Senior Oracle executives are meeting representatives from the ‘Big Six’ accounting firms and leading IT outsourcing companies this week in a bid to boost the flagging sales of its applications software. The aim of the executive committee: a group of Oracle heavyweights including Ray Lane, president and chief operating officer and Barry Ariko, executive VP, […]
Senior Oracle executives are meeting representatives from the ‘Big Six’ accounting firms and leading IT outsourcing companies this week in a bid to boost the flagging sales of its applications software. The aim of the executive committee: a group of Oracle heavyweights including Ray Lane, president and chief operating officer and Barry Ariko, executive VP, is to increase applications sales by persuading their partners to bring Oracle salespeople into talks with prospective clients at a much earlier stage than before. Robin Green, Oracle’s VP, global services and integrators, said the company was tired of entering into the client consultation phase at the eleventh hour. He said Oracle had to find a way of aligning itself more tightly with its integration partners so that it would be brought into the recommendation process earlier. We have to get more strategic about how we approach our partnerships, he said, At the moment our tactics are opportunistic and one-off. We move in on the deal right at the end, to clinch it, but we should be involved from the beginning. He added: The ‘Big Six’ get in very early, and they get in at board level. So we need to create a compelling case for them to work closer with us and make Oracle a more viable option, something it hasn’t always been in the past. Representatives from the ‘Big Six’ accounting firms: Deloitte and Touche, Anderson Consulting, Ernst and Young, Arthur Anderson, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers and the leading IT outsourcing companies: EDS, IBM, Cap Gemini, CSC and Unisys, will attend the two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week and Green added that others were planned for the near future. The news follows the release, last week, of Oracle’s fourth quarter results (CI No 3434). While its net earnings and revenues grew from last quarter, closer inspection shows that most of the increase was down to sales of its database software as opposed to applications. And the serious revenue growth was driven by its services arm, Oracle Consulting, which constitutes over half of its business. The exact detail of how Oracle intends to work with its partners to boost applications sales is still unclear. Last week, Ray Lane outlined a sales plan which he said would bring the consultants into the sales process up front and not at the back. Whether this means Oracle will hand out implementation of its software to third parties is not yet clear. But Steve Koutros, Cap Gemini’s VP and Oracle national practice manager told Computergram, Very rarely do we accept license fees for hardware and software vendors. We’re happy to help our clients negotiate with suppliers, but what would it look like if we had a specific license to sell SAP, for example, and not the others? How could we claim to be independent? And the story is bound to be similar for the other large services firms. Koutros said part of Oracle’s problem was that it referred to its software as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) product, whereas in fact, the company does not offer the full range of end-to-end solutions typical of true ERP applications. On the plus side, he said Oracle had one of the strongest financials packages in the market but he criticized the company for having too many solutions in the discussion stage and not enough in the deliverable stage. Oracle’s Robin Green declined to outline the company’s exact game plan, saying it was still half-baked. However, he did say there would be a bigger push to get partners more involved at the development stage as well as ensuring more third-party sales people are trained and certified to implement Oracle applications. This isn’t just a little meeting, he said, We’re talking about the entire Oracle executive committee meeting with around 50 of the senior level managers from our main integrator alliances. It means we’re very serious.