I recently heard a senior executive at Rimini Street being asked if Rimini Street provide fixed SLAs for fixes or workarounds. The questioner was concerned that, with 40% annual growth, the quality of Rimini Street’s service might suffer. In response came a knowing smile which broke into a good-natured chuckle.
The Rimini Street exec went on to explain that, whilst they do not offer SLAs, the whole ethos of the company is centred on quality. Why? Because there is nothing Oracle and SAP like more than to sling mud at that bright yellow logo in the press if any goes wrong.
Quality is Rimini Street’s middle name, but they don’t say that lest the Brits confuse them with a rather second-rate brand of chocolate!
Rimini Street, as a third party provider, does not own the IP
Rimini Street does not own the code for which it provides support; SAP and Oracle do. There is no “lock-in” Rimini Street can rely on to trap customers in an endless cycle of support renewals.
Furthermore, although it is by far the leader of the pack, it is just one in a growing list of third party maintenance providers. All of these competitors are just waiting for Rimini Street to drop the ball, so dropping balls is not something Rimini Street can afford to do.
Whilst SAP and Oracle can get away with continually off-shoring and cutting their support organisations, for Rimini Street it is all about providing value. They know that if the value is there then customers will beat a path to their door, as confirmed by the stratospheric growth rates.
It occurred to me that Rimini Street resembles another company in a similar set of circumstances. Red Hat is another vendor who’s rug could be pulled from under them if they were to stop providing value to their customers.
Currently, Oracle is making a big effort to steal Red Hat’s customers by claiming to be able to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux at half the cost of whatever Red Hat is charging.
I find this rather ironic from the world’s primary protagonist of proprietary power. They lock their customers in on proprietary software taking full advantage of that lock in effect, and then come waltzing onto the market trying to pick up Red Hat’s customers with their “we can support Linux too” claims.
Red Hat is a trusted brand when it comes to third party support
Somehow though I don’t think Red Hat will loose many customers to Ellison’s empire. Red Hat’s customers will stay because Red Hat is a trusted brand with an extremely high value support organisation providing quality service.
Origina joins the fray providing third party support on IBM software
As ever more third party support providers jump on the Rimini Street bandwagon (the latest is Origina supporting IBM software) maintaining that quality as competitive pressures increase will be key if Rimini Street and co. are to reach the levels of trust and brand recognition as their billion dollar red-hatted cousin. They are on the right road.
Rimini Street, in their wisdom, are very open about how they do business. By listening to them, you realise how totally customer focused they are, and, by contrast, how totally revenue focused SAP and Oracle are.
Anyone negotiating with SAP and Oracle should investigate the third party option. Even if you have no intention of ever leaving the software publisher’s support service, just listening to their sales pitch gives you plenty of probing questions to ask the software publishers.
Image credit: “Red Hat” by Olle Svensson, Creative Commons, Flickr.com