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What has Oracle President Mark Hurd brought to the company?
The two things I would say is: support and awareness.We had grown so fast over the last five years as a company. Look when we were a database company and it really wasn’t that long ago. We dabbled in areas for a long time but if you looked at our 10K and you looked at how our revenue was split we were a database company.
Most of the reigning sales executives and leaders from the company come from that period of time. We make all those acquisitions and suddenly partnering, channel all facets of how we partner become more and more strategic and important to us. Without somebody who has a cultural background understanding the importance of the channel and leadership like Mark, it makes my job extremely hard to ramp sales leaders around the world and get them motivated about working with partners.
Whereas Mark asks about it from as granular a level as a weekly forecast call: okay, what are you planning on (in sales) from the channel this week? So there is an awareness and support of everything I am trying to do. I have never had a boss who wanted to go make house calls on VARs with me. Mark says, let's go see these guys. And we have done it.
In the last five quarters since Mark has been here we have made more presidential level house calls to channel partners than probably in my 12 year history at Oracle. The (channel) support and awareness he brings to the executive team is phenomenal.
Releasing a product like the Oracle Database Appliance that is largely due to the kind of leadership he brings to the table saying 'This engineered system thing we have got going is great. It is great for the high end of the market. But if we gave something like this to the channel it could really, really sell. Getting the cultural bias of Oracle moved in that direction that is the kind of support he brings.
Was Mark key in driving the cost of the hardware software integrated system to the SMB with the Oracle Database Appliance?
Larry has been the driving force behind our R&D for many years. And the way he thinks and most of our development organization thinks is how can we provide extreme performance and break barriers down for our biggest customers. Then you bring a guy like Mark in and they are like the perfect pair because Mark sees all these things immediately from the business angle as well.
So you really get the best of both worlds. You get Larry Ellison's innovation and engineering emphasis. And then you get Mark's desire to execute and sell. These things are really hitting stride well. And then you have Mark saying Look at this business value equation of inverted performance so if you want cost taken out with the same performance, we can do that too. That is what has led to products like the Database Appliance. There is no coincidence why it's me doing the product launch for Database Appliance and not the product guy.
Talk about the Oracle ecosystem and where you are seeing growth?
The area where it gets a little tricky on number is some of these folks are all of the above. They are an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) massive integrator and in some parts of the world they are also a reseller for us. So some kind of check off all buckets. Similarly the divide between the VARs (Value Added Resellers) and SIs (Systems Integrators) these days.
Try to get a VAR to admit they are a VAR anymore is tough.When we look at the demographics of the 4,500 registrants (at the Oracle OpenWorld Partner conference), 60-65 percent of them, over 2,500, indicated they are an SI. Now when we go and actually look at their profile they are our biggest resellers. But those resellers don't want to be called resellers. They all want to be mini-Accentures.
That actually speaks well to where this industry is headed: this notion of surviving as a pure reseller without some sort of a services play or some value added activity on top of just the mere management of a procurement cycle is where the future is turning.
Today the total Oracle partner ecosystem across all these facets covers around the 21,000 mark and growing. That is discreet entitites. Roughly 10,000 of those entities- and here is where you get into sort of the Venn Diagam - consider themselves ISVs so they have some sort of packaged IP (intellectual property). The rest of them are across the VAR/Integrator base. So in terms of who we look at actual reselling entities in Fiscal year 2011, we had just north of 12,000 discreet entitites reselling our product around the world.
At the top of the food chain, probably the top 300-500 partners we have play in all facets. They have some sort of packaged IP. They have some services focus. Or some core reselling element. So roughly 12,000 entities resold our products last year and that is across all segments - hardware and software.