At Oracle we rely upon our Value Added Distributors (VADs) to penetrate new developing markets, increase coverage, up-sell and cross-sell fresh opportunities - just as much as the distributors themselves value Oracle's unrivalled technology stack, installed customer base and commitment to building strong partner relationships.
For many partners it is the 'V' in VAD that really makes a difference. VADs amplify Oracle's resources and provide that all-important layer of value that simplifies and tailors Oracle's messages for the right audience and makes it easier for them to do business. Today our VADs must be skilled in educating and encouraging their partners to sell hardware and combined hardware/software solutions as well as Oracle software. This means it is more vital than ever that these resellers become specialized with Oracle and focus their business efforts intelligently.
Here we showcase four of the leading Oracle VADs operating in the EMEA region. We learn about the importance of OPN Specialized to their businesses, as well as the unique branded programmes they have developed to evangelise the specialization message and ensure that their partners have the encouragement, information, education and resources to get themselves specialized and grow their own businesses with Oracle.
Patrice Viemont, Vice President, Strategic Alliances & Business Development
Altimate knows that changing the way partners behave, think and work is never easy, but at the same time it is necessary to ensure they can increase revenues and accelerate growth as rapidly as possible. Helping resellers understand and appreciate the many benefits of OPN Specialized is vital and Altimate knows that the true goal of specialization is for partners to completely understand the relationship between themselves, Altimate and Oracle, to gain incremental business and to make more money.
"As an Oracle VAD, we don't just tell and train our key partners about specialized, we add genuine value through face-to-face meetings in which we explain the many benefits of specialization, help them to focus on the most appropriate areas of the Oracle technology stack, and then motivate them to work with us through smart incentives."
Altimate believes it is critical to provide added value around Oracle technology and then ensure this is leveraged through the channel, grounded in real understanding. The VAD's unique OPN Specialized initiative is branded 'The Smart Way' and it comprises an administration and planning module, a certification module and a partner engagement module. The aim is to help partners get smart as well as specialized. This is approached by helping them understand the full proposition, maximise their use of the tools available, make the most of new business initiatives and sales plays and by motivating partners to be active about being specialized, thus achieving the full status.
Denis Ferrand, EMEA Business Development Director
Arrow believes that it is already fundamental in helping Oracle penetrate deeper into tough industry segments such as telecommunications and service provision, and that emerging opportunities, such as cloud computing, will also need to be addressed by VADs with a broad spectrum understanding of end user technology requirements.
"Being a VAD is all about delivering expertise and quality service across the channel community while accurately communicating the business benefits of the technology we distribute. OPN Specialized is a great way for us to evangelise the value that we add to Oracle solutions, both in software and in hardware sales."
Arrow currently operates sixteen centres of excellence, solutions centres, a proof of concept centre and a demonstration centre. Previously a Sun Channel Development Partner, Arrow really understands the importance of the complete integrated software/hardware approach that Oracle is now driving. It has brought over its own specialization program from the US to EMEA, which it has called 'Fast Track'. This comprises onsite customised sales and pre-sales training, implementation boot camps, webcasts linked to high impact sales plays, assessments plus a huge repository of information and tools necessary for getting partners to get specialized in their chosen criteria and deliver Oracle's proposal 'in the field'.
Mickey Bharat, Independent Software Director
Avnet styles itself as a global VAD with local knowledge. As one of Oracle's top preferred VADs worldwide, it was heavily involved with helping to develop Oracle's OPN Specialized program. Mickey Bharat himself was also part of the UK Partner Advisory Board involved in reviewing the proposal and feeding back partner responses to OPN Specialized. Avnet believes that part of a VAD's role is to protect the investment of partners in such programmes by ensuring the right partner is equipped to do the right job for the right end customer. This means reducing risk all around by better defining partner skill-sets through specialization and making it easier for users to identify the leading solutions and the partner to trust to deploy them.
"Oracle has recognised a need to reach out further into the channel community, and it is incumbent on VADs to step up to the mark. As a leading Oracle VAD, we have to encourage our partners to 'take the bull by the horns', to identify where their key focus should be and understand how they must define their own value in the market. We don't only reach out to partners, we tailor Oracle's messages so that they are as compelling as possible. We educate our partners, encourage them to become specialized and enable them to execute their plans and drive their own margin-rich business growth."
One of the advantages of being a global VAD is being able to share best practices across regions. Avnet brought over its 'Under Our Wing' program from the US to help guide EMEA partners through their selected specialized tracks. A dedicated Avnet Support Squad works one-on-one with resellers to steer them through each phase of training in a language they really understand. Avnet focuses on key vertical industries in each product area, identifies appropriate partners and then monitors, measures and encourages their progress towards specialization. Old Sun partners are particularly well looked after, with introductions to a new culture, a new set of benefits, simplified policies, new business drivers and new educational opportunities for combined hardware and software selling that will really dramatically improve partner ROI.
Tech Data Azlan
Simon England, Vice President Enterprise and Managing Director Azlan EMEA
Tech Data Azlan is working to become one of Oracle's very first OPN Specialized Platinum Partners. It has already completed specializations in the eight European countries in which it operates and is now working on adding further specializations in order to provide the best possible service levels to its many partners who sell Oracle solutions which combine both software and hardware. Tech Data Azlan is currently finalising these additional specializations so that it is better able to support partner business growth by, in turn, getting them specialized and enabling them to sell innovative solutions.
"Specialization enables us to clearly differentiate our business and our partners' businesses in highly-competitive markets by focusing on specific business areas in which we know we can be the best-in-class. Our end customers are served and supported by a channel that is perfectly aligned with Oracle on consistent business and competency criteria. They are then properly equipped to leverage the resources we offer, for example in pre-sales, license consulting and proof of consulting in our technology centres, to successfully sell more Oracle products and solutions to their own customers."
By providing 'Specialization Cafés' for its partners across Europe, Tech Data Azlan has developed a chain of open and welcoming meeting places that enable its partners to get up-to-speed with OPN Specialized. Tech Data Azlan explains specialization at every level and introduces the tools and benefits it can offer to support its partners' entire business lifecycles with Oracle. They select partners by their needs but also by their skills, particularly an ability and willingness to resell both hardware and software solutions, then coach them on the next steps towards getting specialized with Oracle.
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