A common complaint among resellers is that information on their product sets is not always particularly easy to obtain. In those instances when they do get the information they're after, it can quickly become obsolete. While a number of vendors have opted for electronic communication through either Lotus Notes or the Internet for their communications, Oracle is opting for a more conventional approach.
As part of its program to promote its reseller channel, Oracle has recently launched the Oracle Value Service, a new information delivery service that it is offering to members of its existing 500+ Business Alliance Programme (BAP) and new partners alike.
According to Oracle's director of business alliances for Australasia, Mitchell Chapman, the aim of the service is to help Oracle channels partners and third-party organisations build Oracle-based business solutions quickly and easily. He said indirect sales of Oracle's workgroup and developer tools accounted for over 17 per cent of licence revenue last year, and the company aims to boost that number to 50 per cent by the end of 1998.
The service is available for a subscription of $2,500 a year for both BAP members and new members, for which they receive a package of material updated quarterly. This includes sales and marketing information, technical and sales education, technical support, and Oracle products. The initial Value Pack includes Oracle Workgroup/2000 software, Oracle Web technology, development licences and a CD-ROM containing sales and marketing information. Chapman said the service will also be partially extended to the Internet later this year, with some information currently available on Oracle's Web site.
In describing the role of the Value Service, Mitchell said it assists in Oracle's desire to reach non-traditional partners at the consumer level of the reseller community. "We have selected two value added distributors, i. t. connXions and OGen Pacific, and through them we will have access to the more traditional PC type resellers that are seeing this as a great chance for them to add value to what they're currently selling - to develop systems and provide total solutions."
Oracle's director of worldwide business alliances, Christopher Dittmer, said the concept of the Value Service is straightforward. "When we started looking at this early on with our population of partners, we asked them specifically the kinds of things that they wanted from a manufacturer. So what we've tried to do is crystallise these things and put them into something we call the Oracle value service. "It's essentially everything you need to get started - it's Oracle in a box," he said.
Value Service is in some ways a response to criticisms made of Oracle in the past. "I think what we haven't done well in the past is consistently communicate with partners and provide them with tools to develop them. I don't think we've been consistent in that," said Dittmer.
"Now we're putting the systems in place to basically make that happen, and to go out with a compelling business proposition to partners. I would say it will take us some time to get this fully operational, but I think you're already seeing some of the results of our efforts."