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CRN Exclusive: Oracle 'Flips The Switch' On New Channel Program For Cloud Resellers

Here's the first glimpse at the four new Oracle PartnerNetwork tiers for cloud-focused partners.

Oracle launched a major revamp of its channel program Monday, adding four designations to better recognize, enable and reward partners selling its cloud services.

The software giant from Redwood Shores, Calif., will provide progressively greater benefits as partners advance through the tiers by ramping up their credentials, investments and customer success stories involving cloud products, Oracle representatives told CRN.

Shawn Price, Oracle's senior vice president of cloud, described the technological shift that motivated the project to restructure Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) as "the largest transformation in Oracle's history, if not all of computing."

[Related: Oracle Is Planning To Get Partners To Cloud 'Nirvana']

In reworking its channel, Oracle expects to leverage a massive partner base that's already largely trained and certified in delivering at least some cloud services, Price told CRN. The new four-tier structure will help partners hone unique skill sets and access go-to-market and demand generation resources.

"It's just putting more horsepower behind to pivot to cloud," Price said. "There's a prebuilt ecosystem that we're flipping a switch on."

Oracle teased the coming OPN changes at its OpenWorld conference in October, but didn't divulge any information, not even in broad strokes, back then about how the new tiers -- Cloud Standard, Cloud Select, Cloud Premier and Cloud Elite -- would look.

The first tier, Cloud Standard, was designed to help partners already working with Oracle's cloud begin differentiating themselves in the market, Price told CRN.

A typical Cloud Standard partner has developed skills and expertise around some Oracle cloud services and focuses on a specialized solution involving a key product.

Oracle will help those partners broaden their cloud expertise and leverage opportunities to grow their practices, he said.

Partners in the Cloud Select tier have started developing that broader expertise. They typically have teams dedicated to their Oracle practices and have helped customers deploy Oracle solutions, Price said.

Oracle wants to help Cloud Select partners go to market more effectively by providing assistance in areas like sales, enablement, support, development and marketing.

To advance to the Cloud Premier tier, a partner must have transformed its business to focus specifically on driving Oracle Cloud solutions, and must be able to point to successful and repeatable customer use cases. They're typically global partners with regional investments, and work closely with Oracle to align strategies.

Those partners will receive from Oracle enablement, go-to-market and engagement resources within the regions where they operate, Price said.

The highest tier, Cloud Elite, encompasses "highly skilled and committed" implementation and resell partners who have made sweeping investments in multiple Oracle Cloud products, Price said.

Oracle will reward those top-tier partners by prioritizing them with customers, and working closely with them on joint engagements.

Partners qualify for the designations by earning specializations evaluated on several metrics, including how many applications they sell from the Oracle marketplace, how many customers they've successfully taken live, and customer feedback.

The four tiers add to an on-ramp level Oracle introduced a few months ago called Cloud Registered.

Oracle formed a number of internal working groups, advised by 20 global partners, to give form to its new channel structure, Price said.

The program now presents an "enormous opportunity for us to attract new cloud-centric partners," Price said, many of whom will likely be born-in-the-cloud providers.

Oracle will encourage them to focus on the SMB market, which the company believes presents a tremendous growth opportunity for its cloud products, he said.

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