Hurd Urges Oracle Channel Partners To Pursue Specializations, Add Services

"We want the channel to do things that we don't," he said in a brief appearance before some 2,000 Oracle partners attending the Oracle PartnerNetwork Forum, the partner component here at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. He said that includes developing unique solutions Oracle can't offer, calling on potential customers Oracle can't reach, and wrapping value-added services around Oracle's vast portfolio of 9,000 products.

"What doesn't help us is to try to do the same thing we do in the same places we do," he said.

Hurd's brief pep talk to channel partners marked his first public appearance in person since he was named Oracle's president on Sept. 6. He spoke briefing on Oracle's first-quarter earnings call with financial analysts on Thursday.

Since its $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January, Oracle has been selling more Sun products directly to larger customers and emphasizing that channel partners must add value to Oracle and Sun products.

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Oracle has offered partners training and certification opportunities in what it calls "specializations" under the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program it launched last year. Sunday Oracle announced that it will expand that program to include "advanced specializations" and much of the Sunday OPN Forum focused on the value of partners obtaining those certifications.

"I think the whole theme I heard just before about specialization and bringing that whole [Oracle product] portfolio to market is a huge opportunity for partners," Hurd said. "And we need the help. For us it's all about growth, getting to markets we don't get to, with things we don't have in our basket."

Specifically addressing the services opportunity, Hurd said: "I think that's where there's a huge opportunity for the channel." Echoing comments CEO Larry Ellison made last week during the company's earnings call, Hurd said Oracle is first and foremost a product company and revenue generated by services has been flat for years.

"We want that to be your business," Hurd said. "We want you to wrap your services business around our portfolio. We think there's a lot of money to be made there."

Hurd was brought on stage by Judson Althoff, Oracle senior vice president of worldwide alliances, channels and embedded sales, who introduced Hurd as "my new boss."