Oracle improves its midsize solutions delivery to customers and partners.
Tony Kender, senior vice president of Oracle's Global Accelerate Program Office, understands that the midsize space is a critical segment for Oracle. Oracle is working hard to ensure that midsize customers benefit from the same IT systems used by some of the biggest enterprises around the globe. According to Kender, two-thirds of Oracle's application customers are government agencies or midsize companies. These customers are poised to benefit from Oracle's extensive industry-tailored product development efforts.
Oracle has completed a thorough analysis of the midsize segment and has delivered or is planning to deliver specific offerings to its customers. Oracle has discovered that although midsize companies typically have the same software functionality requirements as large enterprises when it comes to information, midsize customers don't have the same information management resources as larger firms.
Read this interview with Kender to discover how the Oracle Accelerate program is designed to focus on the needs of midsize customers. The program pinpoints solutions for midsize companies and the resellers that service these customers and offers software that can be bundled and targeted at specific industries and segments. In addition, the program also highlights Oracle Business Accelerator tools that allow Oracle applications to be preconfigured and implemented quickly.
Profit sat down for a conversation with Tony Kender, senior vice president of Oracle's Global Accelerate Program Office, about Oracle's achievements in the midsize customer space and what Oracle is doing to ensure that its midsize customers can benefit from the same IT systems used by the world's biggest enterprises.
PROFIT: Why is the midsize space such an important segment for Oracle?
KENDER: When we stepped back and analyzed our customer base, we realized that two-thirds of our application customers are midsize businesses or government agencies. When it comes down to it, Oracle's midsize customer presence is the best-kept secret in the software industry—it's clearly an important segment that will help fuel Oracle's growth, as well as one that will benefit from our deep and industry-tailored product development efforts. With all that in mind, it's clear that we had to look at how to improve our ability to deliver solutions—both to customers and resellers.
PROFIT: What is Oracle doing to improve the ways it serves midsize customers?
KENDER: We've done a very thorough analysis of the midsize segment, and there are a number of very specific offerings that we are delivering or plan to deliver to our customers. One interesting thing we learned—the software functionality needs of these customers do not differ much from those of enterprise-class organizations. Some of the largest companies in the world use our software, but midsize customers have the same requirements for information that larger companies have. The big difference is that midsize organizations have fewer resources to throw at the problem of information management, and many rely on a network of local resellers and VARs [value-added resellers] to provide services on an as-needed basis.
PROFIT: How does Oracle's approach to midsize customers differ from the competition?
KENDER: Most companies have a tendency to offer midsize companies watered-down software that lacks the functionality that they need, and that's really a disservice. We asked ourselves, 'What if we could give midsize companies the best software at a low price—and the ability to implement it inexpensively?' As a result, Oracle created a global program office specifically to focus on the needs of midsize customers, and Oracle Accelerate is the overarching program that has come out of that organization.
PROFIT: What is Oracle Accelerate?
KENDER: It's a program designed to deliver pinpoint solutions to both midsize customers and the resellers that support them. We want to deliver three things: software that is not only the best in the segment, but that can be delivered in bundles that are very specifically targeted at industry segments. We want to make sure that the software is really built to answer specific business requirements, be they by industry, geographic region, or a specific area of partner expertise. And we were determined to deliver those packages at midsize customer-friendly prices, as well as with strong partner support. As a result, partners who are working with each of our customers can build packages that are customized to each company's needs.
A big part of Oracle Accelerate is the Oracle Business Accelerator tools. Based on more than 1,200 business flows from industry practices that Oracle and its partners have accumulated, the tools allow our applications to be preconfigured and implemented rapidly. For example, we know what kind of business and information flows a professional services company has. We have tools set up around those industry requirements that can be preconfigured to 80 percent of what that kind of company needs. We don't know the remaining 20 percent, so the implementing partner uses a wizard that asks the customer a series of questions. You load the answers into the wizard and it creates the remaining 20 percent.
PROFIT: What benefits have customers seen to date?
KENDER: Customers get what they really need—the ability to use software that's tailored to their industry and company requirements. And partners are also reporting benefits—the speed with which partners can get the software implemented means that customers can use a vital business tool that much more quickly. The keyword we're hearing is 'easy.' Oracle Accelerate lets customers get software that's easy to buy, easy to implement, and easy to use. At the same time, it is comprehensive software—not dumbed-down enterprise applications.
The partners, meanwhile, are raving about the speed at which they can implement software—we have partners tell us that they have been able to go to a complete conference room pilot in 24 hours. They also like some of the support services that we've created for them. Our pricing model allows partners special discounts and flexibility for the bundling of appropriate products for each solution, so they can offer each bundle at a great price. We are also giving marketing support to help partners expand their markets and promote their Oracle Accelerate solutions, as well as a partner loyalty program that will allow partners to qualify for increasing levels of training. This helps partners gain more traction within their market, as well as building tighter relationships with Oracle.
has more than 26 years of experience in the applications software/information systems industry. Currently senior vice president of Oracle's Global Accelerate Program Office, his organization has responsibility for the Oracle Applications midsize customer strategy, including Oracle Accelerate and Oracle Business Accelerators, Oracle's rapid implementation tools; and global business development for midsize customers.