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1. BEA doesn't have the product or talent to go head to head against IBM or Microsoft in Software. Oracle Does.
BEA hasn't been a world class competitor to IBM since 1999. It had a great Web server early on that was a worthy competitor to IBM's WebSphere. But it fell off the map somewhere around the dot.com bust. For my money, IBM's software prowess has always been overrated in terms of innovative software that has an impact beyond the enterprise. In WebSphere, it had the flat out leading product in the market. IBM had a hit. And to its credit, it outmarketed and out-developed BEA to no end.
As for talent, BEA has been bleeding talent for the last several years. The list of BEA executives that have left for greener pastures is long. How ironic that former BEA Systems Chief Marketing Officer Marge Breya, who left BEA last December to join Business Objects as chief marketing officer, found herself at the center of another blockbuster software acquisition when SAP earlier this week made its move to acquire the business intelligence vendor. Just another sign that the software industry has moved from a best of breed product business to an integrated end-to-end comprehensive suite from one of only several software giants. Pick your poison partners: Oracle, SAP, IBM or Microsoft?
2. BEA's Channel Commitment Was Lackluster At Best. Oracle Is A Channel Stayer.
BEA was the classic blowing in the wind channel company. It's strategy and commitment changed every three or four years. My favorite headline from the CRN BEA archives: an oldy but goody from 2004 titled: Should You Trust BEA? Trust indeed.
It's no mistake that Oracle Channel Chief Rauline Ochs left BEA in April 2002 after she learned that BEA founder, chairman, CEO and president Alfred Chuang was putting the whammy on the channel. Chuang wakes up this morning to find that one of the most talented executives he let slip through his hands is for all practical purposes likely to be calling a lot of the sales shots for BEA.
Ochs took an organization that was fervently anti-channel and turned it into a channel savvy organization that is embracing partners broadly and deeply. It's no small matter that Ochs, senior vice president for Oracle's North America Alliance and Channels Organization, was named CMP Channel Group 2007 Executive of the Year. Ochs developed no-nonsense rules of engagement to rein in Oracle's direct sales force when she took the Oracle channel job. As far as channel culture, the Oracle sales organization is night and day from what it used to be. In the summer, Ochs pulled off what at one time was unthinkable: a move to push the Oracle database into the heart of the small medium business market with new partnerships with broadline distributors Ingram Micro, Tech Data and specialty distributor Arrow.
What it means is that solution providers, who once viewed the Oracle database as out of reach and were forced to settle for Microsoft's SQL Server at every turn, can now get their hands on Oracle 11G, Oracle Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition One (SE One) database software without jumping through bureaucratic hoops and paying big money to become an Oracle partner.
Now Ochs is poised to lead Oracle in a head-to-head face off with IBM's $20 billion software organization. IBM should be worried: Ochs, who spent 15 years at IBM, including a stint as vice president of channel sales for IBM's Americas Software organization, has the knowledge and talent to do some serious damage to Big Blue. Oracle is on the channel rise. IBM is on the channel decline.