Monday Sep 17, 2012

Issue 15: SVP Focus



Chris Baker SVP
Oracle Worldwide ISV-OEM-Java Sales

Chris Baker portrait 
Chris Baker is the Global Head of ISV/OEM Sales responsible for working with ISV/OEM partners to maximise Oracle's business through those partners, whilst maximising those partners’ business to their end users. Chris works with partners, customers, innovators, investors and employees to develop innovative business solutions using Oracle products, services and skills.

Firstly, could you please explain Oracle's current strategy for ISV partners, globally and in EMEA?

Oracle customers use independent software vendor (ISV) applications to run their businesses. They use them to generate revenue and to fulfil obligations to their own customers. Our strategy is very straight-forward. We want all of our ISV partners and OEMs to concentrate on the things that they do the best—building applications to meet the unique industry and functional requirements of their customer. We want to ensure that we deliver a best-in-class application platform so ISVs are free to concentrate their effort on their application functionality and user experience. We invest over four billion dollars in research and development every year, and we want our ISVs to benefit from all of that investment in operating systems, virtualisation, databases, middleware, engineered systems, and other hardware. By doing this, we help them to reduce their costs, gain more consistency and agility for quicker implementations, and also rapidly differentiate themselves from other application vendors. It's all about simplification because we believe that around 25 to 30 percent of the development costs incurred by many ISVs are caused by customising infrastructure and have nothing to do with their applications. Our strategy is to enable our ISV partners to standardise their application platform using engineered architecture, so they can write once to the Oracle stack and deploy seamlessly in the cloud, on-premise, or in hybrid deployments. It's really important that architecture is the same in order to keep cost and time overheads at a minimum, so we provide standardisation and an environment that enables our ISVs to concentrate on the core business that makes them the most money and brings them success.

How do you believe this strategy is helping the ISVs to work hand in hand with Oracle to ensure that end customers get the industry-leading solutions that they need?

We work with our ISVs not just to help them be successful, but also to help them market themselves. We have something called the 'Oracle Exastack Ready Program', which enables ISVs to publicise themselves as 'Ready' to run the core software platforms that run on Oracle's engineered systems including Exadata and Exalogic. So, for example, they can become 'Database Ready' which means that they use the latest version of Oracle Database and therefore can run their application without modification on Exadata or the Oracle Database Appliance. Alternatively, they can become WebLogic Ready, Oracle Linux Ready and Oracle Solaris Ready which means they run on the latest release and therefore can run their application, with no new porting work, on Oracle Exalogic. Those 'Ready' logos are important in helping ISVs advertise to their customers that they are using the latest technologies which have been fully tested. We now also have Exadata Ready and Exalogic Ready programmes which allow ISVs to promote the certification of their applications on these platforms. This highlights these partners to Oracle customers as having solutions that run fluently on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud or one of our other engineered systems. This makes it easy for customers to identify solutions and provides ISVs with an avenue to connect with Oracle customers who are rapidly adopting engineered systems. We have also taken this programme to the next level in the shape of 'Oracle Exastack Optimized' for partners whose applications run best on the Oracle stack and have invested the time to fully optimise application performance. We ensure that Exastack Optimized partner status is promoted and supported by press releases, and we help our ISVs go to market and differentiate themselves through the use of our technology and the standardisation it delivers. To date we have had several hundred organisations successfully work through our Exastack Optimized programme.

How does Oracle's strategy of offering pre-integrated open platform software and hardware allow ISVs to bring their products to market more quickly?

One of the problems for many ISVs is that they have to think very carefully about the technology on which their solutions will be deployed, particularly in the cloud or hosted environments. They have to think hard about how they secure these environments, whether the concern is, for example, middleware, identity management, or securing personal data. If they don't use the technology that we build in to our products to help them to fulfil these roles, they then have to build it themselves. This takes time, requires testing, and must be maintained. By taking advantage of our technology, partners will now know that they have a standard platform. They will know that they can talk confidently about implementation being the same every time they do it. Very large ISV applications could take a year or two to be implemented at an on-premise environment once.  But it wasn't just the configuration of the application that took the time, it was actually the infrastructure - the different hardware configurations, operating systems and configurations of databases and middleware. Now we strongly believe that it's all about standardisation and repeatability. It's about making sure that our partners can do it once and are then able to roll it out many different times using standard componentry.

What actions would you recommend for existing ISV partners that are looking to do more business with Oracle and its customer base, not only to maximise benefits, but also to maximise partner relationships?

My team, around the world and in the EMEA region, is available and ready to talk to any of our ISVs and to explore the possibilities together. We run programmes like 'ExSite' and 'Insight' to help us to understand how we can help ISVs with architecture and widen their environments. But we also want to work with, and look at, new opportunities - for example, the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) market or 'The Internet of Things'. Over the next few years, many millions, indeed billions of devices will be collecting massive amounts of data and communicating it back to the central systems where ISVs will be running their applications. The only way that our partners will be able to provide a single vendor 'end-to-end' solution is to use Oracle integrated systems at the back end and Java on the 'smart' devices collecting the data—a complete solution from device to data centre. So there are huge opportunities to work closely with our ISVs, using Oracle's complete M2M platform, to provide the infrastructure that enables them to extract maximum value from the data collected. If any partners don't know where to start or who to contact, then they can contact me directly at or indeed any of our teams across the EMEA region. We want to work with ISVs to help them to be as successful as they possibly can through simplification and speed to market, and we also want all of the top ISVs in the world based on Oracle.

What opportunities are immediately opened to new ISV partners joining OPN?

As you know OPN is very, very important. New members will discover a huge amount of content that instantly becomes accessible to them. They can access a wealth of no-cost training and enablement materials to build their expertise in Oracle technology. They can download Oracle software and use it for development projects. They can help themselves become more competent by becoming part of a true community and uncovering new opportunities by working with Oracle and their peers in the Oracle Partner Network. As well as publishing massive amounts of information on OPN, we also hold our global Oracle OpenWorld event, at which partners play a huge role. This takes place at the end of September and the beginning of October in San Francisco. Attending ISV partners have an unrivalled opportunity to contribute to elements such as the OpenWorld / OPN Exchange, at which they can talk to other partners and really begin thinking about how they can move their businesses on and play key roles in a very large ecosystem which revolves around technology and standardisation.

Finally, are there any other messages that you would like to share with the Oracle ISV community?

The crucial message that I always like to reinforce is architecture, architecture and architecture! The key opportunities that ISVs have today revolve around standardising their architectures so that they can confidently think: "I will I be able to do exactly the same thing whenever a customer is looking to deploy on-premise, hosted or in the cloud". The right architecture is critical to being competitive and to really start changing the game. We want to help our ISV partners to do just that; to establish standard architecture and to seize the opportunities it opens up for them. New market opportunities like M2M are enormous - just look at how many devices are all around you right now. We can help our partners to interface with these devices more effectively while thinking about their entire ecosystem, rather than just the piece that they have traditionally focused upon. With standardised architecture, we can help people dramatically improve their speed, reach, agility and delivery of enhanced customer satisfaction and value all the way from the Java side to their centralised systems. All Oracle ISV partners must take advantage of these opportunities, which is why Oracle will continue to invest in and support them.

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