In-Depth

Oracle Expands SMB Reseller Program

Additional products become available for 1,000 resellers in Oracle's VAD Remarketer Program.

Oracle Corp. closed 2008 by expanding the number of products available through its Value-Added Distributor (VAD) Remarketer Program.

The program is a channel-focused effort to sell Oracle's traditionally high-end products to small and midsize business (SMB) customers.

Although the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based enterprise-software giant is a high-profile proponent of Linux server platforms, the company is reaching out to Microsoft partners to address what it sees as a $1 billion opportunity in the SMB space, where Windows is the dominant server platform and Microsoft SQL Server enjoys market share advantages.

Skipping Steps
The central idea of the Oracle VAD Remarketer Program is to authorize major distribution partners, such as Tech Data Corp. of Clearwater, Fla., and Ingram Micro Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., as VADs. Those distributors then allow partners in their networks to resell Oracle products. Through the program, the value-added resellers in the distributors' networks can skip the usual steps for reselling Oracle solutions, including the 30-day sign-up process for joining the Oracle Partner Network, the joining fee and the legal agreements.

Oracle leaves it to the VADs to provide support, training and other services to the resellers. The VAD Remarketer Program, launched in June 2007, coincided with a new 1-Click Ordering system to streamline both direct and channel sales of Oracle products.

At launch, there were three main products in several versions authorized for sale through the VAD Remarketer Program: Oracle Database, Oracle Application Server and Oracle Business Intelligence. As of late December, Oracle had made four additional products available through the Remarketer Program: Oracle Weblogic Server Standard Edition, Oracle Universal Content Management Standard Edition, Oracle Document Capture and Oracle Internet Developer Suite.

Zero Barriers
The program seems to be expanding according to Oracle's designs. About six months into the program, Oracle had 25 VADs and 250 resellers worldwide. At the one-year mark, the program consisted of 34 VADs and about 500 resellers. In December, Oracle claimed 38 VADs and more than 1,000 resellers.

At the same time, attachment of new resellers to the Oracle product line seems relatively light. In the first year, Oracle noted about 650 transactions by 500 new resellers. Halfway through the second year, 550 new resellers have generated more than 700 transactions. Those results are a sign that Oracle has succeeded in one of its goals: establishing "zero barriers to entry" for resellers looking to bring Oracle products to their customers. But it could also indicate that those resellers aren't necessarily catching the Oracle religion by bringing multiple deals back for the software giant.

Meanwhile, Stacy Nethercoat, vice president for software vendors at Tech Data, offered a glimpse at one way Oracle has been able to attract so many new resellers so quickly: "Oracle leveraged Tech Data's extensive data-mining capabilities to identify new reseller partners and implement a focused marketing initiative to recruit and enable those accounts," Nethercoat said in a statement.

More than 150 Tech Data resellers transacted Oracle business for the first time through the program.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.