What a “simple” service request looks like on My Oracle Support (MOS)

I had a strop on Twitter again about My Oracle Support, and I just want to document why.

Someone on Twitter pointed out to me that the “active” real-time SQL monitoring reports weren’t working. It’s really easy to demonstrate, so I ran through it, and sure enough it was broken. When you opened the report in a browser, some of the dependent files (Javascript and a Flash movie) were missing, giving a 404 error.

I opened a service request (SR) on My Oracle Support (MOS). The first hurdle was the “Problem Type”. It’s mandatory, and the list of options is crap. Keep in mind that what you pick launches you into a load of automations, so picking the wrong thing is painful, but you typically have to because there is no “none of the above” option to pick… I decided on a performance related option, since the issue was a to do with the real-time SQL monitoring feature, even though I know this was not about the performance of my database…

I gave a link to a working example, and uploaded a generated report and the output from the Chrome developer console, showing all the 404 errors. It was a pretty self contained thing, so I was sure it would be understood as soon as a human saw it. This is what happened next…

An automated response.

Another automated response.

Another automated response.

Another automated response.

By now you can imagine I’m getting a little annoyed, so this is my response.

This was followed by a repost of my original post. Word for word. Seemed rather strange, but ok…

This was followed by three automated messages saying the same thing.

I was about to go supernova at this point, but I managed not to lose my shit.

Finally we have someone claiming to be a human!

I get asked to look at something that wasn’t directly related to the point of my SR.

I can feel the rage building.

The following day the person actually runs my report, which was uploaded in my initial SR opener, and it works for them. They update the SR. Once I see the update I try and sure enough it works for me now too. At some point between me opening the SR and this last interaction the “missing” files on http://download.oracle.com/otn_software/ have become available again. I tell them to close the SR.


Remember, this is about as simple an SR as you can get. I posted a test case to demonstrate it. It was really self-contained and simple. I don’t want to think what would happen with a “difficult” issue.

The “Problem Type” selection during SR creation is a problem. I understand MOS want to use it to help automate the gathering of information, but it needs a “none of the above” option, or you are *forced* to pick something you know is wrong.

The automated messages are terrible. I ranted about this before, which resulted in this post.

MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them?

After that post I got a message from Oracle wanting to talk about it. That resulted in this post.

My Oracle Support (MOS) : Where do we go from here?

The messages that came out of that meeting were really positive, but it’s over 2.5 years later and if anything it’s got worse…

Someone from Oracle Support has reached out to me, so I have a call with them tomorrow. I’m not sure this call will result in any positive change. It feels a bit like groundhog day…

Overall, My Oracle Support (MOS) is a terrible user experience, and Oracle should not be charging this much money for this terrible service.



PS. It’s 2022. Why can’t people call me “Tim” rather than “Timothy”?

PPS. Please Oracle, stop breaking URLs…

PPPS. Please read the follow-up post here.

My Oracle Support (MOS) : Where do we go from here?

Well, it happened again. I lost the plot on Twitter … again. I deleted them a lot quicker this time, but a few people saw them … again…

Today’s “incident” was because I was juggling multiple SRs, where I don’t think I’m getting straight answers, and what I believe is a reasonable level of service.

Having deleted the tweets I put out this one.

I am venting because I have no filter these days, and I am quickly deleting them because I know they will cause problems for some of my friends inside Oracle.

I feel like I want to go to war over this, but I know the best thing to do is to go home and play with tech…

I’m sure the conspiracy theorists out there will make a thing out of these tweets disappearing, but what I said above is it. I was walking away from a fight because of my ties with Oracle, but not because I was worried about the impact on me. I have a lot of friends in Oracle and I know some of them get it in the neck when I lose my shit like this. Then I re-read my post called Oracle ACE = Oracle’s Bitch? and wasn’t too happy with myself.

The first draft of this post was me backing off from a fight. The second draft was me resigning from all ties with Oracle. Now I figure the most sensible thing to do is to try and figure out a way forward.

I have an incredible level of access to information and people within Oracle, but you shouldn’t have to be in my position to get a reasonable level of service. Part of what frustrates me about this is I know I can DM someone and “jump the queue”. Every time I have a meltdown, my DMs light up with people wanting to help, in part because they know me and genuinely want to help, and no doubt in part as damage limitation. It would be really easy to shut up and think, “I’m alright Jack!”, but then I’d become what I said other’s should not!

Where do we go from here?

Part of the Oracle re-branding is about being customer focused. What better place to start than support? It’s pretty clear that Oracle Support is in a really bad place. If someone quotes great resolution/response metrics to me, I would like to point them back to my previous post on the automated responses. I could also mention SRs with a status of “Solution Offered”, where IMHO no valid solution has been offered…

I’m happy to be part of the process. I’m not saying I can help, but I’m willing to try. I could do this in the background, because I now know the people in MOS I should contact, but I feel like this sort of thing needs to be public. To build any level of trust people need to feel like they are being listened to, see an action plan, and see that it’s delivered.

So come on Oracle. Put your money where your mouth is. Where do we go from here?



PS. You might want to read this old post called Oracle : Technology Company or Service Company?

PPS. I’ve now got some movement on my issues due to internal folks at Oracle, and one of the issues is due to my lack of understanding. 🙂 It was never about the SRs themselves. It was about the emotional cost of dealing with Oracle Support to get a reasonable response, even if that response is “Don’t be stupid, Stupid!”

MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them?

A couple of days ago I took to Twitter with a rather “incendiary” tweet caused by my frustration with MOS. It’s not about the specific SR or issue itself. It’s more a frustration with MOS generally and the way they handle some requests, specifically the automatic responses. I’ll explain.

