Enablement 2.0 begins with a revamped Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) portal, organized around the same areas as Oracle.com: database, middleware, applications and industries.Enhancements include improved navigation that provides access to tools and resources in three clicks or less, a special page of links to the current most popular pages on the site, Rotating Features and Hot Areas sections that provide information on how to expand business through Oracle acquisitions, highlighted case studies, new programs and upcoming events, and content repositories known as Knowledge Zones that collect product information organized around Oracle’s key product areas and lines of business.
As well, an enhanced ordering portal will automate the process as well as facilitating bulk and ISV orders.
RSS feeds allow partners to pull news and content directly from OPN into their newsreaders, and social media tools let them connect to each other, to Oracle, and to customers and prospects.
All of these features are in response to partner feedback, said Judson Althoff, group vice president, worldwide alliances and channels, and he hopes that feedback will continue. “It’s no longer a push environment, it’s a conversation – a conversation we want you to join.”Training options have also been expanded to provide better resources for smaller partners. The new three tier strategy begins, as before, with Oracle University and its premium offerings, certification, and instructor–led training.
Tier two instruction is provided by regional third party delivery partners, and includes in-person boot camp training, online Guided Learning Paths and assessments.
Tier three content is delivered by Oracle via the Web, and includes the same content as tier two.”I think a good part of our announcement is targeting (smaller) partners in particular,” said Althoff. “Part of the enablement strategy is making sure partners large and small can monetize our acquisitions. We’ve spent this three – five year period acquiring nearly 50 companies and expanding our portfolio from 1,000 to 9,000 products, but until now really haven’t had an effective way of making sure that, whether you’re a small partner in Canada or whether you’re IBM Global Services, we can dramatically increase your skills.”
Through the boot camps, partners will be able to receive instruction on implementing Oracle’s newly acquired products at no or low cost, either through daytime classes for one week, or evening classes over a longer period. There are currently a dozen courses on the subjects most requested by regional alliances available, according to Althoff, with more to come.
“We want to make sure that we’ve got the right skills being delivered to the partners,” said Althoff. “The opportunity for the partners, particularly for the small ones, is that for the first time they have a low-cost vehicle to get this kind of knowledge and to build practices around Oracle products. This new model opens up the doors to the marketplace.”
Course materials are managed by Oracle Alliances and Channels, and have been open sourced; they are provided free of charge to delivery partners. Oracle hosts a content repository which includes material from the delivery partners, its own development teams, Oracle consulting, partners with domain expertise and other sources.
Althoff said that he already has a number of partners wanting to contribute content to the open source repository or to be delivery partners, and he’s delighted with the response.
“We’re the aggregators of knowledge from many different sources inside of Oracle as well as from the partner community, so it’s pretty exciting,” he said. “You get people who are really happy and proud to submit their work to the greater whole. You get partners from all over the world who say, “I’ve got this little piece I really want to share, and I’m proud of it”, and it’s a really neat thing.”