A mid-market solution to be sold exclusively by Oracle's certified advantage partners will soon find its way from the drawing board to the market. The development, which has been tightly under wraps for several months, is due for release in mid-November and will be marketed as a way of pricing and configuring Oracle software to meet the needs of the mid-market segment.
Code-named "Shoonan's project", the solution involves a Sun Microsystems box pre-loaded with Oracle Financials software, to be sold only by Oracle's five top partners. The vendor is planning to sell these bundles at licensing discounts of up to 60 per cent, in order to make it attractive to SMEs with 25 users or less, companies that could not normally afford such software.
Oracle's new "focus group" will meet at a roundtable on Thursday and Friday of this week to discuss the details of the new solution.
The concept is not entirely new for Oracle or its partners. In 2000, the vendor attempted to bundle a mid-market financials solution on IBM boxes (RS/6000 and Netfinity servers), but mid-way through the campaign the two vendors had a falling out and the bundle was dropped. In 2001, the same bundle appeared in a Compaq box, with moderate success. Then in February the vendor offered select partners, including the likes of Red Rock Consulting and Professional Advantage, the opportunity to sell a software-only mid-market financials bundle in a marketing scheme called the "Financial FastForward program". One reseller reported, however, that this solution was "just about impossible to sell".
Leigh Warren, channels manager for Oracle Australia, said that Oracle will get it right this time. "We have learnt what has worked in the past and what has not worked in the past," he said. "This time the campaign will be very targeted, we have specific partners and specific markets for them in mind."
The vendor has done a lot of work internally to make the mid-market solution a lot easier to install.
Resellers in contact with ARN were excited about the concept of selling high-end software to the mid-market. "It's not just the licence costs that come down," said Igatech managing director Gordon Brimble. "Being preconfigured means the implementation costs come down too - your only variable expense is whether you want it customised or interfaced with other subsystems."