The Moaning

  • I had an issue.
  • I Googled and didn’t find too much in the way of help.
  • I opened a SR about the issue, including an image to help explain my issue.
  • During that process it suggested some other stuff I might want to look at, one of which was quite interesting, but none of which were actually relevant. No problems I thought. At least I’ve learned something…
  • Next thing I get some emails about updates to my call. I logged in to find these 4 responses.
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
  • I was really angry about the auto-responses, and unloaded on Twitter using some rather “choice language”…

I totally understand a request for more information. The response of, “Please upload the RDA/TFA/AHF file”, is common and understandable on many occasions. It does annoy me more than a little when you are asking a general question, that is not specific to your software version, but you still have to upload it. Whatever…

So why did I lose the plot this time?

  • There are 4 messages, instead of one consolidated message. I hate that. It’s annoying. I just know that someone is running a report saying, “Look, we’ve done 1 gazillion responses this month”, but it’s all generated crap! This should have been one concise and clear request for additional information.
  • Just look at that second response. Are you kidding me? Loads of rubbish I don’t need to know and repetition of the first message. If I sent this sort of message to my users I’d be marched out of the building. If you think this is acceptable, please quit your job now! You have no place in a role that is even remotely user-facing.
  • How do you think people are going to respond to this? It makes me angry and I kind-of know what I’m doing. How do you expect some junior member of staff to respond to this? I’ll tell you how. They will ignore it, never fix the issue and think “Oracle is crap”. Thanks! Just what we need. I asked a colleague to look at it and their response was, “It’s like they don’t want you to continue with the request”. See?
  • People pay a lot of money for support, and this is what you are presented with? Really?

I’ve now deleted the tweet. I was *not* asked to delete it, and if I had been I definitely would not have, but I decided to because it was gathering too much momentum, such is the general feeling about Oracle Support, and it was not meant to be me grandstanding. It was just genuine frustration with a service my company is paying money for!

I’m a fan of automation. I understand wanting to streamline the SR process, and if automation can help, that’s great, but this is not the way to do it!

What should it look like?

It’s just my opinion, but I think something like this would be reasonable.

We need more information to continue. Please run the following Trace File Analyzer (TFA) commands and upload the files.

1) Run this command on the Agent target machine and answer the questions when prompted.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emtbsmetric

2) Enable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugon

Repeat the actions in EM that you are trying to diagnose, then disable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugoff

If you need more information about TFA or manual file collection for this issue, check out DOC ID 2279135.1.

If you would like to read more about the My Oracle Support automatic troubleshooting, check out Doc ID 1929376.1.

A single message that asks for the relevant information, and gives links if you need something more. That gets the job done, isn’t scary to new people and isn’t going to cause me to lose it on Twitter.

Feedback from Oracle

You may have noticed this post in my feed for a couple of days, but when you clicked on it, it was password protected. That’s because I wrote the post to provide some better feedback than my initial tweet, but delayed the publication while I waited for some feedback from Oracle. I was put in contact with the Vice President, Global Customer Support and the Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support. Their respective responses were as follows. I’ve left out their names as not all folks like being name-checked.

“Hi Tim, Just reviewed your blog post and agree that the auto-responses are verbose. Adding our DB proactive lead who will follow up with you directly on planned next steps.”

Vice President, Global Customer Support

“Hi Tim, I have reviewed your blog regarding your experiences with SR automation. I want to thank you for providing this feedback. Direct feedback from users of SR automation is extremely important and valuable. We take the effectiveness of our SR automation very seriously. Our intention is to provide a streamlined support experience which allows us to identify information, up front in the SR, that will result in the shortest resolution time. There is a balance between casting a wide net to ensure we receive all diagnostic data required vs. the ease of consuming/executing the request to get that data. Admittedly, we don’t always strike the correct balance.   

Regarding the case described in your blog, I agree that our diagnostic messaging should be more concise and consumable. I also appreciate your thoughts on using collectors, such as TFA, to simplify the instructions. We have a plan to address this specific automation flow to eliminate superfluous information and provide a clear message around what is required and how to obtain that information. Additionally, I will incorporate your feedback into our review process, which is conducted on an on-going basis for our automation flows. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other feedback or suggestions. As I said, this kind of feedback is appreciated and always welcomed.”

Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support

The whole Twitter episode wasn’t my finest moment, but if nothing else I’m glad the message got through to the correct people. Of course, all of this is just words unless something substantial happens. Please don’t let us down!

To everyone else out there, please continue to add your own constructive feedback on all things (in life). There’s no point complaining about a problem, if you’ve never actually raised it. I think of it like voting. If you didn’t bother to vote, I don’t really think you are entitled to moan about the outcome.



PS. Comments are disabled.

MOS is driving me crazy…

Why oh why can’t the My Oracle Support (MOS) website actually work like it is meant to?

I have been trying to get set up to use the new companies CSIs and it is driving me crazy. I’m on the “Support IDs and Privileges” page and I either get:

  • No buttons.
  • Some buttons, but not the one I need to request access to the CSIs.
  • A request access button, that doesn’t work.

I get the same random (mis)behavior on the HTML and Flash versions. I checked with another guy in the office and his account is doing the same thing, so it’s not an issue specific to my account. I’ve also tried on IE, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. No luck.

Can we please ditch these versions and have the old APEX version back? It’s wasn’t as pretty, but at least it worked!

I rang Oracle Support to try and figure it out. The lady talked me through the whole process, asking me to click links or buttons that didn’t exist on my screen. It’s more than a little ironic that you need Oracle Support to actually use the MOS website…

So I am in MOS limbo. I can use my personal account and CSI, but who knows if I will ever get the company account working…