Oracle Opens Up Some Big Customer Accounts To The Channel

Oracle is trimming the number of top "named accounts" that it reserves for its direct sales force and is moving those accounts to the "broad market" category that's open territory for Oracle channel partners.

Oracle isn't specifically saying how many previously off-limits customers are now available to partners. But an Oracle channel executive, speaking Tuesday at the company's Oracle Partner Network Kick-Off event for fiscal 2013, described the move as "a material change."

The change followed feedback from partners that the list of approximately 2,000 global named accounts Oracle reserved for its direct sales was too large, said Thomas LaRocca, vice president of channel solutions and go to market.

"We listened to you, we've made the change," he said in an onstage conversation with Judson Althoff, senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels and embedded sales.

Sponsored post

[Related: Oracle Hits $4 Billion In Quarterly Software Sales, But Hardware Sales Lag ]

During the Kick-Off event and in an interview beforehand, Althoff touted the growth of Oracle's channel efforts in fiscal 2012, which ended May 31. At the event, Althoff and other Oracle executives detailed sales strategies, goals and opportunities for the channel for fiscal 2013 that began June 1.

"We had a huge year of transformation in the channel," Althoff said.

During the fiscal year the company added 7,000 solution providers to its partner ranks for a global total of 25,000, with 4,000 of those in North America, Althoff said.

Oracle effectively doubled its ISV and OEM business between fiscal 2010 and 2012, according to Althoff, and the number of sales opportunities registered by partners in fiscal 2012 was up year-over-year by 90 percent.

Oracle also doubled the number of certified implementation specialists working at partner companies in fiscal 2012 under the OPN Specialization program. Althoff said the company is shooting for another 35 percent gain in the current fiscal year.

"We certified 30,000 implementation specialists in fiscal 2012," Althoff said. "We now have 60,000 implementation specialists across our entire product line. And we want to grow that number."

One thing that wasn't mentioned during the event was the recent dismissal of North American sales executive Keith Block. At one point Althoff brought onstage Matt Mills, senior vice president of North America sales, and Joanne Olsen, senior vice president of North America, applications.

While Mills and Olsen appear to be fulfilling Block's duties, an Oracle spokesperson wouldn't comment on whether they are replacing the sales chief.

NEXT: Oracle Expands Relationship With Tech Data

In related news, Tech Data is expanding its relationship with Oracle to add the vendor's hardware and storage systems and application software to the Oracle products it distributes. Until now Tech Data has only carried Oracle's technology software -- its database and middleware products -- and the database appliance Oracle debuted last year.

Tech Data's new product lineup will include Oracle's "engineered systems," including the Exadata and Exalogics turnkey systems that are the core of Oracle's hardware strategy.

Tech Data currently works with about 100 Oracle partners. The distributor will work with those partners to expand the range of Oracle products they sell, said Stacy Nethercoat, Tech Data vice president of software product marketing. But, the distributor also will be adding to its roster of solution providers to work with the expanded Oracle line. "Recruiting new partners is certainly a cornerstone of our strategy," Nethercoat said.

Tech Data is also adding more dedicated Oracle support resources for solution providers. Nethercoat said Tech Data should be able to quickly ramp up its expanded Oracle business because it can leverage the expertise of its Azlan operations in Europe, which has been authorized to carry Oracle's full product line for two years.