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Several channel partners said they are hearing of other changes within Oracle's channel operations, both in management and in organizational processes.
"I know there's a lot happening behind the scenes," said one partner who asked not to be identified. "They tell me there's a lot of reorganization going on," he said, referring to people he knows within the company.
One partner, who also asked not to be identified, said he was told by his partner account manager that Oracle is making changes to its sales processes that will make it tougher for direct sales representatives to claim potential customers ahead of partners. In the past, the partner said, sales reps would call a prospect and then "pipe it" as their opportunity, effectively blocking partners from registering deals with that customer prospect.
Now, the partner executive said, direct sales reps "have to justify that opportunity at the same level of granularity as the partner." That, combined with changes being made to sales territories, "are making it harder and harder for an Oracle rep to block partners out of their territories," the partner said. "It makes it highly beneficial for them to work with partners in their territory."
Overall, the partner said, "there's a significant, long-term, positive strategy [at Oracle] in leveraging the channel."
Judson Althoff, who had been Oracle's highly visible worldwide channel chief, left in March to lead Microsoft's sales and marketing efforts in North America. Oracle has not formally announced a replacement for Althoff, and one channel partner said his understanding is that Althoff's duties are being divided up among other channel executives.
Oracle's Porter confirmed that the company has been expanding support by direct sales for partners and OPN programs. But, he and Joel Borellis, Oracle group vice president of partner enablement, declined to comment on the channel partners' specific statements.
Oracle has some 25,000 partners worldwide, and about 5,000 of those have garnered one or more specialization designations, Borellis said. Oracle has awarded some 30,000 specializations, with many partners having multiple specializations, and partners altogether have 100,000 individuals certified to implement Oracle products, he said.