Oracle Helps Partners Hit the AcceleratorBy Sharon Linsenbach | Print
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Oracle's Accelerate program can help VARs speed up their time to market.
Faced with increasing competition from lower-cost, offshore software integrators, DAZ Systems decided to try out Oracle's Accelerate program, the go-to-market strategy Oracle developed in August 2007 to better target midmarket customers. The bottom line?
"It works, it really, really works," says Walt Zipperman, co-founder and vice president of marketing for DAZ Systems. And by "work," Zipperman means the program boosted DAZ's revenue 38 percent the first year and cut down by about one-third the time it took DAZ to implement a solution, freeing up time for new business.
Oracle Accelerate is the name given to Oracle's overall midmarket strategy, says Tony Kender, senior vice president of global Accelerate Solutions at Oracle. Kender says the Oracle Accelerate solutions are industry-specific application bundles that are developed by and can be quickly implemented by qualified partners who receive Oracle Business Accelerators. Accelerators are rapid implementation tools, templates and standardized business process flows so partners can get their customers up to speed quickly with their Accelerate solutions.
"These are automated business flows that are industry specific. Development is wizard-based, so VARs can go plug in what is specific to their customer, add in what is standard for the industry, push a button and the solution is pre-configured," Kender says.
Tapping the midmarket is tricky, says Kender. Customers want lower-cost, higher-touch solutions that can be implemented very quickly, so they can get on with their business more effectively and efficiently.
Kender says many software vendors sell the midmarket different software solutions separate than those they sell to enterprise customers, which often results in a "watered down" piece of software that may not have needed functionality and might result in a rip-and-replace scenario if a company outgrows the solution.
"We understand that midmarket companies have the same complexity that large companies do, but not the resources. We give them the same software but with lower initial costs and lower implementation costs," Kender says. Accelerate solutions also slash the implementation and deployment time, meaning customers can get up and running much more quickly.
"Two years ago, when Oracle approached us with this strategy, they said these accelerators could cut from 20 percent to 33 percent off customer implementation time," Zipperman says.
While the numbers sounded good on paper, he said he wasn't entirely sold on the concept, since Oracle had tried similar preconfigured solutions in the past "with varying degrees of success."
Now, however, Zipperman says the reality is that using the Business Accelerators to implement Accelerator solutions just works. With 34 implementations under their belts, 25 more in the works and seven that are planned to go live in July, Zipperman says DAZ hasn't looked back.
"We thought, frankly, that with all the competition we had from offshore locations, that we might not be in business much longer unless we made some serious changes to the way we do business," says Zipperman. He says that being able to slash implementation time has been an incredible boost to DAZ's business, though the prospect of changing how DAZ provided solutions for its customers was initially scary.
"You'd think we'd cut out so much implementation time that we'd cannibalize our own revenue, right? Wrong. The client acceptance rate and the number of references we get from past clients to new ones has actually accelerated our revenue growth!" he says. And
standardizing on this approach has also made DAZ more competitive against solution providers selling arch-rival SAP's solutions.
Zipperman says DAZ is 90 percent successful against SAP when he has to go head to head against their solutions to win clients.
"It was a big commitment for me and for my business partner, Deborah Arnold, to go this way," Zipperman says, and while some partners may not want to go all the way at first, he believes that once partners try a few Accelerate solutions, they'll be hooked.
Kender says Oracle's looking forward to adding new channel partners and new Accelerate solutions worldwide. Currently, there are 123 Oracle Accelerate solutions.
"It's the channel partners that make this come alive, and we want to have more in every region, every country and every industry," Kender says. Since the solutions are industry specific, he says any partner can develop business accelerators for their specific customers' industry needs, even if it's as obscure as a partner serving Brazilian doorknob manufacturers.
"If there's a market for it, we will have a partner in it creating business accelerators," Kender says.