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'Oracle in the cloud' key theme at Partner Kickoff

Oracle executives emphasized the company's SaaS, PaaS and IaaS cloud offerings at its virtual Oracle FY16 Partner Kickoff.

At today's virtual Oracle FY16 Partner Kickoff, the company focused on everything cloud for the upcoming year.

The vendor pitched its three primary cloud offerings -- software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) -- and the opportunity for partners to complement these Oracle-in-the-cloud offerings with value-added products, implementation and integration services across a wide swath of customers.

Oracle executives highlighted new enablement initiatives and program changes, noting that more information would be made available at Oracle OpenWorld 2015, held Oct. 25-29 in San Francisco.

Boasting more than 26,000 partners in the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) globally, the vendor aims to continue enhancing the program. Penny Philpot, group vice president for worldwide alliances and channels at Oracle, cited a number of OPN enhancements made in fiscal year 2015, including Oracle Cloud Marketplace integration and publication for Silver-level partners and above.

Benefits included Oracle branding and public relations support with the opportunity to issue a press release about the published application or service on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. The Oracle PartnerNetwork Cloud Connection, a community portal, was also introduced.

During fiscal year 2016, which began this month, Philpot said that the company will continue to evolve its partner program to support existing and new partners and is committed to adding sales and engineering resources as well as differentiated services as the company pivots toward the cloud.

"The cloud represents opportunities for our partners to resell, develop, integrate and implement Oracle cloud solutions," she said.

Oracle introduces new resources

Today, Oracle launched the OPN Cloud Business Builder, a single source for partners to build their business with Oracle. Partners will find information, tutorials, how-to guides, videos and other resources to help them refer and resell, develop and integrate, and implement and architect Oracle cloud and enabling technologies.

"We'll be rolling out new initiatives to help our most committed and skilled partners to differentiate in the marketplace and stand out from the competition," said Philpot. More details will be made available at Oracle OpenWorld.

In fiscal year 2015, Oracle grew the number of partner cloud specialists to almost 1,500 globally, according to Joel Borellis, group vice president for partner enablement. Additionally, implementation consultants and certified specialists on Oracle cloud technology more than doubled to 5,000, while cloud sales specialists also more than doubled to 10,000, globally.

The introduction of new specializations, certifications and guided learning paths were designed to enable partner differentiation. Oracle currently offers more than 180 specializations, 153 certifications and more than 850 guided learning paths.

"In FY16, our enablement team will continue to focus on delivering services and opportunities for partners to gain valuable sales and implementation skills for Oracle cloud solutions," he said.

First and foremost, [fiscal year 2016 is] about Oracle cloud.
Bruce ChumleyOracle

Borellis stated that in fiscal year 2016 Oracle would increase the number of guided learning paths delivered in the OPN Competency Center; release new specializations and certifications on Oracle cloud offerings; deliver a series of cloud summits; and will schedule live and virtual boot camps on cloud technology implementation. Personalized training engagements will also be offered as an option for partners.

Oracle in the cloud: More offerings

Titina Ott, vice president, worldwide alliances and channels at Oracle, talked about mobile enhancements to the Oracle Partner Store, a one-stop shop for partner membership, as well as to deal registration and ordering.

Oracle currently provides some functionality for partners accessing the Oracle Partner Store from their smartphone or tablet, such as the ability to update approved registrations, including products, deal size, deal status, and close date, to optimize the rebate, quoting and other processes. The Oracle Partner Store also increased the number of products it offers, such as cloud SaaS offerings. Cloud PaaS products will be available at the end of July.

Ott stated that the company would continue to add features to the mobile platform in the new fiscal year, including the entire line of Oracle cloud offerings.

Finally, Bruce Chumley, group vice president for global channel sales, announced opportunities and new incentives for fiscal year 2016, which he said, will be a cloud-first year.

The top focus area for Oracle is Oracle cloud. "First and foremost, it's about Oracle cloud," he said.

Two other key focus areas for fiscal year 2016 include partners providing an Oracle-on-Oracle value proposition for those customers that aren't ready to transition to the cloud, and broad market growth and revenue, according to Chumley.

While the Oracle executive noted that the company had a lot of success around referral and cosell programs, going forward it's making a shift to resell.

To build momentum, Chumley announced that effective June 1 the Cloud Resell program is eligible for rebates within the OPN Incentive Program -- that's for value-added resellers and value-added distributors.

"So regardless of the cloud offering -- SaaS, PaaS or IaaS -- partners now have the opportunity to earn the rebate in the program," he said. Two key qualifiers are broad market and registration. The program allows partners to sell multiyear deals as well as take advantage of renewals and upsell opportunities to reap an ongoing annuity.

Additionally, for VARs, Oracle added a 7% rebate for services sold around cloud -- SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

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