Software giant, Oracle, has given its global partner program a facelift. The company first formalised its channel program in 1997 and launched its Oracle Partner Network (OPN) portal in 2002. Through internal development and acquisitions, the vendor has grown its product portfolio significantly and wanted to provide more differentiation between partners that focused on various product areas. “The partner community has grown quite expansively over the past few years and a lot of partners want to get involved in the breadth of the product offerings we have, so we really needed to revamp the program to allow them to get access to information and help the partners develop their business in those offerings,” Oracle strategy, key partner program and infrastructure vice-president, Mark Shapcott, says. The revamped OPN introduces 35 product specialisations in areas such as business intelligence, database and applications. Shapcott said by the end of the fiscal year, Oracle planned to increase that number to 50. OPN has four tiers: entry level, silver, gold and platinum. Specialisation begins at the gold tier. Partners that want to be accredited will need to sit a competency assessment online. Knowledge on each of the 35 categories can be accessed through OPN online portal’s knowledge zones. Once a partner passes an assessment, it will receive a recognition logo in its chosen field. “This give branding, recognition and creates a profile for other partners in OPN, for customers and for Oracle so we can be confident in working with them,” Shapcott says. Once a partner gains five or more specialisations, it will be promoted to the platinum tier. Oracle has more than 22,000 partners worldwide. They include resellers, system integrators and independent software vendors (ISVs).