In an effort to increase its partner and market presence among small and midsize businesses, Oracle on Sunday announced four major distribution and reseller agreements with Avnet, Dell Computer, Ingram Micro and Tech Data. Announced by Oracle President Charles Phillips in front of a partner audience assembled for Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, the agreements mark the next phase in the vendor’s efforts to tackle the SMB space.
Over the past year, the Redwood Shores, Calif., company has taken pains to reassure JD Edwards reseller/implementation partners, and has created a new channel for the Special Edition of its own E-Business Suite. In its next big step, Oracle is turning to distributors to recruit and support more application and technology VARs, who will sell into companies with up to $500 million in annual revenue.
As part of its brand new relationship with Ingram Micro, for example, Oracle expects the distributor to recruit and support 400 new resellers to offer Oracle's Fusion Middleware and database products.
“Ingram is strong in the midmarket technical markets, and they are moving up the value chain in helping their VARs deliver more complex solutions,” said Judson Althoff, vice president for Platform and Distribution Alliances at Oracle. “We are investing in that capability, targeting those white spaces, by region, where we are currently selling direct.”
Althoff said the new relationship with Tech Data will be “similar” to the one inked with Ingram Micro. Both will sell the full technology lines. Both will have similar recruitment and “incremental revenue” targets.
Oracle also has extended its relationship with Avnet Technology Solutions, adding applications to that distributor's mix. Now Avnet will recruit VARs for Oracle's E-Business Suite Special Edition, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and JD Edwards World, as well as offer financing, training, and support services to all new Special Edition and JD Edwards VARs.
“This is a very cool thing, said Fred Cuen, president of Avnet Technology Solutions for the Americas. “We are looking to find ISVs like Oracle [for which we] build a channel and target the SMB market. With Oracle, we have it all lined up: a great application, great technology to put it on, great partners. This is a big deal.”
According to Cuen, Avnet and Oracle has been working on the deal for the about six months. He said he hopes to recruit about 30 solution partners to sell Oracle’s integrated suite.
Oracle has also extended its agreement with Dell - giving the Round Rock, Texas powerhouse reseller rights to the full Oracle E-Business Suite and JD Edwards apps on top of Oracle's technology products.
Oracle partners were mixed in their enthusiasm.
"I think it's awesome that Oracle has put together a model that will allow us to add Special Edition to our arsenal," said Ron Zapar, CEO of Chicago-based Oracle partner, Re-Quest, who has wanted to offer the Special Edition package since its inception. "I absolutely plan to get in touch with Avnet."
"I wouldn't say this space suffers from a lack of JD Edwards partners," said Steven Colgrave, vice present of E-Business Suite/JD Edwards reseller, Profit Concepts International, Long Beach, Calif. "I certainly wouldn't like to see 10 partners here in the southern California region."
Not too surprisingly, few VARs were enamored with Dell's participation.
"More than one IT director has walked out with a Dell high-definition plasma TV when considering a purchase on the technical side," said one partner who asked not to be named. "Let's just say they have extremely aggressive tactics."
Still, Oracle hopes to calm partner fears about all of its distribution arrangements. "We are looking for adequate reach and volume, while not over-saturating the market, on the applications side," said Doug Kennedy, Oracle's vice president of Channels & Alliances. "A multi-tiered distribution model for applications is a new frontier for us, and we are looking for an appropriate coverage model. We'll know when we've gotten there."
And what of Dell in the reseller equation? "Dell can offer tremendous demand generation and telemarketing support," said Althoff. "They also need the right partners to deliver these solutions. At OpenWorld we'll be setting up meetings between Dell and potential go-to service partners throughout the U.S."
SCOTT CAMPBELL contributed to this article.