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Oracle sweetens partner plans

Later this month, the software giant will introduce initiatives to increase business through partners.

Oracle will launch a series of initiatives later this month designed to boost the business it transacts through partners.

The company will launch a revamped partner Web site that will include Oracle-recommended third-party applications, as well as a more complete catalog of offerings from Oracle partners.

The company currently makes about 44 percent of its revenue through partners, said Doug Kennedy, vice president of Worldwide Alliances and Channels. Oracle intends to boost the amount of business it gets by selling in tandem with partners, he said.

With its latest partner initiatives, Oracle will boost the amount of training material it makes available to partners, which can be application providers, systems integrators or resellers.

Increasingly, the company will try to make the training material available before products are released, Kennedy said.

In addition, Oracle will try to generate demand for partners by involving them in customer events. For example, at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, top company executives will highlight the work of Oracle partners, Kennedy said. The conference runs from Oct. 22 to 26 in San Francisco.

Oracle's efforts to build out a bigger partner network reflect similar initiatives at IBM and Microsoft. Having a healthy "ecosystem" of independent software providers and consultants with vertical industry expertise helps drive sales, to both large and small businesses.

Oracle's history with partners in the past has been "rocky," a situation the company has focused on changing during the past few years, Kennedy said.

"We've been inconsistent," he said. "One of the first things that (president) Charles (Phillips) did was to make clear that we do not want to compete with systems integrators."

By contrast, in the 1990s Oracle built up a large consulting organization, which competed with systems integrators that install Oracle applications and infrastructure software. That group has been dramatically scaled down, Kennedy said.