Oracle users have welcomed the chance to fine-tune their software rather than integrate new releases, but are still unhappy with Oracle's pricing model, according to the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG).
A year with no major releases has allowed Oracle's customers to focus on what they have already bought. By doing so, they have seen an improvement in stability, said Ronan Miles, UKOUG chairman.
"Without the distraction of a 10i release, our members have focused on what they have. They have been able to improve performance [of their applications], and consequently are more satisfied," Miles said.
But users still have some areas of concern, especially around pricing.
Oracle changed its pricing model in June 2001 in response to customer dissatisfaction.
Scrapping its system of calculating database software licence fees based on the power of the hardware running it (called the universal power unit model), Oracle changed to a flat-rate, fee-per-processor model for its 9i database software.
"If you consider 9iAS, you have very little choice. You can either buy a terribly basic version, or an expensive 'souped-up' version," said Miles. "My own view is that they have gone too far down the simplicity route."
But Oracle had done well in responding to customer concerns in areas such as support and the quality of some parts of their software, Miles added.
The vendor's online support system, MetaLink, received heavy criticism in last year's survey. But with the work that Oracle has put in, and with customers getting used to it, "it is now seen as a great tool", he said.
Perceptions of Oracle's business application suite had also improved as more customers made use of applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), Miles said.
However, sounding a note of caution Miles pointed out that although CRM had received higher marks than previously in the satisfaction survey, its improvements had come from a low starting base.
"As a user group, we need to work out why CRM projects succeed," he said.
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