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Can Avnet change Oracle’s direct stripes?

Oracle says it needs the channel but would rather go direct

It’s a tough situation when you are caught in the middle. And, lets face it Avnet is caught in the middle between Oracle and its preference of selling direct.

I have covered many vendors who preferred selling direct. Dell comes to mind until they found new religion in the channel a few years ago. EMC told me they described themselves as a direct selling organization. Both companies, however, understood the value of the channel and even though they pursued direct business with vigor they acknowledged that they could not be everything to everybody.

Oracle has to find this path somehow and Avnet may have provided the guide they need.

The distributor outlined two targeted plans for Oracle solution providers. The first is called “Under our Wing” and the second is simply titled “Value Masters”.

In Under our Wing, solution providers get some expert tips on the Oracle Partner Network specialization process. It contains tools, training, dedicated personnel and other lead generation resources. The dedicated staff I find is a key feature; sometimes solution providers need some hand holding.

But with Oracle, I think they need a compass that can direct them in the right areas for success. Oracle today provides one of the best high margin opportunities in the market place. These solution sales are lucrative but also quite complex with an Avnet specialist helping you out it can make the whole process better. And, it does not hurt having someone in your corner if Oracle decides to compete with you.

In Value Masters, the program is designed to educate Sun partners and improve their business models to increase their value to customers.

Again Avnet’s team, using SWOT analysis along with inside knowledge from Oracle channel managers will push partners to accelerate the joint planning process. These plans detail actionable steps partners can take to achieve market specialization and the resources Avnet and Oracle have available to assist partners in achieving their long-term goals.

The key message in all this is value. If Oracle is to changes it corporate culture and truly embrace channel they must see value coming from the solution providers. This is what led Dell to switch and EMC to work more with the channel. I applaud Avnet for developing some call to action plans to further this along. They maybe still caught in the middle, but at least they are doing something about it.

At Ingram Micro, the company announced a new, one-of-a-kind Mobile Broadband Activation Program for Lenovo’s extensive portfolio of 3G and 4G-embedded laptops. On behalf of Lenovo, Ingram Micro is providing wireless activation services for a broad selection of ThinkPad laptops and IdeaPad netbooks to the channel.

Arrow Electronics posted its financials and they are not too bad. Arrow’s second quarter 2010 net income of $116.2 million on sales of $4.61 billion were up from last year at this time when it reported net income of $21.1 million on sales of $3.39 billion in the second quarter of 2009.

You can follow me on Twitter at PaoloCDN@Twitter.com.