At the recently concluded Oracle India Summit 2019 in Mumbai, Chek Yang Ang, Head of Alliances & Channels, Technology & Cloud Platform, Asia for Oracle put the spotlight on new innovation in cloud, adding intelligent capabilities (AI/ML) to SaaS models, and being more customer-centric in approach. In an interaction with CRN India, Ang speaks about the key takeaways of the summit and directions for the channel in India
By Nivedan Prakash and Sandhya Michu
For past three years, what has been the growth of the channel business for Oracle?
Looking at the channel break up- 70 per cent cloud services implementation has been done by channel partners, across Asia Pacific. Today, 80 per cent of our tech business or tech license business is managed by our partners consistently, wherein our system business is with the channel partners. Overall our dependency on the channel ecosystem is very high. I think initially in the traditional world, a lot of stuff is resourced through partners, more and more we are seeing that it’s the services economy that the partners play an important role in moving forward. However, there are still countries, especially in the Asia Pacific, where there is financing, and value-added services that they do to keep the relationship strong. These are all quite necessary for business in some of these countries. However, in a mature country like India, the majority of the play by partners are from the services or IP build angle. There’s a lot of focus on domain expertise because in an experiential economy, we go deep, and the customers demand that the partners who work with them understand the business more deeply – because it’s all about pain points and business outcomes. Using innovations in the cloud allows them to scale to actually be able to distill out all the data and that brings me to a very important point.
Oracle is repositioning the company from database leader to cloud. So far, how compelling is your cloud story for partners and how are partners gaining confidence in selling Oracle’s cloud?
I think for SaaS specifically it was a different scenario about three years back. Our partners found this a compelling proposition. As you can see, a lot of our global award winners are the Indian partners that believed in this. And you can see that half the time, especially in countries like India, where the partners understand, they have a breadth of services and products that they are well trained in. The expansion and the cross-sell/up-sell opportunities happen every 45 days. That’s what we already know for quite some time so that is probably the answer to where we get the confidence from.
Can you talk about the much discussed Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) 2020 from a channel perspective? How do you see the channel business align with the set target?
I would say that the whole transformation, is completely dedicated to our own cloud journey, in line with what our customers are seeking as well to future-proof their business. The team is built and excel at service. We think of it as keeping it very simple and in the cloud, we have to be very simple and we want our partners to think how they want to work in India’s economy. We believe our ISVs, service and traditional hardware channel are trying to develop consultation and collaboration capabilities to take on the new business opportunities. Partners want a partner program that assures them of having the right benchmark. Moving to OPN 2020, we came up with a simple model or tracks– build, sell and services tracks.
While creating a channel program, what are the key imperatives that Oracle looks into and why?
Building the new partner program is no longer very simplistic like previous times, where I say, okay let’s give you 10 per cent rebates, and funds and margins. It is no longer like that, and it’s not going to be a larger size. But giving them this view, I think we have accumulated enough feedback and learnings from the last five years. This program was specifically catered to customer’s needs. The new cloud economy is no longer the same as traditional rebates and the kind of incentive-based programs because they are not participating in huge cash flow kind of things and it is all by size and to them, it’s not so interesting. However, getting them the ability to become recognised for being a top service partner globally, brings them a confidence boost, and approval from us and also the customer. Because in order for them to actually cross that certification for being a service partner, they require what is known as CEI (Certificate of Excellence), and these are all being surveyed at the end by the end-user/customers. This ties in very well with the customer success matrix and our customer success tracking system.
In this changing market dynamics, new age partners are outpacing established channel company. Do you think, that this is going to be the way the market is going to operate and is it true only for India, or are you seeing similar trends in other parts of the region?
I told you about some of our very good partners, they are not acquired by the big firms, the reason is simple, that the big firms have a built-in mechanism for customer success. That is something that is very costly, and you do not see the RoI immediately. It is an ongoing piece, and in order to sustain it, you need to scale. So in mom and pops shops with two or three people the consolidation happens.
For example, the three main categories where Oracle does best: manageability of data, security, and analytics. So, you see partners actually crowding around these very clear pillars where customers require. So, analytics partners will blend in together with EPM partners, where we are doing the planning for companies, and that’s a natural fit. You do see the front office once, where the marketing agencies are merging with some of the cloud-specific companies. So, these are the trends that we see in the market.
Oracle has been pushing a multi-cloud economy with Microsoft Azure, and VMware. How do see the preparedness of your partners to tap into new opportunities?
Having understood this we have announced alliances with Microsoft Azure, and VMware. All these signify the maturity of a multi-cloud economy. Even the vendors have come together and decided to leverage each other’s’ synergies, keeping enterprise customers’ best interests in mind first. I think partners realise that they need this coexistence, to be able to bring out the best of every technology and they wish to help the customer and the endpoint is that if we don’t win the customer, we all lose it.
Since we are at the end of 2019,please briefly explain the roadmap for 2020, and what your partners can expect from Oracle and from the cloud domain?
Starting from December 1, 2019 this is going to kick off big time, big announcement, we have already announced at Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco 2019. Even before that we have lined up all our key partners, there is a roadmap for them to start migrating to start from where we are. They are not starting from Zero, because two years back when we started CEI, there was a very good step for them to start their consultation on that platform of certification.
From December 1 onwards, our top partners will be migrated into the OPN 2020 track. Whereby it’s going to be very clear for the customers when they go in, they would know that these are the partners that they are very familiar, and they migrated and they are making full use of the technical and domain support from Oracle, and endorsed by us. So that’s where we are, very exciting times ahead.