SAN FRANCISCO -- With an estimated 5,000 partners in attendance, either in person or virtually, at the opening of Oracle PartnerNetwork Exchange here at OpenWorld 2013, Group Vice President of Partner Enablement Joel Borellis discussed growing opportunities in hardware, software and cloud, and engagement with Oracle. The event started yesterday and runs through Thursday.
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Looking back over the past year, the Oracle PartnerNetwork experienced a 26% rise in renewals, welcomed 6,000 new partners and increased the number of specializations earned at partner organizations worldwide, according to Borellis. In the company's cloud business, there was a 45% increase in cloud referrals by specialized partners, and more than 200 partners earned specializations around Oracle ERP and Oracle Fusion CRM as part of the company's cloud partner program that launched about a year ago, he said.
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But it was Oracle President Mark Hurd who homed in on how mobility, social, big data and cloud are driving two key challenges for customers -- how to decrease costs and increase innovation -- and where partners can step in to help them become more efficient and innovative.
To that end, Hurd reiterated the four strategies that are core to Oracle's direction: to continue to drive the best-of-breed offers; vertical integration; driving the cloud at the platform, infrastructure and Software as a Service (SaaS) levels; and building out industries. He said Oracle is backing those strategies up with an annual investment of $5 billion into research and development (R&D), plus acquisitions.
While new product announcements weren't the focus at the partner keynote, Hurd did make some suggestions as to where partners should make investments and, essentially, follow Oracle's lead. He pointed to the company's push around its Engineered Systems product line and Oracle Database 12c, noting that together, the two are going to be a huge play for the company.
"Line up around Engineered Systems and you'll be lined up with Oracle," Hurd said. He said that it also would be a smart investment for partners to line up around the company's cloud offerings, whether the Human Capital Management portfolio or any core SaaS offering, with new versions of most of the company's SaaS products and sales force automation product either shipping or due soon.
In closing his address to partners, Hurd reiterated that Oracle executives are extremely partner-friendly, noting that the company needs help, wants to be in more deals, wants more intellectual property on top of its infrastructure and wants partners that can help it penetrate markets.
"This is a huge deal to us, and we're making changes from a compensation perspective," he said, stressing that he wants more partners who can sell Engineered Systems.
Hurd also noted that Oracle is moving more of its consulting business to partners and wants to see the Oracle partner ecosystem, today at 25,000, to get bigger rather than smaller.