"The challenge is to help our partners move into that product portfolio," said Judson Althoff, group vice president of worldwide alliances and channels. That means getting Oracle's 20,000 channel partners up to speed on the company's vastly expanded database, middleware and application software lineup and convincing them of the opportunities to sell a broader array of products such as business intelligence, content management and application lifecycle management software.
To do that Althoff's organization in September unveiled a series of initiatives under the moniker Partner Enablement 2.0, including expanded partner training and improvements to the Oracle PartnerNetwork portal. The training includes new "boot camp" sessions, some taught by third-party companies, on such topics as application integration infrastructure and best practices for migrating customers from Microsoft SQL Server to the Oracle database.
Aggressive direct sales have always been a part of Oracle Corp.'s DNA and the job of managing the vendor's channel efforts can be challenging. Douglas Kennedy and Rauline Ochs, who oversaw Oracle's worldwide and North America channel programs, respectively, made a lot of progress boosting the visibility of the channel within the software giant and improving life for its channel partners.
Kennedy and Ochs both left Oracle early this year and that had some wondering whether Oracle would slip back into its old ways. But Althoff said channel organizations in North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and other regions had become more "siloed" and the management changes provided an opportunity for Oracle to develop a more unified channel program.
"Every challenge brings an opportunity," he said.