Oracle sweetens its channel mix

An important part of any vendor's channel strategy is at least giving the appearance of being easy to do business with.

Oracle's regional channel development manager, Lee Thompson, said that this sometimes means exercising a great deal of diplomacy with application developers.

For Thompson, that means "looking at the next six to 12 months and beyond . . . making sure we are working with the right partners to provide the right solutions for the marketplace."

If Oracle identifies any applications that it needs to meet customer demand, it will approach the developer to either migrate to or integrate with its financials suite, according to Thompson. This is a large part of Oracle's channel strategy, and involves the design and migration services centre (DMS).

DMS is part of a world-wide initiative in alliances and channels for Oracle. According to Brisbane-based DMS manager Nick Zavialov: "We're here to help Oracle's partners make the best use of Oracle technology in as timely a manner as possible."

There are two defined areas of Oracle's DMS - migration of an application from a non-Oracle environment, and design of applications for the Oracle environment.

"Under the design role, we run the cooperative application initiative (CAI) program which is intended to help partners integrate their applications with Oracle Financials," Zavialov added.

Thompson listed four areas of attention for the channel: partner programs, which are designed according to technology or market segment; DMS; skill transfer, both sales and technical; and account management, including the cooperative application initiative (CAI).

An independent software vendor or developer can either approach Oracle or be "recruited". DMS then assesses the value - and cost - of migrating or integrating the application, and a strategy is mapped out with the new partner to bring it to market.

A recent CAI program success was with Mat-Man, which has redeveloped its products Aladdin and Card Smart using Oracle technology and development tools.

Integrate products

At the same time, the company joined the Oracle CAI program in order to integrate the newly developed products with Oracle Applications.

According to Mat-Man managing director Steve Green: "Oracle has provided Mat-Man with the opportunity to increase sales opportunities, revenue growth, and gain a real commercial advantage, as well as providing our products with longevity."

Recent sales for Mat-Man's Card Smart include The Corporate Resource Agency of Victoria and University of Western Sydney.