Sun, Oracle sends mixed message to the channel

Sun, Oracle sends mixed message to the channel

Questions raised about Oracle's commitment to partners

Oracle CEO, Charles Philips, came on stage to tell the world his company's plans for an integrated Sun with Oracle, but when he left there were more questions raised, especially by channel partners, than were answered.

Philips outlined a strategy reminiscent of the high-tech industry during the 1960s where one company would build a complete system that was tested and made reliable before shipping it to a customer, except that Sun Oracle's complete system will be based on an open architecture instead of being proprietary.

"At the heart of what we want to do is building a complete system at Oracle. Customers are looking for how we can change the industry and improve the experience. This industry has a long history of building systems in a manual way from components sourced from different suppliers. Then they hire integrators to put it together. That's not very reliable and it costs too much to maintain them. So why not do all this up front and today starts that change," Philips said.

With Sun on board, Oracle does have every layer of the technology stack in place from applications, databases, middleware, operating system, virtual machines and storage. Oracle will be packaging these products together to be deployed as one along with management tools. However, these complete systems will be delivered direct. Philips also made a startling announcement that the company needs 2,000 more sales professionals for this direct effort.

"We will have the best paid reps and we want all-stars. We want Derek Jeter and you will make more money here if you sell something with our new margin-based compensation plan. If you don't sell anything you don't make any money. We need to hire 2,000 sales professionals immediately. We want to go direct and get in front of the customer and we will pay you more that what you are making now. You are probably getting bored at what you are doing anyways so give us a call," Philips said.

The direct effort will only be with large customers globally. Philips estimated that to be about 1,700 accounts.

Company channel chief Judson Althoff reassured channel partners that there would still be a role for them to play in top-flight accounts if they could add value or had some special expertise necessary for the customer solution.

"We will have a much more balanced and focused approach on value and value as seen in the eye of the customer. Strictly speaking Oracle can better provide service and support to the top customers by engaging with them directly. We still expect to work with partners in those accounts, but only on a value-like integration services," Althoff said.

He added that the majority of the indirect play will be in the mid market with Sun and he noted that 40 per cent of those sales are indirect and about 80 per cent of all Oracle transactions flow through partners.

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