Oracle rebuilding its channel

Oracle is trying to become more channel-friendly in North America by improving distribution and providing more programs for VARs and ISVs.At its OpenWorld conference last month, CEO Larry Ellison said North America is more “channel-challenged” than other regions of the world. In the past, the company was biased toward direct sales, he said, but it’s doing a better job of that now.
The company is rebuilding its channel, incorporating partners and partner programs from its recent acquisitions, including PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Retek and, when it’s completed, Siebel Systems.
During the conference Oracle announced an Applica-tion Integration Initiative for Certified and Certified Advantage Partners.
This is an evolution of its previous program, combined with PeopleSoft’s software certification program, and includes the Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne and J.D. Edwards World product lines.
The program is open to VARs and ISVs wanting to integrate their solutions with Oracle applications.
Most of the recent announcements won’t affect Mississauga, Ont.-based Active Intelligence, a former Retek systems integrator that has been brought under the Oracle umbrella. It will continue to focus on the Retek side of the business.
“Our interest is in specific niche applications,” said Pompi Malik, president of Active Intelligence.
His concern is how Retek’s products will be integrated and supported within Oracle’s Project Fusion, which is trying to merge the company’s recent acquisitions.
While he isn’t worried the products will disappear, he isn’t sure how Retek will evolve as a component of Fusion.
He said, however, that Active Intelligence would benefit from Oracle’s global reach. “It’s opening up more opportunities to become more than a systems integrator.”
At the conference he met Oracle VARs wanting more information about Retek and partnering opportunities.
OTO Global Solutions Inc. is an Oracle reseller based in Montreal. David Hodge, the company’s sales director, said he was happy to hear Oracle make a commitment to the mid-market. He also believes the timing was right for Oracle to acquire Siebel and make it part of Fusion.
Oracle is trying to fuse “heritage” Oracle resellers with former PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Retek VARs.
Rauline Ochs, Oracle’s group vice-president of North American alliances and channels, said it will “morph” partners into one larger group, while continuing to offer different practices.
Oracle also made distribution announcements with both Tech Data and Ingram Micro to extend its products, including Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware, into the SMB space. Tech Data will begin recruiting resellers, who will receive technical support. Ingram is also looking for VARs.

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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