Oracle, not exactly known for its channel-friendliness in the past, is now cutting partners in on a much bigger chunk of its business.
With new rules of engagement, disclosed to select partners nine days ago, Oracle is raising the level of partner involvement in many of its biggest accounts.
In the past, partners sold into companies with up to $200 million in revenue. With the new program, that bar has been raised to $1 billion. The changes are part of an ongoing evolution of the company's channel program, said Ken Muse, vice president of North America sales channels at Oracle.
Partners with qualified sales opportunities can enter them into a new Web-based Channel Opportunity Registration System, Muse said. That pipeline information is viewable only by Oracle's channel organization. The first partner to enter a valid opportunity will get Oracle's support in that business, he said.
Oracle's Open Market Model "is a very positive statement for the channel," said Matt Reaves, vice president of software marketing and sales at KeyLink Systems, a division of Pioneer-Standard Electronics, Cleveland.
The program should increase opportunities for Oracle software in the channel, he added.
The key is whether Oracle salespeople are incented and ordered to follow the rules, solution providers said.
The new program appears blessed not only by Oracle Executive Vice President of North America Sales George Roberts, but by Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison himself.
Sources said Ellison met with key company executives shortly before Oracle Open World last month to hear about proposed channel program changes. "He said: 'So these resellers promote our products where we don't or can't? We like them,' " a source close to the software company said.
"For the second-largest software company that just three years ago told the channel to take a flying leap to turn around so quickly says something about its commitment," said one East Coast-based solution provider who requested anonymity.
Some partners, however, are waiting to see how the program is implemented before singing Oracle's praises. "Saying you can participate and actually being allowed to participate [in large accounts are two different things. . . . Oracle is talking the talk, let's see if they walk the walk," said Grady Crunk, executive vice president of Central Data, a $63 million per year solution provider in Titusville, Fla.