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Oracle is allowing qualified channel partners to directly sell its cloud services, giving solution providers a new option beyond the "referral sell" they have been limited to before now.
Oracle is also offering new "back-end" rebates for selling specific products and services that encourage partners to sell software and storage systems with Oracle servers. And, the company is renewing for fiscal 2014 other rebates it began offering last year designed to boost channel sales of specific Oracle products and services.
While those changes to the Oracle Partner Network program are being announced during the company's annual OPN Kickoff Tuesday, channel partners say other changes may be underway, including rules that inhibit the company's direct sales force from locking up customer accounts early in the fiscal year.
Under the existing cloud referral program any registered OPN partner can earn a commission by bringing in new customers for Oracle's cloud services. So far more than 100 partners have generated some 500 active deals under that initiative, said Jeff Porter, Oracle director of product channel sales, in an interview.
Partners can develop a range of services around Oracle's cloud applications once they become certified or "specialized" in such areas as fixed-scope cloud implementation best practices.
Until now, however, Oracle handled the actual sale of cloud services, including managing all subscription billing to the customer. Under the new option Oracle will offer discounted cloud software subscriptions to partners that can resell them to their customers and handle the billing, subscription renewals, upgrades, change management and other chores -- owning all aspects of the customer relationship.
To qualify, partners must be ranked OPN Gold or higher, be specialized in the cloud service they are reselling and demonstrate their ability to deliver a fixed-scope implementation of the cloud service, Porter said.
On the sales incentives, last year Oracle began offering rebates for partners that sell support contracts attached to product sales, partners that sell "strategic" hardware products and partners that register deals for sales into what Oracle calls the "broad market," or customers Oracle doesn't list as named accounts.
In addition to continuing those rebates in fiscal 2014, which began June 1, Oracle is now offering rebates when partners sell Oracle servers combined with Oracle storage systems, as well as rebates when partners "add to the stack" by selling Oracle hardware or software to a customer who bought other Oracle products within the same quarter, according to Porter.
"We think these are fairly unique offerings out there in the market," Porter said. "We want to create more incentives for partners, and the best way to do that is to make it more profitable."