Oracle’s initial announcements around an integrated Oracle/Sun business have left Australian Sun partners with more questions than answers. But all agree the software vendor’s decision to increase its direct sales force by 1700 globally won’t have significant ramifications locally.
Managing director for Queensland-based integrator SureBridge IT, Rick Brown, said Sun had been communicating with partners since the acquisition was announced in April last year, but was unable to provide any real information on how its channel would be received within the Oracle fold.
SureBridge is a significant Sun partner but also works with Oracle in a limited capacity. Its customer base includes mid-market corporates and state government departments.
“If this is a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, we’ve got a big pot in front of us and no one knows what anyone has in their hands,” he said.
What will happen to Sun’s technology partner alliances, such as its storage arrangement with HDS, has also been called into question. But despite this, Brown was not overly concerned by Oracle’s plan to take Sun’s top 1700 enterprise accounts direct and 2000 additional direct sales staff as the international decision was unlikely to affect Australian relationships.
“Sun’s sales force has been diminishing here in the last 18 months to two years. For Oracle to increase its sales force to cover what has already gone, then add value on top, will be a difficult job in the current market. Oracle will have an uphill battle,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean we will drop our guard though – in fact, we will lift it and continue using our key differentiator to stay successful, which is service.”
According to Brown, any negative decisions made by Oracle around Sun resellers could also see partners switch allegiance to alternative server and infrastructure suppliers.
"I don’t know if it’s a good thing, or if the cultures will mix. If they don’t, it will be one hell of a fight.”
Express Data vendor manager, David Peach, agreed questions about the long-term integration of the two vendors’ channel programs were rife. In the meantime however, it was business as usual across the distributor’s Sun sales and support team.