My first impressions are that Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services is for:
- Well managed and mature IT organisations;
- Organisations that have the whole IT stack from Oracle;
- Well behaved applications;
- Well defined change control process.
A well managed and mature IT organisation would benefit because it knows its IT costs and be well placed to judge the benefits of such a service offering. However, an organisation that is otherwise would see only the cost savings, if any, over any internal support organisation, and would be shocked to find the organisational changes needed to accomodate the service offering. It would be like strapping a Formula-1 engine onto a Corolla and hoping to see improved performance. The most likely outcome would be an engine and no car.
Having the whole IT stack from a single vendor, such as Oracle, reduces the incidence of finger-pointing between vendors when difficult and politically embarrassing problems occur. But, with Oracle Advanced Services, there are, at least, two (2) organisations involved: the customer’s and Oracle. The former wants to reduce costs by shifting them onto the latter; while the latter wants to increase profits by resisting unnecessary costs from the customer. Been there, done that.
In my experience as an operational DBA, most of the problems are caused by applications. Having the IT support out-sourced is not going to solve that problem. Bad code is not solved by extra capacity. Sometimes, the IT operations can work a miracle by tweaking some parameter that removes a bottleneck, but this action only delays the day of reckoning when the bad code has to be taken out into the paddock and shot.
An added benefit of having a mature IT organisation is that change control processes are well defined and followed. It seems to me that having Oracle Advanced Services is of benefit when the change control process is of such a standard. Out-sourcing seems to work when the out-sourced processes are well-defined and followed because these can be optimised for least cost. The extra costs always come with the unexpected and unplanned for.
So, it looks my future is with organisations who have bad processes, and immature IT models. Unless, I can convince people that in-house IT support is better because it is more closely aligned with the business. The primary loyalty for in-house support should be the organisation. With an out-sourcer, their aims and profitability come first, no matter what the out-sourcing agreement says.