“Anyone who wants to build solutions on Oracle can become our partner”
— Shekhar Dasgupta, Country Manager,Oracle Software India Ltd.
One of Oracle’s key strategies is to work with channel partners. This is exactly what Shekhar Dasgupta has been doing from the time he became Country Manager in 1998. Shekhar is responsible for handling the alliances and sales business in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives. Prior to joining Oracle, Shekhar was with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and later with PSI Data Systems (a Groupe Bull affiliate). He shares with Channels India Oracle’s ways of dealing with its channel partners.
How does Oracle sell its software in India?
Oracle started with one principal distributor way back in 1987. In 1991, the company appointed a few hardware manufacturers like HCL, Digital and Wipro as its OEM vendors. Then we expanded the entire relationship base of the organization. There were a few companies, which started developing applications on Oracle. Infosys for example, became an Oracle partner. When these companies sell the packaging solution, the underlying Oracle database goes along with that solution.
In 1995, we came out with the Oracle Workgroup Server. This is essentially targeted at the SME segment. Before that, Oracle’s main focus was basically on large corporate customers. After we targeted the SME segment, we started expanding our channel base. We appointed a few distributors who in turn worked with a number of resellers across the country.
Today we have three key distributors — Aptech, Sonata and Tech Pacific, besides a wide network of 200 resellers across the country.
What is Oracle’s business model like?
We work directly with a few of our customers, but a major part of the business is done through our channel partners. These partners can be systems integrators, distributors, resellers, major consulting partners or VARs.
What kinds of value add do you expect from your partners?
Oracle does about 80 percent of its business through channel partners, who play a key role in our business model. There are a number of solutions that our partners can develop. For instance, developing solutions for the banking sector or building e-com solutions.
How do you give technical support to your partners?
Oracle has something called OTM (Oracle Technology Network) which is a channel-specific program. Registered members can download the software, get technical help, and chat with other users. The program provides for a tech-net from where developers can lift all the technical help they need.
Do you have any plans to expand your channel base in India?
We definitely have plans to increase our channel partner base. One of the key elements of Oracle’s corporate strategy is to work with channel partners. Therefore, Oracle will be partnering a number of organizations that are working in e-business.
What is the pre-requisite for becoming Oracle’s partner?
Any organization that works on frontier technologies, uses Oracle and wants to build solutions and services on Oracle can become our channel partner. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a two-man organization or a hundred-man organization. As long as they work on frontier technology, use Oracle and help our customers, almost anybody can become our partner.
How do you appoint your partners? Through your distributors or directly?
We use both these options.
How many products and solutions does Oracle provide?
Oracle has 170 products in its portfolio including data warehousing products, Oracle8i which is our flagship product, e-business solutions and applications, and Oracle consulting, support and educational services.
Oracle has been talking about network computing for quite sometime now. How successful have you been in that area?
You have got all your data and application on centralized servers which are professionally managed, centralized Basically, one needs a browser-enabled device to access the semi servers. The end device could be a PC with a browser, a network computer, a mobile phone or any other appliance. Even refrigerators are becoming Net-enabled. This shows how successful we have been in this area.
In terms of technology, what will the next wave in the IT industry be like?
I think WAP and mobile commerce. I will not include ASP because ASP is a service and not a technology.
If there is one thing that you want to tell channel partners, what would that be?
Oracle is the best organization to partner with.