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Oracle Senior Vice President Judson Althoff knows that in athletics, as with channel initiatives, it is sometimes a marathon and not a sprint.
The veteran triathlete has learned that discipline in the form of a regular workout schedule, engineering in the form of a custom-made bicycle frame and execution born from his mental strength and stamina will pay off in big performance gains in the multi-sport (swimming, cycling and running) event.
Partners credit that same marathon-like dedication and perseverance for the gains Althoff has made moving Oracle from a direct sales-dominated database software maker to a partner-engaged maker of innovative hardware/software-engineered systems that encompass applications, middleware, storage and servers.
If Oracle President Mark Hurd provided the strategic vision to move Oracle to channel high ground, Althoff, a 12-year Oracle veteran, has provided the execution skills, leveraging his knowledge of the organization to get the job done.
“Part of his success comes from his experience through all of his roles at Oracle,” said Howard Moore, president and CEO of Keste, Plano, Texas, one of Oracle’s top partners. “He knows how to navigate Oracle and understands the psychology of the company. He has been on the front lines and has moved up the organization with a lot of hard work. The channel likes that about Judson. He’s like one of us.”
When Althoff took the top channel job three years ago, he started a steady channel march that began with stepped-up partner training for Oracle’s expanding product portfolio under a Partner Enablement 2.0 initiative, then onto new Oracle Partner Specializations and, finally, in the past year, dramatic improvements in rebate incentives that have made Oracle margins competitive with others in the industry.
Partners praise Althoff’s keen listening and diplomacy skills as he has executed widespread partner program changes. “It really feels good to be heard, and not just be heard but to see action taking place,” said Mardi Norman, president and CEO of Dynamic Systems Inc., an El Segundo, Calif., federal integrator.
Althoff, an Illinois Institute of Technology mechanical engineering graduate who credits his math teacher/debate coach mother for “instilling the importance of discipline and academics at a young age,” had roles in both channel and product management before taking the worldwide channel job. Previously, Althoff was head of the Oracle Technology Channel Program Office, where he developed go-to-market initiatives for midsize businesses; and director of E-Business Solutions responsible for developing next-generation enterprise applications. Before Oracle, he was a district sales manager overseeing a direct/indirect sales team at EMC.