundles that in turn are so expensive that you end up looking elsewhere. That's in the best case, worst case simply Oracle abandons the app and replaces it with something "better" (and more expensive) that guess what... is only available as part of an expensive "bundle"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

        @SecretSonOfHG

        > the biggest Oracle accounts have access to a level of support that is completely different from what the average Oracle customer experiences

        Actually, I was part of ACS before I left (escaped) 2 years ago, and we weren't any different to our normal GCS colleagues - sat alongside them, often worked from the same queue of tickets. Yes, some customer tickets were reserved for us, but we weren't gods amongst men.

        As far as I know, my non-US former colleagues are also affected by this action, so ACS will go down the drain too. Mind you, a lot of dev is done in India and Romania now anyway, so I guess these n00bs will at least be close to them...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      When someone creates an application they usually specify a database (not many are database agnostic anymore). For legacy/historical reasons or because Oracle has done a great deal with them you may find the best application for the job specifies an Oracle database (usually the licence fee is included).

      Therefore you sometimes get lumbered with an unwanted Oracle database that to get away from you'd have to choose a different product. Having an Oracle database specified might be a negative towards a product but it is not necessarily something that makes a product a no-go, so sometimes you choose a product despite the fact that Oracle is sitting behind it.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

        The only real reason to use Oracle is the staff knows it very well. Otherwise it is just another relational database and there are plenty of good ones available.

    6. Jan 0

      Re: Is there any legitimate reason to choose Oracle?

      No! I recall how Comp. Sci. students getting their first jobs at Oracle in the '90s reported how poor the database implementation was compared to Ingres.

      Oracle (like Microsoft) is yet another demonstration of how marketing is more powerful than engineering (to all our detriment).

      (c.f Shimano vs. Campagnolo, sic transit gloria mundi, etc.)

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Just when I thought service couldn't get any worse...

    My favourite is when they close existing SRs or Product enhancement requests without even providing any form of response.

    Awesome.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ceef**ks

    Oracle used to be a really nice company, but Larry Ellison became really bitter and twisted in the early 90s after they lost the ITV teletext franchise.

    *ahem*

  9. AdamAdam

    Yeah, I've wondered whether to apply - I live in Romania in a city where Oracle announced it is going to create a thousand jobs in the coming year.

    The support jobs are ridiculous, though.

    "experience a plus" - "business attire required" or, in their own words:

    • Maintains a smart and professional image at all times - Micros clients will often visit the Helpdesk.

    [...]

    • PC literate - including a basic knowledge of hardware and MS Windows / Microsoft Office

    Have fun

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      PC literate - including a basic knowledge of hardware and MS Windows / Microsoft Office

      That's going to be so useful for the people replacing all the laid-off Solaris and middleware support engineers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Micros clients will often visit the Helpdesk."

      Not any more, with it being based in Romania, they won't. In fact, the way Oracle are driving their new hospitality division into the ground, they won't have any Micros clients left.

      "PC literate - including a basic knowledge of hardware and MS Windows / Microsoft Office"

      1st line support, they just will have basic product training and then read internal knowledgebase articles and run through scripts. No-one expects them to 'solve' anything. They are just there to ensure the 'SLA' for an 'engineer' to look at the problem within x hours.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think of it as a win - win situation....

    Orifice support might be going down the toilet, however at least there will now be a supply of knowledgeable persons who will soon be released back into society who will negate the need to engage with Orifice so much. That is, apart from for getting bugs raised that will just sit in the ether until they are no longer relevant anyway...

  11. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Interesting. I just sat in a tech discussion in which an Oracle representative explained "off the record" how to game the oracle support (US) so as to not get frustrated bpy the mis-match between their support window model and our business scenario. There was talk of being shunted into problematic time zones if we weren't careful. I guess that means Romania.

  12. vmistery

    That will be why they are ditching their only affordable database version (Oracle Standard One) and replacing it with one almost twice the price and out of reach for many businesses then. Oh wait - Romania is cheaper and they will be charging more for the same old rope absolute genius!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Romania

    My understanding was that there was plenty of tech expertise in Romania, certainly in some of the more dubious areas so oracle should fit in nicely.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Whoa Nelly

    Please can we lay off the little snipes at Romania and focus our ire on Oracle's support practices? In any off-shore support deal the villains are not the people in the new country, who are trying to get a day's work, just like you and me, but the bean counter who thinks that good tech support is just a matter of looking something up in a knowledge base and reading a script.

    Oracle support is crappy whether it comes from Redwood City or Bucharest. It's just how they roll as a company. Minimize your exposure and plan your exit.

  15. martinusher Silver badge

    Fairly obvious how this one goes.....

    Romania is, above all, cheap. Its a land of the well educated and chronically underpaid. So its not surprising that support centers would be consolidated there. EU citizens can go any work there -- you'll need to figure out how to live on E550 a month, of course, but as a Romanian will tell you "There's always a way!".

    They'll need something at headquaters even if its just to support the supporters. But its a sure bet that US support will either go offshore or will be inshored using H1B contract workers.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We are looking forward to being off any Oracle supported stuff come end of March, rather than paying £ks for pretty useless support even now, and that is before they seek to replace years of experience with months (or maybe weeks) of training.

    We even have the fizzy wine in the fridge in anticipation of the big day!

  17. x 7

    Judging by the number of Romanian working girls and accompanying pimps now living in the UK, I'm surprised that theres enough people left in Romania to run the help desk.

  18. coakshot

    Heard from an insider that there is a lot of concern from support sales and sales team at the lay offs, they're getting rid of people with 20 years experience and replacing them with people with a couple of months experience. The only people they're keeping outside of Romania are escalation managers as I guess they're expecting many many customer complaints.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're also building a 'low cost' center in Utah. Rumor is that the layoffs will continue into North America.

  20. petef
    Coat

    One thing that amused me about the T&C for Oracle support was that you are only allowed to ask one question.

    Me) Hello, am I through to Oracle support?

    Them) Yes. <brrrr>

    1. Headshot

      I was told by a senior Oracle manager, if you don't want to hear the answer don't ask the question

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Australian support staff laid off too...

    Will be gone from Mid Jan 2016. Long serving, experienced staff. Reason? Offshoring is cheaper.

    1. Rusty 1

      Re: Australian support staff laid off too...

      Of course it is cheaper.

      Much like stabbing yourself in your eyes to avoid paying for your next eye test and getting 20-20 glasses. It's all about numbers today, yachts tomorrow, and golden pensions from Thursday onwards.

      Clients? Who the feck are they? Oh, yes, they're the dolts we try to position neatly over a barrel or two. Squeeze 'em harder!

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