Oracle Channel Chief: Leading Partners to 2011 Profits?
Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff has spent the past eight months drinking from a fire hose. In late 2009, Althoff and his team launched the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized partner program. In early 2010, Althoff played an encore with a range of specializations for Oracle and Sun Microsystems partners. Althoff’s next move occurs June 29, when Oracle kicks off its fiscal year 2011 channel strategy with partners. Here are the details — along with the opportunities and challenges awaiting Oracle partners.
No doubt, Oracle has some momentum heading into the FY11 Partner Kickoff event. Just last week, Oracle said it had restored the Sun Microsystems business to profitability. And Althoff has been busy promoting OPN Specialized server and storage efforts for Sun partners.
Still, Oracle is under attack on several fronts. The aggressors include:
- HP and Red Hat ganging up against Sun Sparc and Solaris;
- IBM Global Financing reaching out to Sun Partners;
- Upstarts like Ingres attempting to chip away at the Oracle-MySQL business;
- Organizations like ServiceKey assisting Sun VARs with alternative approaches to Sun customer maintenance; and
- SAP Channel Chief Kevin Gilroy claiming SAP is back and winning 25 new customers per day.
What? Me Worry?
Althoff realizes that Oracle’s partner team has been working overtime to coordinate the OPN Specialized efforts plus the Sun partner integration. Instead of addressing the Sun elephant all at once, Althoff has been telling partners to focus on two key areas of opportunity:
- Midrange CMT (Chip Multithreading) Servers
- Sun Storage, including offerings like Sun Open Storage and even tape storage
No doubt, Althoff will reinforce those messages during the June 29 kickoff event, which is designed to be global in nature. The VAR Guy has openly wondered if Oracle will announce any MySQL or OpenOffice specializations for partners. But in recent weeks, our resident blogger has started to realize Althoff is focused on the largest Oracle- and Sun-centric revenue and partner opportunities over the short term.
That likely means a continued emphasis on Oracle’s bread-and-butter databases and applications running on Sun hardware. But don’t be surprised if Althoff offers some SaaS specialization updates. Just a hunch… but The VAR Guy recalls Oracle offering SaaS pricing to partners that wanted to build their own private or public clouds using Oracle’s software.
Surely, Althoff will touch on that topic — and more — during the June 29 online conference. The VAR Guy will be listening closely. As will Oracle’s partners — and rivals.