How to get the best deal from Oracle

Oracle is now in its fourth quarter, meaning the vendor and its customers are locked in the annual ritual of trying to get new deals done before the fiscal year ends on May 31.

The company has long been known as one of the industry's toughest negotiators, and that hasn't changed a bit this year, according to some observers. But there are a number of strategies customers can employ to ensure the best possible deal, according to some users, consultants and analysts.

One way is to think big.

Oracle's sales representatives have a short-term focus, "so they will prefer to get one big order now than get several smaller orders over the next three years, even if the latter would add up to more money in total," said Forrester Research analyst Duncan Jones in a report released this week.

Therefore, salespeople may be more generous with discounts and other concessions if the customer agrees to a larger purchase, he said.

The question to weigh is whether such a move makes financial sense in the longer term, since annual maintenance fees may kick in on some products before a customer is actually prepared to start using them, Jones added.