Oracle Extends Its Cloud Reach in the Channel
Oracle formed an open cloud community and will be making a raft of cloud services available via a two-tier distribution program that includes Tech Data, Arrow Electronics, Avnet and NextGen, Oracle announced at its OpenWorld 2014 conference this week.
The company wants the various types of channel partners that are converging on the cloud to be able to more easily share knowledge, experiences and opportunities without necessarily having to formally join the Oracle Partner Network (OPN), said Jeff Porter, Oracle director of worldwide alliances and channels.
"The lines are blurring in the cloud," Porter said. "It's no longer so much about whether you're a VAR or an ISV."
In the last year, Oracle has added more than 4,600 partners to its rolls, mainly via the acquisition of a wide range of companies that already sold through the channel. As the cloud continues to evolve, there is a lot more blending of business models with many ISVs, for example, now offering integration services and VARs increasingly building applications to add value, Porter explained. The key thing in all these instances is that successful Oracle channel partners are building business models based on a recurring revenue model, Porter said.
To better work with the Oracle field sales team, the company wants its channel partners to focus on areas it doesn't reach itself, he said.
Rather than showing up for the same opportunities as the Oracle sales team, Oracle would ideally prefer to see its channel partners helping extend Oracle's market penetration, especially in small and midsize (SMB) accounts, Porter said. That doesn't necessarily mean that Oracle won't work with partners to fulfill business generated by the Oracle sales team, but it does mean that Oracle will be spending more time in the coming year trying to align everyone's prospective efforts, he added.
Oracle for the last quarter has been piloting a new channel program on the West Coast, where it worked closely with channel partners in that region to better align sales efforts, said Tom LaRocca, Oracle senior vice president for channels and alliances in North America. The company isn't necessarily looking to recruit additional partners as much as it is seeking to optimally focus the efforts of its partners as Oracle itself makes the transition to the cloud, he said.
"We're going to be getting a lot more granular in terms of how we manage the sales pipeline," LaRocca said. "The best way for our partners to make the transition to the cloud is to align with our field sales."
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.