Meet Oracle, For the Second Time
Oracle is a channel-friendly company. No matter how many times he reads that first sentence, it’s still hard for The VAR Guy to believe. But it seems to be true.
During the 1990s, Oracle’s aggressive direct sales team earned a notorious reputation for competing with channel partners. But feuds between Oracle and its partners are rare these days. “It all started to change when Charles arrived,” notes a database partner in New York. Charles, in this case, is Oracle President Charles Phillips. The former Wall Street analyst joined Oracle in 2003. “When Charles joined the company he brought with a commitment to the channel,” says Rauline Ochs, group VP for North America alliances and channels. “He spent his career speaking to software companies understanding best-of-breed organizations.” Further commitment to the channel came from Keith Block, executive VP for North America sales and consulting, Ochs says.
How has Oracle changed? Consider the situation among small and midsize customers. All customers with $100 million or less in annual revenue are pure partner plays, notes Ochs. Oracle sales representatives who previously targeted those customers have turned over their territories to partners, she says.
The results appear promising. Despite a flurry of acquisitions–PeopleSoft, Siebel, etc.–there have been few press reports involving Oracle partners running to the competition. And at the same time, Wall Street is increasingly upbeat about Oracle’s performance. Oracle’s recent sales momentum is particularly impressive, considering the growing popularity of open-source databases such as MySQL.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” says Ochs. “Over the last 12 months we’ve seen the industry shift our way.”
In the enterprise space, Oracle continues to work with big integrators and consulting firms. But as you move down into the SMB sector, “we’re still in partner recruitment mode” as Oracle takes aim at Microsoft, Ochs says.