"The second thing, and this is the hardest thing for CIOs, is you want to go into this and pretend you're a startup or entrepreneur," Colon added. "If I'm an entrepreneur, and this is my startup business, and I write an agreement from scratch, what would I do?" This approach will help a customer avoid blithe acceptance of seemingly boilerplate contract terms, he said.
Finally, ULAs are much more complex than many people realize, Colon said. "Whatever time you think you're going to need, you probably need to double it." In fact, companies should start at least a year in advance of signing a deal, he said.
Ultimately, ULAs simply must be placed into the proper perspective, according to Colon.
"You're still getting a tremendous amount of product at a very low cost," he said. "It's a very complex, custom volume agreement. If you take it from that standpoint, you have to see if it makes sense. For some clients it does."
An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment.