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Today, Althoff oversees an Oracle channel organization made up of what he calls roughly “2,500 people around the world that live, eat, breathe and sleep partners.” That staff is likely to get bigger with Althoff leading an aggressive recruitment blitz aimed at growing Oracle’s solution provider network by 25 percent to 25,000 over the next year.
The blitz comes as Oracle is investing more than it ever has in targeting the broad small- and medium-business market. With the new Oracle Database Appliance, the company is attempting to bring on board top partners from the likes of Hewlett-Packard, VMware, Red Hat, EMC and NetApp, said Althoff. He said the target is the upper-echelon VARs from competitors that have been selling products on top of Oracle software.
“Those are the guys we are going after,” he said. “They actually know how to speak to this notion of a federated stack. They also know how to speak to a customer about why a more elegant solution that is engineered from top to bottom is a more effective fit for the customer.”
Those solution providers that take the time to evaluate the Oracle Database Appliance and the Oracle partner program will find a much different Oracle than from just two years ago. The company’s partner program and go-to-market strategy have been completely revamped to sell hardware/software-engineered systems.
Oracle is promising partners selling the Database Appliance margins in the mid- to high teens. The Oracle channel offering even includes for the first time rebates (hardware and software) directly paid to VARs rather than VADs (value- added distributors) and a pay-as-you-grow software licensing model for the Database Appliance.
“Based on the old model when all we did was pay rebates to a distributor, whatever got passed downstream was highly subjective, meaning some VARs were getting paid and others weren’t getting anything,” said Althoff. “Now based on the economic plan that we have, it is quantifiable.”
The new channel program has allowed Oracle to provide incentives directly to the “folks that talk to customers,” said Althoff. And, he said, the “feedback we are getting directly from these guys and, trust me, they are not shy when they are unhappy, is they are thrilled. It is very competitive, more competitive than Oracle has ever been. And, oh, by the way, they are saying the products are also more competitive than they have ever been.”
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