Oracle looks to improve partner offerings

Oracle looks to improve partner offerings

Oracle wants half its licence sales from the channel

Oracle is set to make a series of announcements designed to add to its current tools and training for channel partners. The database, applications and middleware vendor will announce the moves at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco from 22 to 26 October.

For the company's 2006 financial year, which ended in May, Oracle derived 44 percent of its worldwide licence revenue from sales by its 17,700-plus partners. The percentage of indirect sales has mostly risen over the past five years at Oracle, up from a starting point of around 30 percent, says Doug Kennedy, Oracle’s vice president of worldwide alliances and channels.

However, 2006's 44 percent was down on the previous year's 47 percent, a slight dip, he says, due to a number of acquisitions. Some of the companies acquired, such as Siebel, included sizeable direct sales forces. The ultimate goal is for Oracle to derive just under half of its total licence revenue sales from its channel partners.

Indirect sales of its software continue to be very important for Oracle, according to Kennedy. "Partners are key to our success," he said in a recent interview.

Oracle's mix of direct and indirect sales is different around the world, with channel sales predominating in Asia-Pacific, accounting for 78 percent or higher of licence revenue, says Kennedy. With its new and revamped planned resources, Oracle is seeking to address concerns voiced by partners.

In the past, Oracle brought out new releases of its applications and then built the training for the channel, says Kennedy. In the future Oracle plans to offer its partners access to more than 500 pre-release training courses for its applications. Oracle also plans to offer such courses for its non-application software in future.

Partners also criticised Oracle for its training being "incomplete and inconsistent across the world", says Kennedy. Oracle is addressing that concern by building around 200 so-called guided learning paths, each containing 12 to 16 courses, so partners can educate themselves on the vendor's products. He expects the rollout of the new training will be complete within six months.

In 2006, Oracle's focus was on how to better enable its systems integrator partners. In its 2007 financial year, the emphasis is on ISVs (independent software vendors), says Kennedy. Oracle currently has more than 8,500 ISVs.

Oracle is working to improve the content on its Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) portal, aimed at ISVs that are also developers. The company is also enhancing its OPN Solutions Catalogue, which provides information about Oracle partners worldwide so it'll be easier for overseas ISVs to find a systems integrator in the US, says Kennedy.

Oracle will also provide ISV Solutions Maps via OPN. The maps will give partners an overview of the software Oracle and some of its partners provide vertically in a given industry, as well as horizontally across a particular technology. Oracle intends to release over 20 maps, starting with overviews of the communications industry and human capital management.

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