February 14, 2018

February 14, 2018 | Lee Mashburn | Vice President, Marketing

In 2017, IDC published a perspective piece entitled “Third-Party Enterprise Software Support: Key Risks and Questions to Ask”. The title alone can create suspicion, portraying third-party support as risky and questionable. In many opinions, IDC’s perspective piece over-focuses on one side of the story – the software vendors’ side. Since there was no interest in hearing the case for third-party support from us, this blog focuses on the positive case for third-party support. After all, third-party Oracle and SAP support has been around for years and thousands of organizations have thrived after replacing the software vendor support. We are past the risky, questionable stage.

IDC’s executive snapshot recommends considering five key areas when CIOs and IT managers plan their digital transformation roadmap – and the potential benefits and risks associated with each: (1) security, (2) compliance and governance, (3) software support features and functionality, (4) overall IT expertise and support, (5) annual support cost. Let’s dig into the facts by outlining a true comparison of third-party support services to those offered by Oracle.

1.  Security

IDC recommends making sure that security policies and procedures include the latest best practices regarding security hygiene across all vulnerable enterprise systems. Updates with the latest security patches are identified by IDC as a key challenge for IT organizations. The potential risks outlined by IDC are not risks at all should a switch to Spinnaker Support be made.

  • Customers will indeed lose access to Oracle security patches, which many clients deem stale, late, and often not applicable. Spinnaker Support delivers quicker, more localized security patches for each customer. Contrary to what IDC claims, we include proactive monitoring from experienced security analysts using the most modern tools.
  • Compliance readiness in highly regulated industries (and those industries not as regulated) is included as a standard feature from Spinnaker Support. Spinnaker Support manages compliance activities in dozens of countries and all 50 United States – for many industries. Our ISO 9001:2015 certified process alleviates risk by helping our customers prepare for cyclical and new changes across their tax and regulatory landscape.
  • Limited, “around the edge” security from Spinnaker Support is simply untrue. We deliver full stack, seven-layer security and vulnerability protection. We identify known good, known bad, and suspicious activities which have been classified by humans – so our clients get solid intelligence and prevention, not false alarms. Full stack is superior to database-only endpoint and patching offerings.

2.  Compliance and Governance

According to IDC, an area of intensifying concern is audit trails and protection of intellectual property. Other than those, IDC’s snapshot fails to bring forth any new arguments that weren’t already covered in the security section. Bottom line; Spinnaker Support is capable of meeting the procedures and regulations required by client auditing and compliance teams. Our contracts provide detailed, clear, and concise language regarding how we handle the software vendor’s intellectual property (IP). We deliver support the right way, always respecting the IP rights of others and don’t need access to vendor IP in order to provide best-in-class support. Finally, under third-party support, our customers are free to purchase new licenses from the software vendor and do so on a frequent basis.

3.  Software Support Features and Functionality

IDC states that software vendors and third-party providers each bring a distinct set of capabilities to the table regarding enterprise software support. They infer that software vendors offer access to engineering talent and an array of expanded toolsets and utilities. As an Oracle customer, ask yourself how many times you’ve had direct access to a seasoned engineer or developer. Ever? One reason Oracle offers access to information utilities is because they expect customers to use websites to resolve their own issues. Access to a seasoned engineer is a last resort in Oracle’s “self-support” model.

Third-party support is not right for everyone, but our prospects are looking for more comprehensive support at a lower price. Their on-premise enterprise applications are no longer being enhanced, so several of IDC’s arguments are irrelevant. However, as IDC does state, third-party support provides direct access to seasoned engineers that are familiar with each customer’s unique environment and support for custom code, where many problems originate.

4.  Overall IT Expertise and Support

In this section, IDC suggests that software vendors are better positioned to help facilitate the customer’s digital transformation and that third-party support vendors are focused on legacy systems. I suppose it’s true that software vendors can paint a better vision for digital transformation that includes their own cloud solutions – but many organizations that run Oracle believe that these solutions are not ready and won’t be for years.

Spinnaker Support customers depend on us for unbiased technology advisory. We are often involved in their digital transformation projects and they appreciate our full stack expertise. Importantly, the money they save by switching to third-party support is helping to fund and accelerate their journeys to the cloud.

5.  Annual Support Cost

IDC misrepresents the amount of savings (25-50%) that result from switching to third-party support. Spinnaker Support saves customers an average of 62% on annual maintenance fees and delivers a more comprehensive and responsive level of support – including tax and regulatory updates, security protection, and invaluable technology advisory services. Unlike the software vendors, we do not diminish service as software ages and never force unwanted upgrades to software versions that make little to no business sense. Our policy is to support the customer’s current version for as long as required and to help them upgrade using software that our team of experts legally archived.

Summary

There are two sides to every story. IDC’s perspective piece is well written and thought-provoking, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We welcome the questions they pose and can provide an abundance of happy reference customers who will address arguments made.

You can read IDC’s full article by accessing their website at  https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US43312917

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