Oracle and Mark Hurd: Two Key Channel Questions Worth AskingOracle and Mark Hurd: Two Key Channel Questions Worth Asking
As Hewlett-Packard attempts to block former CEO Mark Hurd from joining Oracle, The VAR Guy is weighing another question: Will Hurd potentially help or hurt Oracle's channel partner strategy? Some pundits think Hurd is a major channel partner advocate.
September 7, 2010
question markAs Hewlett-Packard attempts to block former CEO Mark Hurd from joining Oracle, The VAR Guy is weighing another question: Will Hurd potentially help or hurt Oracle’s channel partner strategy? Some pundits think Hurd is a major channel partner advocate. But Hurd’s leadership style also raises two key questions for Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized VARs. Here they are.
First, did anybody ever bother asking how much of HP’s revenues flow through the channel? Hmmm… The VAR Guy raised that specific question during the HP Americas Partner Conference in mid-2010. Alas, HP politely declined to answer the question.
In stark contrast, outgoing Oracle Co-President Charles Phillips and Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff have always openly disclosed how much of Oracle’s revenue flows through the channel. Specifically, Althoff and Phillips have openly stated that 40 percent of Oracle’s revenues and 80 percent of sales transactions involve the channel. Let’s hope Hurd adopts a similar management open-book style at Oracle — assuming HP’s lawsuit doesn’t block Hurd from joining Oracle.
Volume vs. Value
Another key point: During the HP Americas Partner Conference 2010, HP’s channel pitch to VARs was fairly simple. Over and over again, Hurd and his lieutenants called on partners to sell more PCs, servers and networking equipment. For the most part, HP was pitching sales volumes rather than partner value.
In stark contrast, Oracle’s Althoff has spent nearly a year promoting the OPN Specialized partner program. Instead of simply reselling Sun server and storage boxes, Althoff has been pushing Sun partners to sell solutions — applications, middleware, databases and so on. Here again, let’s hope Hurd shifts from a unit sales mentality to a channel solutions mentality.
Of course, The VAR Guy could be splitting hairs: Hurd, after all, earned plenty of praise for restoring HP to prominence. And no doubt, plenty of HP partners profited once Hurd stepped into HP’s CEO role. Can he repeat that channel success at Oracle? Or will Hurd focus mostly on direct enterprise sales? Either way, Larry Ellison has once again grabbed the attention of CIOs. And that can’t be a bad thing for OPN Specialized channel partners.
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