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Oracle looks to bridge channel skills divide

Vendor accepts that local partner skills pool doesn’t yet match its product breadth

Oracle looks to bridge channel skills divide
Hisham Esaadi says Oracle needs to develop the channel’s expertise to support some of the more recent acquisitions it has made.

Oracle's most senior channel executive for the Middle East and Africa admits the software company still has some work to do to overcome a channel skills deficit that has largely arisen from the multitude of acquisitions it has made in recent years.

Hisham Esaadi, the vendor's long-term partner chief, is currently overseeing the roll-out of Oracle's revamped PartnerNetwork Programme in the region, and he hopes the new initiative will go some way to correcting the skills shortfall that is evident in certain areas.

While not naming the precise technologies that he believes are lacking in channel expertise, Esaadi suggests the desire of ISVs and IT providers to work with Oracle following the M&A sprees it has embarked on in the past two to three years has created challenges of its own.

"I think that to a large extent we still do not have the skills required to deploy these products in this region," explained Esaadi. "Some of these acquisitions still need partners to develop the know-how in the market and drive them in the market."

The launch of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialised Programme is one mechanism that the vendor expects to soften its dilemma, as it is structured to encourage and reward partners that invest in specialisation.

Dubbed by company officials as the "most significant evolution of the Oracle PartnerNetwork in more than a decade", the programme will offer resellers the chance to skill up in more than 50 categories and provide an enhanced set of sales resources to assist with that process.

Esaadi insists that as Oracle's MEA team tackles the issue of developing channel skills across all its product lines, partners will need to decide which parts of the market they want to play in.

"Maybe four or five years ago we were somewhat of a database and applications company, but today we have thousands of products on the price list and the challenge [for the channel] is where to focus to be profitable," explained Esaadi.

"So the question for any partner becomes, where do I focus? Obviously they do not focus on thousands of products, it does not work, and the partner ecosystem is different here. Unlike Europe and the US we don't have local partners that have thousands of employees; the economies of scales are completely different," said Esaadi.

The OPN Specialised structure will become effective on December 1st, and feature four tiers: Remarketer, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

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