Oracle attacks mid-market

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Oracle has split its applications and database channel businesses and painted a bullseye on Microsoft’s SQL-based mid-market dominance following the former's buy of PeopleSoft.

Oracle has split its applications and database channel businesses and painted a bullseye on Microsoft’s SQL-based mid-market dominance following the former's buy of PeopleSoft.

The newly combined database and ERP provider said yesterday it would use an enhanced channel network bought from the PeopleSoft acquisition to drive further into the mid-market.

Oracle channel managers were also on the hunt for fresh partners, said Warren Brugger, application alliance and channels director at Oracle.

Brugger’s responsibility would extend past the company’s E-Business suite to the JD Edwards and PeopleSoft product lines later this year. Oracle's E-Business suite has been a lacklustre performer recently.

One of the attractions of the Peoplesoft acquisition was its well-developed channel, said Brugger.

“We’ve looked at which partners are mature on the applications side and, while a lot of our partners sell both applications, we want to grow application sales with our partners while looking at bringing on new partners,” said Brugger.

“But while we’re looking to expand our coverage, we want to make sure the partners we recruit are focused on Oracle and Peoplesoft, while going after niche and vertical markets with applications such as our Human Resources Management suite,” he added.

Oracle would not copy the Cisco model where, he claimed, many resellers were reduced to competing on price.

“On the application side, when there’s a major opportunity in a niche or vertical market the competency should come down to only a few partners.”

Brugger said Oracle would keep supporting all three product lines –- JD Edwards, Peoplesoft and Oracle's E-Business Suite -- until 2008, when the first ‘fusion’ software package was scheduled for release.

That package included support for all three product lines until 2013. “Ninety percent of Peoplesoft software development and support staff have been retained,” he said.

Brugger was upbeat about the merged company’s prospects. He said: “I don’t think anyone is getting screwed over except hopefully SAP.”

Fred King, general manager for technology at Oracle, said knocking off Microsoft in the mid-market was the aim.

“We’re right up there trading places with DB2 in the enterprise market, but the database of choice in the mid-market is Microsoft’s SQL Server. [But] we’ve got some products in the mid-market that blow the pants off SQL for a lot less money.”

King planned to drive growth through ISVs. Ultimately, Oracle wanted partners using the Oracle platform to develop their own intellectual property rather than just reselling software.

“Eighty percent of our business goes through our top 15 partners and if you can’t afford to have at least one fulltime specialist you’re not serious," King said.

King said long standing distribution partner Alstom was a proof of the pudding.

“Alstom had always had a steady business but over the past year or so it’s really been focusing on what it’s doing and its Oracle business has doubled or even tripled," King said.

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