More than 75 per cent of Oracle's business stems from partner-led deals as the vendor focuses on delivering a 'well-integrated' global partner ecosystem.
This was shared by Oracle APAC group VP of alliance and channels, Lalit Malik at the recent CloudWorld event in Singapore.
“Partners are an integral part of our strategy in APAC,” said Malik. “It’s important because a lot of front-end margins and profitability come from [partners].”
He broke down the figures by products and services and stated that about 70 to 80 per cent of front-end software as-a-service (SaaS) deals come from partners. Meanwhile, about 80 per cent of successful implementations are driven by partners.
As for sales of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), about 50 to 60 per cent of the business can be attributed to partners – both in terms of implementation as well as front-end engagement.
To achieve the holy grail of channel ecosystems, Oracle has invested in providing the necessary resources and expertise to partners.
Aligning business strategies
While the numbers were impressive, Malik and Oracle SVP of strategic partnerships and global partner ecosystem, Doug Smith believe there is still much to be done before they achieve the ideal of a ‘well-integrated’ global partner ecosystem.
At a panel session with Smith and Malik at CloudWorld, a representative from long-standing partner DXC Technology shared how they’ve seen the vendor significantly improve the way they handle customers as well as partners in the past three to four years.
Richard James, managing director APAC – application practices at DXC has been with the system integrator (SI) for almost a decade and worked with Oracle services for a number of years.
He admitted that at the start it was difficult to align their go-to-market strategies as the vendor sometimes sent multiple representatives “who have different vested interests and a complicated message”.
“In the last couple of years, there’s been various leadership appointments [who are] very authentic around customer centricity and partner friendliness,” James said.
“There were some really formal strategies [at that] level around running a consulting business and how that competed with other companies in the region. Look, is it perfect? No. Is there significant progress over the last few years? Absolutely.
“We are having very clear and candid conversations in every market and what we’re finding is that there’s been real sincerity and joint investments.”
James added that lately there has been a real shift in the conversations they’ve had with Oracle – the vendor is now heavily invested in enabling customer success, as well as aligning with partners like DXC on the best approach to manage accounts.
“What you’re seeing is some really different outcomes from the way it used to be,” he said. “I’ve seen tremendous improvement generally.”
However, Oracle's work is not done when it comes to boosting the APAC business.
“Another thing that’s resonated is the market,” said James. “People are still thinking about five or seven years ago. Sometimes I speak to customers and they’re still bruised from some behaviours in the past [from Oracle]. But I genuinely have seen a significant improvement over the last three years.”
Reinvesting in the partner ecosystem
James went on to share that the motivation to become ‘more partner friendly’ and laser focused on customer success was likely due to the nature of the technology business, with the APAC market being especially saturated.
“Clearly there are plenty of partners that customers can choose from,” he said. “We as an SI can choose from plenty of products and companies.”
Smith confirmed this by sharing with Channel Asia that the high level of competition in the region has been driving Oracle to keep investing in the partner ecosystem.
“It’s a very competitive market,” said Smith. “I think when you look at the landscape of the technology world over the years, every customer is operating in a heterogeneous environment. They are not exclusively working with Oracle technology – no matter what.
“Even if they leverage every technology that we have, they have businesses that run on a bunch of systems that aren’t Oracle systems.
“And so, no matter what, customers want a choice. I don’t believe that a technology company can be successful by not being truly open and embracing of a partner ecosystem. And I think it’s always been the case for the technology industry – especially in the case in the world of cloud services.”
Additionally, Smith shared that Oracle has a data-driven way of helping partners improve – it’s all about enabling customer success through feedback channels.
The vendor has technical account managers and partner success managers – both roles within the organisation – who monitor customer implementations. They look for patterns in the data and learnings from customer engagements and ‘proactively’ channel any feedback towards the ecosystem by working closely with partners to help them improve their services, and thereby, Oracle’s business.
“By studying all of that data, we’re able to work hand in hand with our partners to make sure they’re better equipped – and we are too – and we’re delivering it together,” said Smith.
“What’s driven us more than anything in our understanding [of the ecosystem] is customer centricity and solution orientation. That’s just the way that the [tech] world is, and I don’t know of another way to successfully operate as a technology company, which means you need to really work with your partners in innovative ways and be willing to support customer choice.”