Interview: Oracle President Charles Phillips

CMP Channel Senior Editor Rick Whiting spoke with Oracle President Charles Phillips in an exclusive interview about Oracle's new SMB initiative. Here are excerpts from that discussion:

CRN: Why undertake this push now with Oracle's Technology products into SMB markets?

Phillips: We've finally got the ease-of-use and packaging right. Before, the focus was on enterprise capabilities like scalability. Now [the database] is a lot easier to install and configure. That's made it a lot easier for the midmarket. Another factor is that some distributors and resellers came to Oracle because they wanted a database on Linux. We're basically the main game in Linux. So the pieces are in place. The number of resellers and, hopefully, customers that can access the product has gone up substantially.

CRN: What are the strengths and weaknesses of Oracle's products in SMB markets?

Phillips: A strength is that customers can start out with [the SMB version of] the product and grow into the enterprise version. The ISV base is unmatched. And we're on every platform everybody cares about. Our only challenge now is reaching more customers via distribution and resellers.

Sponsored post

CRN: How much of your competition in databases comes from Microsoft?

Phillips: We don't see Microsoft in the enterprise space. They're more focused on competing with Google and building Xboxes. On the very low end, in organizations with 300 employees or less, they have the brand name and a reputation for being easier to use. There is the impression that Oracle is harder to use and higher priced. Our challenge is to re-educate the reseller.

CRN: Why so much emphasis on the channel for this initiative?

Phillips: It's just not a market that's well-suited for a direct-sales force. I think a lot of resellers would like an alternative to Microsoft—certainly the distributors have told us that. Over 80 percent of [Oracle Database] Standard Edition One goes through the channel and that's increasing.

CRN: What other products could be added to the VAD Remarketer program?

Phillips: We have a broad family of products. We have in-memory and embedded databases. There's a lot going on in [Fusion] middleware that could be brought down to SMB markets. And there are other things coming.

CRN: Why establish the new Oracle SMB Technology Program Office?

Phillips: You need a program office to look at this from the customer perspective and to provide focus and accountability. We needed it because with this program we needed to change processes, licensing and packaging, and there are legal and financial aspects to consider.