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Oracle: Partner Network Grew Rapidly in FY12

Oracle's channel got a lot bigger in the last 12 months.

During the Oracle Partner Network (OPN) Kickoff event online Tuesday, Judson Althoff shared some metrics on partner numbers and the channel business in the technology giant's fiscal year 2012, which ended May 31.

"The channel is making huge contributions," said Althoff, senior vice president for Worldwide Alliances and Channels at Oracle, during the North American version of the webcast. Oracle is conducting five of the events back-to-back for different geographies through Wednesday. "We grew our overall partner ecosystem to 25,000 partners, including 7,000 new partners [during the fiscal year]."

Of those OPN members, some 4,500 have achieved "Specialized" status through the OPN Specialized program, which offers about 70 Specialization options. On the OEM/ISV side, Oracle boasted that during FY12, 100 ISVs validated their applications for Exastack -- a logo program indicating a product's compatibility with Exadata, Exalogic, Solaris and other Oracle products. A further 40 ISVs took the extra step to earn the more stringent Exastack Optimization badge, Althoff said.

An effort to skill up systems integrators on Oracle technologies also bore a lot of fruit in FY12. According to Althoff, the number of certified implementation specialists doubled in FY12 from 30,000 to 60,000.

A number of changes in the OPN helped drive the growth. "We rolled out segmentation for the first time in our company's history, [and] we rolled out incentive programs," Althoff said. "Our growth in registered opportunities was up 90 percent year-over-year for fiscal year '12," said Althoff, adding the context that Oracle is a mature company, not a start-up building on very few registered opportunities. "These are very large compares."

He also cited momentum for the Oracle Database Appliance, which he described as a product launched "with the channel in mind."

Billed as a kickoff, the event was short on announcements. Instead the focus, at least for now, for FY13 is on executing the many changes that have come to the OPN over the last few years and getting partners to both earn specializations and represent more products across the Oracle stack.

Jim Standard, group vice president for Global Channel Sales for Oracle, encouraged Oracle's software partners to look hard at selling hardware and Oracle's hardware partners to consider adding software. "For this year, it's all about filling the gaps," Standard said.

Andy Bailey, senior vice president for Strategic Alliances, pointed Oracle's systems integration partners to what he described as the biggest opportunity in the near term: "The rich vein of revenue is around working with individual customers and identifying the right mix of engineered systems and cloud offerings to best balance their requirements for IT performance, reduced cost, security. And then having the skills and offerings to accelerate those customers to that transformed business environment."

As for the size of the OPN, Althoff wasn't signaling any kind of slowdown. While Oracle's segmentation model retains large enterprise accounts for direct sales, Althoff sees a lot of potential for systems integration partners throughout the rest of the market. "We want to grow that number," Althoff said of the certified implementation specialists. "We don't want to prime engagements, we want to enable you to prime them."

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM


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